Wednesday, August 16th 2017

IBM Research Achieves Breakthrough in Magnetic Storage: Enabling a 330TB Tape

IBM Research scientists have achieved a new world record in tape storage - their fifth since 2006. The new record of 201 Gb/in2 (gigabits per square inch) in areal density was achieved on a prototype sputtered magnetic tape developed by Sony Storage Media Solutions. The scientists presented the achievement today at the 28th Magnetic Recording Conference (TMRC 2017) here.

Tape storage is currently the most secure, energy efficient and cost-effective solution for storing enormous amounts of back-up and archival data, as well as for new applications such as Big Data and cloud computing. This new record areal recording density is more than 20 times the areal density used in current state of the art commercial tape drives such as the IBM TS1155 enterprise tape drive, and it enables the potential to record up to about 330 terabytes (TB) of uncompressed data on a single tape cartridge that would fit in the palm of your hand. 330 terabytes of data are comparable to the text of 330 million books, which would fill a bookshelf that stretches slightly beyond the northeastern to the southwestern most tips of Japan.
Magnetic tape data storage is currently experiencing a renaissance. With this achievement, IBM scientists demonstrate the viability of continuing to scale the tape roadmap for another decade.

"Tape has traditionally been used for video archives, back-up files, replicas for disaster recovery and retention of information on premise, but the industry is also expanding to off-premise applications in the cloud," said IBM Fellow Evangelos Eleftheriou. "While sputtered tape is expected to cost a little more to manufacture than current commercial tape that uses Barium ferrite (BaFe), the potential for very high capacity will make the cost per TB very attractive, making this technology practical for cold storage in the cloud."

To achieve 201 billion bits per square inch, IBM researchers developed several new technologies, including:
  • Innovative signal-processing algorithms for the data channel, based on noise-predictive detection principles, which enable reliable operation at a linear density of 818,000 bits per inch with an ultra-narrow 48nm wide tunneling magneto-resistive (TMR) reader.
  • A set of advanced servo control technologies that when combined enable head positioning with an accuracy of better than 7 nanometers. This combined with a 48nm wide (TMR) hard disk drive read head enables a track density of 246,200 tracks per inch, a 13-fold increase over a state of the art TS1155 drive.
  • A novel low friction tape head technology that permits the use of very smooth tape media
IBM has been working closely with Sony Storage Media Solutions for several years, particularly on enabling increased areal recording densities. The results of this collaboration have led to various improvements in the media technology, such as advanced roll-to-roll technology for long sputtered tape fabrication and better lubricant technology, which stabilizes the functionality of the magnetic tape.

Many of the technologies developed and used in the areal density demonstrations are later incorporated into future tape products. Two notable examples from 2007 include an advanced noise predictive maximum likelihood read channel and first generation BaFe tape media.

IBM has a long history of innovation in magnetic tape data storage. Its first commercial tape product, the 726 Magnetic Tape Unit, was announced more than 60 years ago. It used reels of half-inch-wide tape that each had a capacity of about 2 megabytes. The areal density demonstration announced today represents a potential increase in capacity of 165,000,000 times compared with IBM's first tape drive product. This announcement reaffirms IBM's ongoing commitment and leadership in magnetic tape technology.
Add your own comment

19 Comments on IBM Research Achieves Breakthrough in Magnetic Storage: Enabling a 330TB Tape

#1
R-T-B
Wait, this isn't april fools...
Posted on Reply
#2
ZoneDymo
R-T-B said:
Wait, this isn't april fools...
No no, its real, I got the whole thing on tape
Posted on Reply
#3
Basard
I bet the access times are incredible!
Posted on Reply
#4
xkm1948
Funny I was just watching this




And damn you @qubit for showing me this channel. Wasted me quite a lot of time!
Posted on Reply
#5
notb
Basard said:
I bet the access times are incredible!
Quite often at least few days. :)

Incredible stuff from IBM.
A good lesson for all the "enthusiasts" on this forum about how a proper innovation in computing looks like. :)
Posted on Reply
#7
yogurt_21
its a single palm sized tape drive, I doubt access times are any worse than they used to be.

pretty useful for archival purposes, but it is seriously ironic that its used to store video...like we took this digital film and backed it up on film-like tape...
Posted on Reply
#9
cbr12
yes ...we now for what they need and who will buy from ibm that expensive research for that "hdd"... military and nsa . jusk ask snowden and julian A,.
ibm- no no its for peace , AI tech and other "science" ... of course ..:oops:;)
Posted on Reply
#10
R-T-B
cbr12 said:
yes ...we now for what they need and who will buy from ibm that expensive research for that "hdd"... military and nsa . jusk ask snowden and julian A,.
ibm- no no its for peace , AI tech and other "science" ... of course ..:oops:;)
Wut.
Posted on Reply
#11
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
xkm1948 said:
Funny I was just watching this




And damn you @qubit for showing me this channel. Wasted me quite a lot of time!
lol, I know these videos are a bit morish aren't they? Watch just one more... ;) I watched this one and especially liked the bit showing what the data looks like visually.

I think this 330TB innovation is great, as it will be almost enough to store my complete pron collection. :D
Posted on Reply
#12
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
I have had people bring in old tape backups for recoveries still. They exist for a reason.
Posted on Reply
#13
DeathtoGnomes
Tape me out to the ballpar....nvm:kookoo:

I doubt this tape works for Commodore 64s or Vic-20s.

hmm, a C-64 with 330Tb of storage.... :wtf:
Posted on Reply
#14
Tartaros
cdawall said:
I have had people bring in old tape backups for recoveries still. They exist for a reason.
They are the most reliable storage device if managed properly.
hmm, a C-64 with 330Tb of storage....
Now I have a question, how much time would a c64 take to read those 330tb of data xD
Posted on Reply
#15
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
Tartaros said:
They are the most reliable storage device if managed properly.
Agreed they are the best deep storage option.
Posted on Reply
#16
tuandta2
LTOs are one of the most important low-cost, high-capacity storage solution. Especially when you deal with a lot of big files e.g. video. I work for a television station and we have a whole rack room with several tape library. You'd be surprised to see many big companies are taking part in this industry: HPE, IBM, Spectra, Fujitsu, Toshiba ... No, by no means tapes are for enthusiasts. They go beyond.
Posted on Reply
#17
silapakorn
Finally a storage capable of storing my porn collection!
Posted on Reply
#18
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
tuandta2 said:
LTOs are one of the most important low-cost, high-capacity storage solution. Especially when you deal with a lot of big files e.g. video. I work for a television station and we have a whole rack room with several tape library. You'd be surprised to see many big companies are taking part in this industry: HPE, IBM, Spectra, Fujitsu, Toshiba ... No, by no means tapes are for enthusiasts. They go beyond.
I think astronomers use them for storing raw data, iirc.
Posted on Reply
#19
notb
Frick said:
I think astronomers use them for storing raw data, iirc.
Most scientific experiments use tapes - both for great reliability and high volume.
And actually tapes can't really be considered just a backup. In many cases data is written directly to tapes as a main storage - only the selected fragments are copied to faster disks for analysis.

Experiments are always sacrificing some data that is not stored at all - due to both transfer rates and storage volume. So making tapes 20x larger (and most likely faster) is quite important for science.

As for business uses - I don't think we're hugely limited by tape capacities today, so it's not a crucial invention for 2017. But obviously the amount of data is growing and the planet isn't. We need a safety margin for the future and that's what IBM delivered.
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment