April 17, 2015

Positive future for the tape thanks to Japanese breakthrough

The tape is back. An how. The Japanese Fujifilm Corporation reached a breakthrough this week that will have major consequences. The company managed to multiply the storage capacity of its tapes, allowing for the largest storage capacity ever seen on tape.

Together with IBM, Fujifilm achieved a milestone in tape storage this month, with a data density of 123 billion bits per square inch on linear magnetic tape. For further clarification: this is a standard LTO cassette with storage capacity of 220 terabyte of uncompressed data. In other words, 88 times the capacity of the current LTO6 tape. This development will make the tape as a storage medium even stronger, more stable and reliable in the future.

More writing density thanks to fine magnetic particle

The success behind this breakthrough? A series of servo-controlled developments that lead to a more accurate head positioning and greater track density. The new head technology is able to use much finer magnet particles (barium ferrite). The size of the particles determines the writing density, which will now be much greater. Moreover, the magneto-resistant sensor works more reliably thanks to new signal processing algorithms. As a result, the new tape should easily be able to reach a lifespan of 30 years, compared to the current 10 years.

Innovating an old medium

In collaboration with Fujifilm, Backupned (which stores company data on tape in Oosterbeek) was proudly selected to publish this fantastic news. “Everyone thought the tape was become outdated – especially with an eye on the cloud – and that the technology would gradually disappear”, says director Peter Benedick of Backupned. “However, today the tape is evolving into a high-end solution for long-term data archiving.” Vice-President Norio Shibata of Fujifilm even states the new data density has a great significance for emerging computing and cloud storage services. In order to meet the ever-increasing storage requirements, Fujifilm and IBM will thus continue to use tape as a preferred medium for archive storag.

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