Sony breaks storage record with 185TB storage tape

6 May 2014

Sony has broken the record for the most amount of storage space on a single cartridge with a magnetic tape technology that has storage capacity of 185TB, the company said.

The technology used to develop the tape has been a joint effort between the Japanese manufacturer and IBM. They managed to store the equivalent of 3,700 Blu-ray discs on every 148-gigabit square inch of the cartridge.

This is more than five times the capacity of the previous record holder and 74 times the capacity of the more commonly used magnetic tapes used by large corporations.

IBM had been involved in setting the previous record with Fujifilm in 2010, with a tape capable of holding 35 terabytes.

According to Sony, this newly developed magnetic tape uses sputter deposition, a type of vacuum thin film forming technology, to generate multiple layers of memory crystals with a uniform orientation on a polymer film with thickness of less than 5 micrometres.

Until now, when the sputter method was used to deposit a thin film of fine magnetic particles on a polymer film, roughness on the surface of the soft magnetic underlayer caused the orientation of the crystals in the underlayer above it to become non-uniform.

Stacks of Blu-ray discs are still popular with a number of technology companies, such as Facebook, for example, which used the discs as the basis for its data storage.

Sony is now looking at how it can make the tape commercially viable, as well as the development of increasingly advanced thin layer deposition technologies based on the sputter method.

Data storage tapes image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic