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Sony crams 148GB per square inch onto magnetic tape

Big Data sees companies turning to an old friend
Thu May 01 2014, 14:43
VHS tape

SONY HAS ANNOUNCED that it has created magnetic tape capable of storing 148GB per square inch, or 185TB per tape cartridge.

Although the thought of magnetic tape conjures up images of giant mainframes, it remains an important part in data centre contingency planning, and servers and databases are continually backed up at regular intervals for operations integrity reasons and disaster recovery purposes.

The nano-grained tape coating has a soft magnetic underlay, creating a uniform crystaline orientation of magnetic particles that enables more data to be recorded.

The new technique will be formally announced and demonstrated in a co-presentation with IBM, which previously held the capacity record, at the Intermag world magnetics conference in Dresden next week.

The manufacturing technique for modern magnetic tape is known as "sputter deposition", which not nearly as rude as it sounds, but rather is a technique involving electrostatic discharge used to force argon (Ar) ions to collide with the target.

The materials generated from the collision become the thin layer deposited on the magnetic tape substrate. The new technique optimises sputtering conditions to allow uniformity, guaranteeing data storage characteristics of uniform and optimum quality.

Magnetic tape is still considered one of the best means of data cold storage in large volumes, and today's announcement will come as welcome news to organisations for which very large quantities of data have led to contingency planning challenges.

This high capacity tape backup medium hasn't appeared too soon, with Sandisk having announced the first 4TB SSD drives for data centres yesterday, promising even larger capacities by year-end. µ


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