Good old magnetic tapes seem a bright idea for data storage in the future

With social networking sites seeing millions of status and photograph updates every day and technologies such as the Square Kilometer Array expected to produce about 1 petabyte of compressed data each day, storage needs will definitely skyrocket in the near future. Data storage, which is currently dominated by power hungry hard drives, won’t be able to cope up with this immense surge in data available for storage. To solve the issues, researchers at Fuji Film and IBM aren’t thinking about a futuristic storage solution but going back to the very basic of data storage by adding a touch of modern technology to it.

The team of researchers here has built magnetic tape cartridges that can store a whooping 35 terabytes of data in a frame of just 10cm x 10cm x 2cm. The cartridge carries magnetic tape coated with particles of barium ferrite, making it ultra-dense to pack in information at much higher densities. Apart from offering an affordable solution to the vast data storage requirements of the Square Kilometer Array, which will go live in 2024, the tapes also help reduce energy consumption.

Conventional hard drives with their perpetually spinning discs consume 200 times more power than a simple tape drive of similar size would do. The reason is that tapes only consume energy when data is either being recorded onto it or being read from it. However, anybody who has ever used a cassette tape for listening to music knows that accessing data from a tape is not as easy as accessing it from a SSD.

Tapes are extremely slow in retrieving information as the reader has to first find the place where the data has been recorded by moving the spool of tape all the way to that point. To make things a bit more friendly the team is working on the Linear Tape File System, which hopes to make the process just as fast as conventional tape drives.

Via: New Scientist

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