Physical media: Sony and IBM store 330 TB on magnetic tape

Physical media: Sony and IBM store 330 TB on magnetic tape

IBM and Sony present the fruit of their joint work: a physical medium capable of storing 330 TB of uncompressed data. A prototype that gives an idea of ​​the future of data centers.

Real-time analysis requires constant reactivity. The cloud is then the most appropriate technology to store and access data quickly. Today, we are in the era of the storage bay equipped with hard disks, but the use of a physical medium like an optical disk or a magnetic tape is still the standard for archiving data.

330 TB of data in a cartridge that fits in your hand

IBM and Sony have presented a prototype magnetic tape cartridge to accommodate 330 TB of uncompressed data. The feat of the two partners is to have succeeded in multiplying by 20 the storage density of this physical medium. It goes from 1.49 GB / cm² to 31.16 GB / cm². This record surpasses that of the Japanese firm. In 2014, Sony managed to store 148 TB of data in the same space and in a small object.

To do this, engineers located in Switzerland modified the technique of depositing the magnetic substrate on the strip. Instead of using a liquid solution used for example in the manufacture of VHS cassettes, IBM and Sony have preferred sputtering on polymer films. This more precise technique reduces the size of the magnetic particles present on the tape.

Physical support to relieve data centers

Will rolls of magnetic tapes ever replace hard drive bays and other SSDs? Surely not. The disadvantage of such a technology is none other than the speed of reading and writing, greatly reduced compared to the two storage media mentioned above. However, the manufacturing cost is much lower, which makes this physical medium particularly interesting for archiving data that would clutter a data center.

Still in development, the physical support of IBM and Sony could well take place in these dark spaces in addition to the technologies currently used . It’s off to a good start, the two partners estimate that they can double the record capacity of 330 TB every two years.