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Tape technology strikes back with a vengeance

IBM’s latest innovation in tape technology (opens in new tab) 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.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.