One might think magnetic tape is fast becoming a technological fossil. But researchers at IBM Corp. disagree. They’ve come up with a way to store a terabyte (1000 GB) of uncompressed data on a standard tape, an accomplishment that represents an order of magnitude leap in storage capacity over the last generation.
The new technology uses more tracks and packs more data per millimeter of tape. IBM’s tape techies believe that it is possible to increase tape storage by still an order of magnitude more. But that will require overcoming some significant engineering hurdles. In the meantime, when it’s available commercially, the new tape technology will enable the medium to continue to beat the cost of storing large volumes of data on hard disks.
Six Orders of Magnitude in Linear Tape Technology: The One-Terabyte Project , by E. R. Childers, et al., IBM Journal of Research and Development , July 2003, pp. 47182.