IBM and Fujifilm have figured out a way to put 220 million books in the palm of your hand.
The two companies made a new breakthrough in their tape storage technology, and have announced on Thursday that they improved on the company’s existing tape product storage capacity by up to 88 times.
This new technology, still in the R&D phase, allows a cartridge which can fit in the palm of your hands to hold 123 billion bits of uncompressed data per square inch – meaning 225 Terabytes.
As IBM pointed out in a statement, that’s the data equivalent of the text of 220 million books.
This is 88 times the capacity of the industry’s previous Linear Tape-Open standard (LTO-6), released in 2012, which held 2.5 TB and was marketed as a mid-range product.
“Tape is actually growing,” said Mark Lantz, manager of exploratory tape at IBM Research in Zurich, Switzerland.
That might sound strange, considering that cloud storages are advancing and HDD prices are going down, but the growing demand for archival technologies is bringing back a “resurgence” in tape, he says.
While IBM was not ready to make any product announcements, it said that it is looking into bringing tape into cloud storage solutions.
The biggest setback of this technology is that it takes some time (up to a minute) to access the files, meaning the technology is best suited to ‘cold data’. Still, many companies could rely on tape for their cloud services.
“In terms of cloud on tape, we’ve made a lot of progress and we’re working on technology in research that would enable that,” said Lantz. “We are now gauging interest in that offering.