Many of us used magnetic tapes to record or listen to music on our cassette players. By today it became outdated with the invention of the optical data storage devices. Few of us know that tape drives were developed in the 1950’s for large data storage and are still in use today. The Large Hadron Collider still uses magnetic tapes for massive data storage. It’s a more practical and reliable method than HDD’s or Blu-ray discs. Tape storage libraries used today offer the most cost-effective solution for large data storage.
Magnetic tapes can store up to 29.5GB per square inch. At least that was the record for 2010. To put things into perspective, a standard dual-layer Blu-ray disc can store 25GB on one layer while the magnetic tape can hold 29.5GB on just one square inch. Sony has developed a new type of magnetic tape that is capable of storing 148GB per square inch, becoming the new record holder. If we ad that up to the whole length of a cassette the result is a mind-blowing 185TB. That’s 3700 dual-layer 50GB Blu-ray discs.
Sony states that this isn’t an experiment and they want to make their new storage device available for everyone. The only drawback of the storage unit is its read and write speed. Accessing information may take a long time making it only suitable for backup data storage. It’s not exactly practical for every day users except if you have a massive amount of data that you want to back up for safe keeping so don’t throw out your SSD yet!
Sony will present its new product in May at the Intermag conference in Europe. Will it revolutionize the way we store data? Not likely. But if they could increase its access time and read/write speed in the future, it may become the best and cheapest storage device available. Do you think that magnetic tapes may come back one day and regain their popularity?