Wednesday, July 1st 2020

Fujifilm Points to 400 TB Tape Drives in the Future

Fujifilm, a Japanese company focused on photography, imaging, printing, and biotechnology, predicts that it can build a 400 terabyte cartridge using Strontium Ferrite (SrFe) technology. Thanks to a report by Blocks&Files, who was press-briefed by Fujifilm, we have some information on the future of tape storage. Tape storage uses Linear Tape-Open (LTO) technology, which is an open standard developed by IBM to ensure all tape-based storage devices use the same format, instead of proprietary magnetic formats. We are currently at the LTO-8 version of this technology, which was released in 2017. Currently, LTO-8 can hold 12 TB in a single cartridge.

Fujifilm, one of the remaining makers of tape storage, predicts that it can pack 400 TB of tape storage in the LTO-13 era. Starting from LTO-12, Fujifilm plans to deploy Strontium Ferrite (SrFe) technology, which is different from the current Barium Ferrite (BaFe). The problem with BaFe is that each new LTO generation uses smaller and smaller particles and that leads to some problems where a tape bit value can't be read, and magnetic polarities would be disturbed if particles get too small. 400 TB tape drives using LTO-13 should be in circulation around 2032/33 according to a Blocks&Files prediction. Below you can check out the table provided by Blocks&Files that shows LTO generations and their abilities.
Source: Blocks&Files (information and table)
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7 Comments on Fujifilm Points to 400 TB Tape Drives in the Future

#1
robot zombie
Well, people do say there may always be a place for tape. Something I've never really known much about, but apparently it is still a thing. Can anybody explain to me why something like this would be favorable over more 'modern' storage methods?
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#2
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
robot zombie
Well, people do say there may always be a place for tape. Something I've never really known much about, but apparently it is still a thing. Can anybody explain to me why something like this would be favorable over more 'modern' storage methods?
Long term storage mostly, disaster recovery and the like. Cost/GB is good, you get naturally air gapped storage (good against ransomware) and they are fairly robust. For serious users there are robotic systems to handle the loading/unloading of cartridges.
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#3
lemonadesoda
Your whole DVD and music collection on just one cassette!

I imagine that storage cost per GB, and also physical robustness/reliability are greater with a tape.
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#4
neatfeatguy
Place I used to work, probably 15 years ago or so, they used tape to backup their system. They had 3 tape cartridges they used for backups. They'd have the backup of their server ran every night, confirm the first tape backed up and then copy the backup to the other 2.

This was 15 years ago and even then I thought their system with backing up on tape felt archaic, but they said it was cheap and effective for their needs. I only had to utilize the tapes a couple of times out of all the years I worked there. I didn't realize it's still a preferred method for certain people/companies in this day and age.
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#5
Octavean
Current LTO-8 may be cost effective and robust but that doesn't necessarily mean its cheap. If you ever went looking to backup a modest ~50TB Server for personal use you were likely quickly discouraged.

The tape may be cheap but you're looking at thousands of dollars for the drive so unless $$$ is OK LTO-8, 7 and 6 are likely too costly. Also I hear tell that the software necessary for these tape drives is also quite expensive.
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#6
Basard
Frick
Long term storage mostly, disaster recovery and the like. Cost/GB is good, you get naturally air gapped storage (good against ransomware) and they are fairly robust. For serious users there are robotic systems to handle the loading/unloading of cartridges.
But what if the robots get hacked? Or become self aware?!
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#7
BorgOvermind
Tapes win at marketing numbers, starting with the fake capacity statements, and fail in practice.
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