Tape technology strikes back with a vengeance

IBM’s latest innovation in tape technology brings a refreshing update to one of the oldest technologies in the industry. The concept of tape as a storage media is as old as the IT industry itself, with the punch card even older than that.

Researchers from Fuji Photo and IBM have come up with a dual layer magnetic tape that can hold 6.67 billion bits of data per square inch.

By breathing new life into the tape industry, IBM and Fuji want to grab a bigger share of the $5 billion market. This is expected to grow massively due to the recent laws in data retention which will result in bigger demand for archiving.

However, tape industry still seems to be at the end of its life as other more innovative technologies are introduced. Holographic storage promises storage capacity, transfer rates and access time that tape technologies can only dream of achieving.

The new IBM Linear Tape Open cartridge, based on Fuji's Nanocubic technology, might well store up to 500GB of data but it still carries inherent disadvantages associated with tapes. These disadvantages include sensitivity to magnetic fields, linear file access, cost of maintenance and life expectancy of tapes.