Fujifilm, IBM tech could yield 35TB magnetic tape drives

Crystalline particles used to store data one-third typical particle size

Fujifilm Recording Media U.S.A and IBM today announced they were able to demonstrate a new particulate that can be used to create magnetic tape cartridges that are 44 times more dense than today's Generation 4 LTO Ultrium's cartridges.

The magnetic media technology, which uses a new process of aligning barium-ferrite (BaFe) particles on the tape, enables a density of 29.5 billion bits per square inch with magnetic tape media, which enables storage of 35TB of uncompressed data. BaFe is a crystalline substance that does not corrode or change chemically over time, making it ideal for long-term data storage.

Fujifilm said its process for laying down BaFe particles on tape, which it calls "Nanocubic technology," uses a new coating process and advanced dispersion techniques to achieve an ultra-thin magnetic layer that produces higher resolution for recording digital data.

Fujifilm's Nanocubic technology creates BaFe particles that are about one-third of LTO tape's metal particle size and lays down the particles down in a uniform, perpendicularl manner, according to Fujifilm.

Perpendicular recording means the particles stand upright for higher density compared with the traditional horizontal method.

"We are hopeful about bringing this technology to market and believe it will change the face of tape storage," said Peter Faulhaber, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Fujifilm Recording. "We believe that tape has the potential to be the next-generation storage solution as it meets all the core needs of the market."

According to Norio Shibata, CEO of Fujifilm Recording, the BaFe particle offers superior storage with "lower noise and higher frequency characteristics than other metal particles."

Fujifilm first demonstrated the technology's with IBM tape cartridges in 2006, achieving a density world record at that time as well.

Shibata said the process of reducing the particle to microscopic size is a challenge because it risks reducing the resistance to demagnification of a ferromagnetic material, such as BaFe, which is used to store data.

BaFe particles have a high resistance to demagnification, which makes them superior performance high density recording.

Cindy Grossman, vice president of IBM Tape and Archive Storage Systems, said the advancement shows that "tape storage is alive and strong and will continue to provide users reliable data protection, while maintaining a cost advantage over other storage technologies, including hard disk drives and flash" drives.

Tags fujifilmIBMtape storage

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Lucas Mearian

Computerworld (US)

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