Data storage tape promises 120 TB of capacity

Hard drives keep on offering more and more capacity on a monthly basis and that’s a well-known fact – just take a look at the just announced 10 TB hard drive – but there seems to be another solution that will offer the phenomenal 120 TB of capacity per cartridge – and that is data storage tape! Yes, tape was used decades ago but it may come back to us for good with more features and capacity than ever.

The technology is backed and developed by HP, IBM and Quantum so there’s definitely a future for tape. Things are not as rosy as they might seem, though – first the trio will need some more time to achieve such a product as it currently sits on a roadmap only and the 120 TB cartridge follows a generation that will offer 62.5 TB of capacity at first. In addition there’s a slight catch – the 120 TB capacity will be for compressed data only; the regular capacity will be 48 TB.

Of course 48 TB is not as much as 120 TB but even then this is a great capacity, given that the most spacious hard drives can house just 10 TB of data and will become a mass product a few years from now. The new tape will become commercially available at the end of the decade and will offer 2.75 Gbps of data transfer rate compared to the current 400 Mbps delivered by cartridges with up to 6.25 TB of capacity.

We think the wait will be worth it.