Storage Wars: How Sony’s new tape is smashing records

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Sony isn?t usually associated with storage. It?s more used to being associated with cool games and consoles like the PlayStation or the Xperia mobile line of devices. But people forget that it was actually Sony that pioneered the Blu-Ray disc, those discs that could hold the largest storage capacity of any mass produced consumer grade optical storage medium. The dual layer Blu-Ray disc can hold up to 50 gigabytes of data and is a prime choice for modern video games and uncompressed high definition movies and audio.

Now, Sony is outdoing itself once again. They have recently partnered with IBM to create a tape storage medium that is capable of holding a whopping 185 terabytes on a single cartridge. Yes, you read right, those are terabytes, not gigabytes. The tape can hold 148 gigabytes per square inch and beats a record that was set in 2010 by about 5 times over. The previous record that a tape could store was at 29.5 gigabytes per square inch. 148 gigabytes is the equivalent of 3 Blu-Ray discs.

Sony?s latest tape works by using a vacuum forming technique called sputter deposition to be able to create a layer of magnetic crystals by shooting argon ions at a polymer film substrate. The crystals measure just 7.7 nanometers on average and are packed together more densely than any method used previously.

Businesses usually use storage tapes for holding huge amounts of data for a long period of time. Although these storage tapes are very impressive, it probably won?t be seeing commercial daylight just yet as the costs for creating the device right now are still very high.

Tapes are a cheaper and more energy efficient way of storing data compared to the power hungry large data centers but their retrieval rate of data is far slower.

This technology was developed by Sony as a long term industrial sized data backup envisioning a time where a tape?s slow write times and the time it takes to go through enormous amounts of data aren?t big problems.

Although this tape won?t be available anytime soon for regular consumers, you?ll be pleased to know that Sony is also working on a more consumer friendly storage medium called the Archival Disc. Sony is working with Panasonic for this and the disc will be able to hold 1 terabyte of data.

Photo Source: Sony official website


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