Research May Prolong Tape’s Life for 10 Years.

By Michael
February 16, 2010

Tape_tombstoneJust when the doom buglers are ready to blow taps for tape as an archival medium (once again), researchers seem to find a way to prolong the life of it. Some recent news from IBM’s Zurich Research Laboratories in Switzerland is a case in point. Researchers there have developed a new material that can store 29.5 billion bits of data per inch of tape. That kind of density would increase the capacity of a typical tape cartridge to 35 terabytes, or 40 times the capacity of current carts. Read More …


  1. While tape’s future density may be vast, what combination of tape/drive will cost less than a cent per GB–especially when the consumer market favors disk? Also, current tape’s bottleneck is throughput, not density. What backup speeds are we talking about?

  2. Although the consumer shift is towards disk (and should be) for short term data, the cost and footprint of magnetic media still proves to be the best storage device for archived information. Throughput becomes less of an issue when using an HSM/ILM strategy that moves data from D2T, or D2D2T since the transfer is usually done off of a SAN. Addressing the cost issue, you can’t include the tape drive unless you want to include the cost of the server that manages the disk activity. Most cost/gig comparisons are done with the cost of the tape v. the cost of the disk. Also don’t forget to include square footage costs, electricity, and management of the server if you are tallying a true cost to own figure. You’ll soon notice that for archived data the dollar amount weighs heavily in favor of tape.

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