New tape drive with 220TB capacity smashes storage records

Every PC enthusiast has a memory of their first hard drive. For some it’s 80GB, for others, 800MB and some of you can no doubt go back far further to drives measured in kilobytes. Today, we’re blessed with multi-terabyte storage solutions for under $100 – what a treat! But hard drives aren’t necessarily the be all and end all of high-capacity data storage, as IBM has recently proved by creating the world’s densest data platform; a new tape drive!

In collaboration with Fujifilm, IBM has broken the storage record by producing a single tape cartridge that has such dense data storage, it can hold up to 220 terabytes of data. That’s thanks to its ability to handle as much as 100 gigabits of data for every square inch of tape.

Even the most impressive of RAID set ups have to feel inadequate next to that.

According to the two firms, this was made possible with what they call Nanocubic technology, which while sounding like a B movie science-fiction, is actually rather complicated. It “decreases barium ferrite (BaFe) magnetic particle volume,” without fluctuating the temperature too much and thereby preserves the longevity of the storage medium. It also uses “enhanced write field head technology,” which is necessary in order to handle the miniaturized BaFe particles.

What all of this means is that, as it invariably does, high volume storage just became smaller once again. Considering how much more information we’re all storing in the cloud, this could become a massively important technology for many cloud service providers around the world, though due to its extreme capacity and particular format, it seems unlikely to be appealing to home users.

How big is your local storage? Something tells us it won’t be quite as impressive as this.