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News From Inside The Industry

IBM, Fujifilm Set Tape Storage Density Record

By SharkyExtreme.com Staff January 22, 2010

IBM researchers in Zurich, working with recording media scientists at Fujifilm, have demonstrated a world record in areal density on linear magnetic tape -- storing 29.5 billion bits per square inch, enough for a theoretical tape cartridge that holds 35 terabytes of uncompressed data.

Often considered an antique next to optical, hard, and solid-state drives, magnetic tape is still a popular archive medium for its low cost per megabyte and high energy efficiency (tape cartridges in jukebox-style library slots don't consume energy, unlike spinning disk drives).

To set the record, Fujifilm developed dual-coat magnetic tape with ultra-fine, perpendicularly oriented barium ferrite particles, just one-third the volume of current metal particles, while IBM contributed advanced servo control technologies, read/write head assemblies, and signal-processing algorithms to increase storage density almost fortyfold. A 35TB version of today's LTO Generation 4 cartridge could hold enough text to fill 248 miles of bookshelves.


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