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Sony Packs 185TB into a Single Magnetic Tape

By - Source: Sony

Sony has announced a new method of storing data on magnetic tapes. With some help from IBM, Sony developed a nano-grained magnetic layer to sit in between the protective coating and underlayer. A uniform crystalline particle structure is made possible by Sony's new soft magnetic underlayer technology, resulting in a capacity 74 times the size of conventional tape media.

Magnetic tape storage may seem like a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to modern storage, but that isn't necessarily true. The storage format is excellently suited for archiving purposes, and operations that need to store massive amounts of information in general. This comes at the cost of read/write speeds as tapes only store data linearly.

"A lot of that stigma actually isn't as true as it used to be. Tape technology is getting faster, it's more economical than hard disk drives (HDDs) and it has a smaller carbon footprint because it requires less power," says Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Jason Buffington in a Computer World article.

Magnetic tape storage capacity is measured in GB/in2 with standard tape storage coming in at around 2GB/in2. Sony's new magnetic tape technology has an approximate capacity of 148GB/in2 with a possible total capacity of 185 terabytes (TB) per cartridge.

"In recent years, the rapid recovery of data systems such as databases and data servers following natural disasters, as well as secure management of information has become ever more important, and companies around the world are proceeding to build new data systems," according to Sony. "In addition, the expansion of cloud services and the creation of new markets to utilize big data have led to a growing need for a data storage media which can store large amounts of information."

The amount of data being recorded and processed in the world is growing at an alarming rate. According to IDC's 2013 Digital Universe Report, the enterprise produced 202 exabytes (EB) in 2012, with a total of 898EB produced that year. The report predicts the global total will rise to 6.6 zettabytes (ZB) by 2020. Read IDC's complete report (PDF available here).

Sony's new high capacity magnetic tape may prove to be a good choice for enterprises' archiving needs.

For more detailed information on Sony's magnetic tape technology visit