Leaps in storage capability are fairly frequent lately. Nevertheless, the largest soar in archival media storage received’t come from spinning disks or strong state drives—Fujifilm is at present engaged on cramming an unimaginable 400TB price of of capability onto a single magnetic tape drive.
Tape storage may appear antiquated, but it surely’s nonetheless the popular media for long-term archival storage within the enterprise area. Whereas it could be sluggish—incredibly slow, in fact—it’s completely wonderful for storing years price of pictures or video footage that you could be by no means entry once more, however don’t need to throw away.
Solely two corporations nonetheless make tape media, Fujifilm and Sony, and in response to a report by Blocks & Files the previous is actively creating a brand new expertise that may enable it to cram a whopping 400TB onto a single storage drive. That makes the present 15TB “world’s largest onerous drive” sound like a thumb drive from 2004.
The primary sort of magnetic tape storage in use immediately is named Linear Tape-Open, or LTO, and the present technology (LTO-8) maxes out 12TB of uncooked capability. LTO-9, maxing out at 24TB per cartridge, is anticipated to hit retail this yr.
As Blocks & Recordsdata explains in their exclusive report, present LTO codecs all use magnetic tapes coated in Barium Ferrite (BaFe), however Fuji is proposing utilizing Strontium Ferrite (SrFe) as an alternative. As a result of SrFe is a smaller molecule with “superior properties” to BaFe, this may enable for greater density storage on the identical quantity of tape.
Particularly, Fuji believes that SrFe-based LTO cartridges will have the ability to obtain roughly 224Gbit of storage for each square-inch of tape, permitting for the aforementioned 400TB in most capability earlier than they’ve to maneuver on to a different ingredient.
Sadly, it’ll be some time till we really see a drive like this in motion. Every successive LTO technology usually doubles in dimension and takes about 2.5 years to materialize, so we don’t count on to see something close to 400TB till LTO-13, which AnandTech estimates will solely hit retail within the yr 2030. However that is excellent news all the identical.
Whereas most photographers aren’t dashing out to purchase LTO cassettes and modern tape drives for house use in 2020, these anticipated leaps in archival storage capability are thought to be critical to the continued progress of safe long-term storage options, simply as stills and video recordsdata continues to get greater and greater.
Whether or not you’re capturing 1000’s of 100MP medium format RAW recordsdata, otherwise you’re all in favour of dabbling in some 8K RAW video with the upcoming Canon EOS R5, this technological leap might assist guarantee you might have a spot to retailer all of that footage when the time involves again it up.
Picture credit: Header photograph by Jon Hewitt, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.