IBM Develops Tape Cartridge That Stores 330TB of Uncompressed Data

It fits in the palm of your hand.

IBM Develops Tape Cartridge That Stores 330TB of Uncompressed Data
In this photo, IBM scientist Dr. Mark Lantz, holds a one square inch piece of Sony Storage Media Solutions sputtered tape, which can hold 201 Gigabytes, a new world record. Credit: IBM Research

Since 2006, IBM has set a record for developing tapes storage. Once again in collaboration with SONY Storage Media Solutions, they have set a new record for developing tape Cartridge that can store 330TB data. The most fascinating, the uncompressed data on a single tape cartridge would fit in the palm of your hand.

This new record areal recording density is more than 20 times the areal density used in current commercial tape drives. Storing 333TB uncompressed data means, it can store almost 3330 million books.

With this accomplishment, IBM researchers show the practicality of proceeding to scale the tape guide for one more decade.

IBM Fellow Evangelos Eleftheriou said, “Tape has traditionally been used for video archives, backup files, replicas for disaster recovery and retention of information on premise, but the industry is also expanding to off-premise applications in the cloud.”

“While sputtered tape is expected to cost a little more to manufacture than current commercial tape that uses Barium Ferrite (BaFe), the potential for very high capacity will make the cost per TB very attractive. It makes this technology practical for cold storage in the cloud.”

To accomplish such storage capacity, scientists have developed 3 new technologies. They are as follows: signal-processing algorithms, a set of advanced servo control technologies and a novel low friction tape head technology.

The signal-processing algorithms enable reliable operation at a linear density of 818,000 bits per inch with an ultra-narrow 48nm wide tunneling magneto-resistive (TMR) reader.

A set of advanced servo control technologies, when combined enable head positioning with an accuracy of better than 7 nanometers. Combining with a 48nm wide (TMR) hard plate drive read head empowers a track thickness of 246,200 tracks for every inch, a 13-overlay increment over a best in class TS1155 drive.

A novel low friction tape head technology that permits the use of very smooth tape media.

Now, IBM is looking to expand this tape cartridge at commercial level specifically for cloud storage.