Show Details

High Capacity Tape Storage

May 5, 2015

With demands for data storage growing exponentially, companies keep pace with a 20th century technology.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

r2hox flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

(r2hox/flickr/Creative Commons License CC BY-SA 2.0)

Storing big data on cassette tapes. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

[Nat Sound: tape cassette into machine]

From videocassettes to 8-track cartridges, nothing says “20th Century” like magnetic tape.  So you might be surprised to hear it’s now behind a record-breaking advancement in computer storage. IBM electrical engineer Johan Engelen and his colleagues recently squeezed 220 terabytes of data—nearly half the data stored by the entire US Library of Congress—onto a tape cartridge half the size of a VHS cassette. With the explosion of bank data, hospital records and YouTube vídeos, Engelen says we need all the capacity we can get.

JOHAN ENGELEN (IBM):

The amount of data people create is increasing exponentially. At the moment, we create more data than we can store.

HIRSHON:

And even though the technology is nearly a century old, he says magnetic tape still hasn’t reached its limits. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.