It depends on the tape. Sony, on the 2nd of August, announced that working in conjunction with IBM, they have a new massive record. They said that they had created
a magnetic tape storage technology with the industry’s highest*1 recording areal density for tape storage media, at 201 Gb/in2 (gigabits per square inch). This achievement was made possible by bringing together Sony’s new magnetic tape technology employing lubricant with IBM Research — Zurich’s newly developed write/read heads, advanced servo control technologies and innovative signal-processing algorithms. The recording areal density of 201 Gb/in2is approximately 20x greater than conventional*2 magnetic tape storage media (9.6 Gb/in2). The resulting technology can support high-capacity storage of approximately 330 terabytes (TB)*3 per data cartridge, whereas conventional technology can only handle 15 TB per data cartridge.
330 TB of data is a lot of data. Given that an average piece of music on mp3 format occupies 6 MB, that is a whole bunch of music that you can store on this disk.
Why do you need so much storage ?
In recent years, developments in the Internet of Things, the popularization of cloud services, and the leveraging of big data have helped to create new markets, resulting in increased demand for high-capacity data storage media. Moreover, the importance of data storage is being reaffirmed in terms of ensuring reliable recovery of data in information systems such as databases and servers, as well as safe management of information. It is against this background that magnetic tape shows great potential as a storage media thanks to its various strengths, including its capacity for storing data over long periods of time, low power consumption, low cost, and space saving capabilities.
As engineers, these are exciting times with the number of things that need to be not just be created, but made better, faster, and smaller.