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The high density process invented by IBM (left) versus existing tape density technologies (right)
IBM researchers announced that they have established a new world record in data density by cramming 6.67 billion bits into a square inch of magnetic tape

Researchers at IBM claim to have invented a process for storing data onto magnetic tapes that will increase storage capacity by at least 15 times. Even though high capacity reliable hard drives are cheaper and more popular than ever before, tapes are still commonly used for storing less frequently accessed information like tape back ups, disaster recovery files and records maintained over years for regulatory compliance. IBM sold its first tape storage unit in 1952 and has come a long way since then. IBM’s tape storage revenues increased by 9 percent last year, outpacing the company as a whole.

To accomplish this, IBM scientists at the Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California, worked with Fuji Photo Film to change the NANOCUBIC material that makes up the tape and also improved the way data can be read and written. Customers would need to upgrade to new tape machines to take advantage of this new technology which is expected to be available to the market in about 5 years.

The new technology will allow tape storage devices to store data bits in sizes approximately 15nm by 6nm.  Existing tape technologies of the highest densities are approximately 150nm by 10nm in size. The size and spacing of the bits on new NANOCUBIC technology are slightly irregular, which IBM claims improves the density of real world data.

IBM researchers claim Linear Tape Open (LTO) cartridges will be able to hold eight terabytes a piece when the technology is rolled out into retail backup devices.




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