Sony makes 185TB cassette tape: here’s why

May 5, 2014
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Sony makes 185TB cassette tape: here’s why

The people behind the 185TB tape aren’t creating the technology necessary for its existence so they can make the world’s longest mix-tape. Instead it’s far closer to a proof-of-concept than it is to something you’ll see on your record store’s shelves. Sony might not even turn this technology into a product that’ll see the light of day.

You’ll find the magnetic tape Sony has created this month to be able to hold 148GB per inch. Rolled up into standard rolls on what you’d recognize as a standard cassette tape, that brings this beast up to 185TB of storage.

As recent as the year 2010 - later demoed in 2012, IBM and FujiFilm created the 35TB tape. That’s 29.5 billion bits per square inch - they aimed to create and market the tape for data centers. Not for your everyday average consumer.

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As of April 30, 2014, Sony’s solution brings about the new world’s highest areal recording density for tape storage media - 148 Gb/in2 (gigabits per square inch). That’s far and away the most dense said media has ever gotten, bringing on 74 times the capacity of what Sony describes as "current mainstream coated magnetic tape storage media."

What about robustness? What happens if you take a scissors to this tape? It becomes cut. The same can be said about the Blu-ray and a hammer - and Facebook recently decided they’d be using the disk to archive older data.

Ruggedness is simply not part of the equation - only the media’s ability to last long sitting on a shelf. And Sony doesn’t seem to have tested said shelf-life as of yet.


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