Feeds

Sony nanotechnicians invent magnetic tape that stores 148 Gb per square inch

Will sell single data cartridge that holds 185TB of data

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Researchers at Sony have developed a new kind of magnetic tape that can store 74 times the data of current designs, dramatically cutting the amount of room needed for backup libraries.

The tape is manufactured using a new vacuum thin-film forming system that deposits a string of uniformly orientated nanocrystals in a layer less than five micrometers thick. The crystals that are used to record data are much smaller than previously created, averaging 7.7 nanometers across, and this, along with their precise alignment, gives data densities of 148 Gb per square inch of tape.

"By optimizing sputter conditions and independently developing a soft magnetic underlayer with a smooth interface, Sony has made it possible to minimize disparities in crystalline length and growth," the company said in a statement.

To put that figure into perspective, the first magnetic storage tape, used by UNIVAC in 1951, was only capable of handling 128 characters per square inch, and the LTO-6 high-end LTO Ultrium tape currently used can manage just 2Gb per square inch.

Sony says the new manufacturing technique is commercially viable and it's working to develop it into a data cartridge that can store 185TB of uncompressed data, although it isn't saying when. The company also suggests that greater densities could be achieved by using even smaller nanocrystals.

While some analysts have been predicting the death of tape for some time, it's still very popular for certain types of storage. Long-term backup is the main market these days, in addition to processes that are very data heavy. CERN makes extensive use of tape to record the findings of the Large Hadron Collider, for example.

Provided Sony can adapt the technique to mass production – and at a commercially viable price – this new tape could put its competition in trouble. While tape densities have been increasing slowly, this kind of technological leap could seriously disrupt the market. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push
'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'
Symantec backs out of Backup Exec: Plans to can appliance in Jan
Will still provide support to existing customers
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.