New Magnetic Tape Delivers a Record 580TB Storage Capacity

580 TB is equivalent to 786,977 CDs stacked 3100 ft (944 mt) high.
Loukia Papadopoulos

You may not know this, but magnetic tape has been the storage medium for data centers since 1952. Its durability, longevity, energy efficiency, density, low cost, and scalability have made it hard to beat over the years and now IBM and Fujifilm have teamed up to make it even better.


An enormous amount of data

"Currently, we produce 2.5 quintillion bytes of data on a daily basis, mainly due to the continuous rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), the emergence of high-definition 4K/8K videos, and AI-based big-data analyses. At the rate we’re going, worldwide data is expected to hit 175 zettabytes by 2025, representing 61 percent annual growth. One ZB is equivalent to a trillion gigabytes (GB) — the latest cellphones have 256 GB," reads the IBM press release.

New Magnetic Tape Delivers a Record 580TB Storage Capacity
Source: IBM Corp.

"The one technology can handle that the massive growth of digital data, keep it protected from cyber crime attacks, and is archiving data for some of the largest hyperscale data centers in the world is a technology more than 60 years old — magnetic tape."


The new tape produced by these industry giants has a capacity of 580TB (terabytes), approximately 50 times greater than the capacity of current data cartridges. It holds a world record 317 Gbpsi (gigabytes per sq inch — 6.45 sq cm). recording density and has been produced using a new magnetic particle called Strontium Ferrite (SrFe). SrFe can be transformed into smaller particles with “superior properties" allowing it to provide higher density storage on the same amount of tape.

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"In terms of storage potential, a single tape cartridge with this new areal density has the potential to store about 580TB of data. Just to put that in perspective, 580 TB is equivalent to 786,977 CDs stacked 3100 ft (944 mt) high, which is taller than Burj Kalifa, the world’s tallest building. That’s a colossal amount of data! All fitting on a tape cartridge on the palm of your hand," writes IBM.

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