Even with an SSD, no matter how large, you will eventually reach the capacity limits – not to mention the costs. A new coating should now give magnetic tapes a huge capacity.
SSD hard drives – the abbreviation stands for Solid State Drive – work faster, are pleasantly quieter than HDD data carriers, and have a longer service life and lower power consumption. The maximum storage capacity of SSDs is currently around 100 terabytes.
But it has its price: interested parties have to shell out more than 30,000 euros for it. A cheaper alternative is said to be magnetic tapes, which promise future capacities of more than 1,000 terabytes thanks to the use of new coating material.
Linear Tape Open (LTO) first came onto the market in 2000 with a capacity of 200 gigabytes. The three manufacturers Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), IBM, and Quantum have now released the 9th generation of magnetic tapes, which hold up to 18 terabytes of uncompressed data, and up to 45 terabytes compressed. Typically, companies use LTO for the sustainable, secure storage of sensitive data and backups.
In the future, the manufacturer trio wants to enable storage capacities that make the current values look old: according to the recently published roadmap the 14th generation, which is expected to appear in 2033/34, could hold an incredible 1,440 terabytes or 1.4 petabytes. In order to achieve this, the magnetic tapes should be coated with strontium ferrite (SrFe). So far, barium ferrite (BaFe) has been used.
A magnetic tape prototype developed by Fujifilm and an IBM drive has already delivered promising results so the coating change from LTO13 is considered a sure thing.