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IBM Sets World Record With Mag Tape

5/19/2014 07:20 PM EDT
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Re: typos and lack of context
R_Colin_Johnson   5/22/2014 1:35:59 PM
IBM sent me a few clarifications: the tape technology that it announced was a technology demonstration using a prototype tape which was tested under realistic conditions. The areal density gain mainly came from the much higher track density, the track width in the demo is 177nm as compared to 4750nm in LTO6, resulting in a 27-fold increase in track density. In terms of capacity, a 48% increase in tape length was also a part of the capacity increase--enabled by a thinner Aramid tape substrate. The new format will be backward-compatibe since the narrower data readers are sensitive enough to read previous tape generations.  A breakdown to individual benefits per improvement is not meaningful since simultaneous improvements in multiple areas are required to achieve this areal density. For instance, improved servo capabilities and narrow data readers enable higher track density, while at the same time improvements on the media, the read head technology, the data detection, and decoding are necessary to reliably read the data from narrow tracks with narrow readers. Moreover, smaller magnetic particles enabling smaller bit cells require magnetically harder tape material to ensure thermal stability, and in turn a write head technology that produces a larger magnetic field to write the tape medium.

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Re: typos and lack of context
R_Colin_Johnson   5/21/2014 2:43:32 PM
Thanks for finding those typos, I've changed "high saturation" to "higher saturation" and "storage" to "storage density" as you suggest. Regarding its unnamed customer, this claim sounds firm since IBM says in a statement that "AlphaTV, a leading television network in Greece, was able to shrink its video archive from 1,507 to just 388 square feet," a comparison is between video tape and LTO5. I'm checking on your other queries regarding track density, backward compatibility and benefits from each improvement. Thanks again for your careful reading. We always appreciate feedback. 

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typos and lack of context
markhahn0   5/21/2014 11:53:42 AM
some editing problems in this article.  the first few paragraphs need to be turned into subjunctive, since, for instance, the capacity of "standard" LTO has not yet been increased by this technology.  I'm guessing that since this is a lab demo, the unnamed IBM customer has not already had an increase in storage (should be *density* no?

also, "with a much high saturation" is missing a couple of letters, no?

it would have been nice to see a little research and analysis in this article - for instance, the linear recording density appears to be about 50% higher than LTO6, so most of the gain is from much higher track density.  does it fit in the LTO promise of back-compatibility do make this kind of shift to completely new heads, servo, tape-path and physical media?  it would be interesting to know how much benefit comes from each improvement...


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