Tape Storage Gets A Density Boost

from the it's-not-dead-yet dept

Researchers in Switzerland and Japan have created an improved magnetic tape material for higher density data storage along with a technique for retrieving the data from these new magnetic tapes. Their method, which uses barium ferrite, can store nearly 30 billion bits per square inch, providing almost 40 times greater performance than regular magnetic tapes. However, such a large increase in data-density creates some problems in the data retrieval process. Electromagnetic interference and residual magnetization of heads can cause data loss. To overcome this, the researchers have developed algorithms to predict (and negate) these effects of interference and magnetization.

Whereas solid state drives (SSDs) cost a few dollars per gigabyte of storage, and hard drives cost a few pennies per gigabyte -- tape storage can cost under a penny per gigabyte. Given the low cost of tape drives, it shouldn't be too surprising that the technology is still around. In fact, in the third quarter of 2009, the overall market for magnetic data tape was valued at over a half a billion dollars. So significant improvements in tape storage could delay the development and arrival of newer storage technologies. According to some tape advocates, tape is a superior technology over other types of data storage when the quantity of data is large enough, and particularly when this data is in "cold storage" -- that is, not accessed frequently. Still, this new tape technology is estimated be 5 years away from hitting the market, and other storage alternatives are not standing still.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 11:00am

    tape will live forever

    as an archive format, tape is way better than anything else. So for speedy web apps, get SSD. But if you want the info to last (as long as it's not moon landing video and you re-write over it), use tape.

     

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