Feeds

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

Will sell single data cartridge that holds 185TB of data

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
'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
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
CAGE MATCH: Microsoft, Dell open co-located bit barns in Oz
Whole new species of XaaS spawning in the antipodes
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.