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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sony's New 185 Terabyte Casette Tape?

Vinyl is making a comeback, but for all intents and purposes the reign of cassette tapes is long since over, right? Perhaps not, if Sony has anything to say about it. At today’s International Magnetics Conference (Intermag) in Europe, the company is presenting a method of data storage utilizing magnetic tape which is capable of holding a whopping 148GB per inch.

I have fond memories of walking to my local Wherehouse, stocking up on Maxell XLII-S blank cassette tapes (back me up 80′s kids, these were vastly superior to Memorex), and settling in for a weekend of crafting the most glorious mixtapes imaginable. Sony’s new breakthrough in storage capacity would mean one insanely comprehensive mixtape.

Back in 2012, a collaboration between FujiFilm and IBM IBM -1.84% resulted in prototype cassettes which could hold 35TB of data, and at the time that was considered a monumental accomplishment. Sony’s new method means you could cram 185TB onto a single cassette tape. The average Blu-Ray disc holds 50GB and a standard PC hard drive 1TB. To illustrate just how dramatic this is, here’s a weeks-old tutorial at ExtremeTech detailing how to build your own 180TB hard drive storage array for a measly $9305. To accomplish this, Sony has utilized and enhanced a technology known as “sputter deposition,” which involves drastically shrinking the magnetic particles on the tape.

Obviously the creators of the Walkman aren’t envisioning their new storage technology being used in the consumer space, but Sony says this is way more than an experiment. Magnetic tape is still a viable option for mass data storage and backup, and Sony wants to commercialize their product and bring it to market in the near future.

Story via FORBES