The cassette tape has long been irrelevant in the consumer market, with the technology hanging on only in a few isolated hipster music circles. In storage media industry, however, cassettes have never really gone out of style. Magnetic tape is still one of the most reliable ways to archive large amounts of data, and the technology is still improving.
Sony has announced that its new magnetic tape technology is designed to store more information on a single cassette than ever before. According to the company, the new technology has a “nano-grained magnetic layer with fine magnetic particles and uniform crystalline orientation.” What this means is a new cassette that can store more than 185TB of data on a single cartridge with a recording density of 148GB per square inch. This is, according to Sony, 74 times the amount of data that can be stored on the current highest-density magnetic tape storage cassettes.
Sony officially announced its new magnetic tape tech earlier this week at the INTERMAG conference in Dresden, Germany. The announcement was made in conjunction with IBM, which measured the recording density of the new media for Sony.
Sony is calling its new magnetic tape the “next generation” of tape storage media. The product was created by placing uniform layers of crystals on polymer film thinner than 5 micrometers. This was accomplished using a technique called “sputter deposition” and optimizing the technique to provide smooth layers of crystals that are uniform in size. The average thickness of each of these layers is 7.7 nanometers.
Sony is betting that its new storage technology will be sorely needed in the growing age of cloud computing. Though end users can interact with cloud data in the magical-sounding way the marketing hype suggests, the companies behind these cloud products actually have to store many terabytes of data. With data storage facilities quickly growing, any chance to save space through greater storage density is likely to be popular with large data storage businesses.
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