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IBM Scientists Have Crammed The Digital Equivalent Of 330 million Books Into A Tiny Cartridge!

by Baz Edwards

Around 60 years ago, IBM's tape storage technology could hold just 2 Megabytes of data. Fast forward to 2017 and with this incredible breakthrough by IBM scientists, they can now store 330 Terabytes of data!

IBM Scientists Have Crammed The Digital Equivalent Of 330 million Books Into A Tiny Cartridge!

Image credit: IBM Research/YouTube

Human beings are making more data than ever before, and this is only going to increase with time, that's why we need novel ways of storing huge volumes of data in as small a space as possible.

IBM have done exactly that recently.

IBM Scientists have managed to cram 330 Terabytes of data into a cartridge that fits into the palm of your hand.

Let's put that into perspective.

330 Terabytes is 330,000 Gigabytes or 330,000,000 Megabytes - an absolutely phenomenal amount of data.

Or to put it another way, it's the digital equivalent of 330 million books according to The Verge.

Not only have the IBM team achieved this incredible feat of engineering, they have also broken a new world record for the amount of data that can be stored on magnetic tape.

201 Gigabytes per square inch on prototype sputtered magnetic tape has been achieved which is 20 times the areal density currently used in commercial tape drives.

The IBM team have made huge strides in the last 60 years with this technology.  The company's first tape unit used reels of tape that were half an inch wide and could only hold 2 Megabytes.

IBM haven't done it alone however.  They've been working with Sony for years on this type of technology to increase aneal recording densities.  

A key enabler to this technology has been around figuring out a way to reduce the gap between the magnetic tape and the magnetic head.  

A number of new technologies have also had to be developed including a new lubricant that can help improve read/write speeds, advanced servo control technologies and innovative signal-processing algorithms.

Granted this technology is not going to be available to buy off the shelf, but it could have potential usages in cold cloud storage according to IBM.

Personally I think this is incredible, not just because of the breakthrough, but also that we're still using tape 60 years on!

But I suppose that doesn't matter, as long as researchers keep on making these advances, then they should be able to increase the capacity of tape over of the coming years and eek this technology out for as long as possible, to keep up with our insatiable appetite for data!

Cheers!

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