IBM, Fujifilm squeeze more terabytes out of tape storage

IBM's advance means a standard tape cartridge could store 154 terabytes of uncompressed data.

IBM said Monday that its researchers have advanced the amount of bits stored per square inch of tape storage courtesy of a prototype material from Fujifilm Corp.

The news, which comes out of IBM's Edge conference in Las Vegas, illustrates how older technologies can have a longer lifespan due to advances.

Inexpensive tape storage is a primary backup system for many enterprises even as they adopt big data and new technologies in the data center.

IBM says it can 85.9 billion bits per square inch on tape cartridges.

IBM said they can pack 85.9 billion bits of data per square inch on areal data density on linear magnetic particulate tape. At that density a standard tape cartridge could store 154 terabytes of uncompressed data, 62 times better than existing cartridges.

With the advance, IBM is keeping tape relevant for big data applications. Tape still has appeal given that it can last for decades and doesn't require power when not in use.

To boost the data on tape storage, IBM researchers tweaked the particles on the write field head and used algorithms to refine how tape stores data. IBM's first commercial tape product was announced more than 60 years ago.

ibmtape advances


Among other storage items rolled out at Edge:

  • IBM updated its Storwize V7000 Unified system with real-time compression, clustering technologies and doubled the storage capacity to 4 petabytes.
  • The company launched IBM XIV Cloud Storage for Service Providers, a system that has a pay per use pricing model.
  • A TS4500 Tape Library was launched for cloud deployments.
  • IBM rolled out a IBM DS8870 Flash enclosure, which saves on energy and boosts performance.
  • And the company launched new compute nodes for its Flex System X6 with various socket configurations.