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IBM, Fujifilm Set Tape Storage Density Record

By 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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