Sony Corp. has developed a new type of magnetic tape that can record 20 times more data than was previously thought possible — a technology that could be useful as the spread of cloud computing and artificial intelligence demand higher data storage capacities and a dependable way to preserve data.
The technology, developed in collaboration with IBM Research’s Zurich laboratory, can store approximately 330 terabytes — roughly equal to the capacity needed to store 80,000 movies — per cartridge, compared with 15 terabytes for conventional magnetic tapes.
Sony is looking to commercialize the technology soon but has not announced when it will do so.
Magnetic tape, once common in households in the form of videotape and audio tape, have seen a resurgence in recent years as a low-cost and low-energy data storage alternative for long periods.
Sony’s new tapes use a special lubricant that allows them to travel smoothly across the metal head that reads and writes the data, a feature key to achieving high capacity. IBM Research developed the head, servo control technology and signal-processing algorithms.