To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the coming death of tape storage are greatly exaggerated. Evidence comes by way of an announcement Tuesday by IBM researchers who said they have developed a data storage technology that is capable of cramming eight terabytes of data onto a small tape cartridge.
Researchers at IBM's Almaden Research Center said the technology is likely to appear commercially in about five years in a cartridge the size of industry-standard Linear Tape Open (LTO) tape cartridge. To illustrate the technology, eight terabytes on an LTO cartridge could hold the text of 8 million books.
"With analysts projecting tape automation revenue to grow 8 percent annually through 2011, our customers are storing increasing amounts of data to manage their enterprises and to address the compliance requirements of laws such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPPA) Act of 1996," said Cindy Grossman, vice president, IBM Tape Storage Systems, in a statement.
The new technology -- researched packed 6.67 billion bits per square inch onto test tape -- represents a gain in tape storage density of more than 15 times the technology contained in today's LTO-Generation 3 cartridge, which is half the size of a VHS videocassette.
In developing the tape storage technology, IBM used Fuji Photo Film's Fujifilm Nanocubic technology, which in turn uses barium-ferrite (BaFe) particles. Fujifilm noted that it first announced its Nanocubic technology in 2002, with IBM becoming the first tape cartridge manufacturers to use it in its Enterprise Tape Cartridge 3592. Other manufacturers have been using the Fujifilm technology in recent months.