Researchers from IBM and Fujifilm have teamed up to release a tape prototype. The new tape is said to have the capacity of 580TB or 0.58PB. That capacity is equivalent to almost six of the biggest SSDs in the world like the Nimbus Data 100TB, or 29 Seagate Exos+ 20TB hard disk drives.

It is also worth noting that the 580TB is more than 32x the current LTO-9 tape technology due to a record breaking areal density of 317Gbits per square inch.

580TB tapes has more capacity

Researchers from Fujifilm used Strontium Ferrite or SrFe particles and numerous other techniques to boost the capacity of the 580TB. These materials include longer tape lengths and thinner tapes, according to PCMag.

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This is regarded as a research milestone but it has no commercial launch date set yet. A spokesperson for IBM had confirmed that there is a standardized roadmap that has to be followed and that will put the tapes on the market in a little less than a decade. This is the driver of the demonstration for 580TB, it is in order to show enterprises that tape can be used for decades while hard disk drives have reached its final stop.

Hard drives might see the end

Since Fujifilm is a founding member of the Linear Tape Open foundation or LTO, it is inevitable that the current technology will find its way into LTO tape in the near future. The current LTO-9 is expected to hit 18TB with Gen 10, 11 and 12 hitting up to 144TB native. At 560TB, the prototype tape could be the percursor of a Gen 14, a theoretical one that is likely to be introduced after 2030.

Meanwhile, hard disk drive manufacturers are aware of the challenge that is facing the industry, but unfortunately are left with few options, according to Blocks & Files.

A 18TB disk has an areal density of more than 1TB per square inch. That is around 85 more than an LTO-9 tape. In other words, to be able to match the capacity of a 560TB tape, hard disk platters must reach 85TB per square inch, and this is not possible.

There are also major inroads that are made by Toshiba, Samsung and Intel that are doing their part to lower the total cost of ownership for SSD to match that of HDD.

The year 2021 is when 5-bit-per-cell flash or PLC flash are expected to become mainstream and this could have a massive effect on capacity mix. It could also push hard disk drives further into a wall.

Best hard drives right now

Before the 580TB gets introduced on the market, you can still get the best hard drives for your needs. You can get the Silicon Power 2TB, Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC, Western Digital My Passport Ultra 4TB, Samsung T5 SSD, Adata SD700 and so much more.

Although portable SSD drives and secured drivers are better at protecting files and are more sturdy, they don't come cheap. Which is why these hard drives are better if you wish to expand your storage space without going way over your budget. These are great backup solutions for personal use and business use.

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Written by Sieeka Khan

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