Sony Decimates Data Storage Records With 185TB Cassette Tape

Posted on May 7, 2014 8:12 AM by Tom Roeder

Some of us didn’t even know data was still being backed up to tape, until Sony made headlines this week by shattering the old record of data density on magnetic tape media.  Extreme high density tapes are still in use by corporations and government agencies for archival purposes because they are cheaper, more power efficient and more reliable than storage that is disk based.

The new record that Sony set for tape media is an incredible 18.5GB per square inch – over five times the record set by IBM back in 2010, and 74 times greater than the ordinary tapes that you would find in archival storage applications today.  This means that one single data cassette tape can hold an astonishing 185TB of data.

Sony Cassette Data Tape

Don’t run to your favorite retailer and try to buy this tech for yourself, Sony has yet to commercialize this new technology.  It does seem fascinating in this world of ever advancing technology, that we keep seeing old technology making its way into prime time.

This tape storage is one example, another is researchers using carbon nanotubes for microprocessor technology which operate under the same basic principle as the old glass vacuum tubes that the transistor made all but obsolete.  Researchers claim that these nanotubes will bring microprocessors into the terahertz range, a place we know that silicon can never go.

What do you think, is the best technology just old ideas and designs re-hashed?

  • Kougar

    Huh. Maybe that’s what I need, a tape drive to backup my NAS….

  • Tom Roeder

    I certainly want one…back up all my favorite movies!

  • Rob Williams

    That kind of density is truly mind-blowing. I’d love to know the pricing on these, even the one in the picture.

  • xOptix78

    It’d be great if my company would pick up a truck load of these. We have to back up about two dozen virtual environments, and it seems like every other night I’m importing tapes.

    I wonder if this would fit into my wife’s 1993 Sony Walkman that we found in storage. You could the one. Yellow with the flip clip over the buttons. She was too cool for scool back then.

    • Rob Williams

      Haha. What’s the performance of those tapes you backup from?

      • xOptix78

        Not a clue. There’s a guy who usually handles the backups, but if something comes up, such as the tapes are full, a drive error, etc, we usually go in and poke around.

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