Sony absolutely smashes records for data storage
Oh, how I do love the march of progress! Sony just unveiled something unbelievable at the International Magnetics Conference in Dresden: A tape that can hold 185 TERABYTES of information in one itty-bitty cassette form factor. The previous record for storage was 29.5GB per square inch. Now, Sony’s tape can hold 145 GB of storage per square inch. That means that you could jam three Blu-ray discs’ worth of data into a single square inch of this tape. Here are some other fun comparisons – one 185 terabyte tape would hold the equivalent of:
- 2,960 64GB iPhones
- 3,700 Blu-ray discs
- 40,330 DVDs
- 64,750,000 songs
- Nearly twice as many words as have ever been written and published in books. Ever.
How did Sony do it?
So, what manner of technical wizardry did Sony use to achieve this incredible feat? Well, they optimized a process known as sputter deposition (here’s some animationto help you wrap your mind around this concept). Sputter deposition is a process of creating very densely packed layers of magnetic crystals. Essentially, the layers are formed by firing argon ions at a polymer film substrate; the magnetic particles in the layer measure 7.7 nanometers on average. For reference, a nanometer is a width of one-billionth of a meter. This supremely small size, coupled with the dense packing, is what enables Sony’s incredible achievement!
What are the real-world implications?
Now, as much as this is simply amazing for tech geeks, the fact of the matter is that this invention has some important real-world implications. For starters, tape storage sales have been growing. Although most consumer devices are based on flash-memory or optical disc technology, there really is no replacement for tape storage in situations where incredible amounts of information needs to be warehoused over the long term. For example:
- Major League Baseball: Major League Baseball (MLB) is the organization that manages the sport of professional baseball in North America. It oversees 30 franchises in 28 cities across North America. The media wing of the MLB, consisting of MLB Productions and MLB Network, captures all video content from its venues and stores an additional 25 to 30TB of video data on tape each day. Their archive, as of 2013, is held on over 13,000 magnetic storage tapes.
- Businesses: It’s not just baseball and video outlets who are on the tape storage bandwagon. Many businesses deploy magnetic tape as a more stable and secure long-term storage solution for data whose access tolerates longer latency times (i.e., archival data). Business usage of tapes is definitely on the rise; tape capacity shipments posted 13% year-over-year growth in 2012 and had 26% projected growth in 2013. At the same time, worldwide enterprise tape automation market posted nearly 30% year-over-year revenue growth in 2012.
Essentially, Sony’s achievement in tape storage can be a very big boon to business overall because it’s an achievement in warehousing data. Which is one more reason why I’m excited about Sony’s professed plan to commercialize this technology: I work for Cimpl, a technology expense management company – the biggest one in Canada, in fact.
One of the key duties in our line of work is, in fact, providing solutions dedicated to the warehousing for telecom assets and data. We’re constantly coming up with new ways to manage and track IT and telecom assets, as well as a whole host of other data (how else would we have gotten to No.1 in Canada?). Developments like Sony’s are events for which we keep close, giddy watch. Announcements and proof of concept are one thing though - it will be some time before something like this can come to market.
In the meantime, we have to make do with what’s both cutting-edge and available. And that’s where we come in. Our product, Cimpl, is quite simply the best technology asset management software available. If you need help keep track of your resources, we can definitely help. Contact us today!