Home Tech News Magnetic tapes LTO vs SSD vs HDD hard drive: capacity and price

Magnetic tapes LTO vs SSD vs HDD hard drive: capacity and price

by Tejas Dhawan

Magnetic tapes were the first data storage systems for computers. Despite being so old, they have evolved over time, and offer a data density and cost per bit much cheaper than a hard drive or SSD. Currently, the system used is LTO (Linear Tape-Open).

Magnetic tapes are better for storing large amounts of data

Tapes have a faster write and read speed than a hard drive, as data is written and read sequentially. Furthermore, they are more reliable and have fewer read errors than hard drives, with an average lifespan of 30 years.

However, searching for specific data in them becomes more complicated, so the system is better for backups with few accesses, since also after rewriting information in them more than 100 times, it begins to degrade. It is also very sensitive to storage conditions, requiring ideal temperatures and humidity at all times, in addition to constant maintenance.

In the world, there are two companies that are fighting in the segment of magnetic tapes: Sony and Fujifilm. And now Fujifilm has announced that it is working on a tape with 400 TB capacity, or 224 Gbit per square inch.

The units LTO-8 Currently they reach up to 12 TB of uncompressed data, and 30 TB of compressed data. These tapes use barium ferrite, but Fujifilm has found that using strontium ferrite (SrFe), they can multiply the capacity up to 400TB per unit by increasing their density by creating smaller particles with much greater speed. . The 400 TB will be the limit of the strontium ferrite, having to look for new materials from there.

1 cent per GB: the price of the current LTO-8

The standard LTO-13, with up to 384 TBIt should reach speeds of around 3,000 MB / s, taking a little more than a day to fill them with information. The current LTO-8 takes about 9 hours and 16 minutes to fill, with 360 MB / s speed. The price per GB of these units is around 1 cent, so with 10 dollars you have 1 TB, much cheaper than with a hard drive.

This increase in storage capacity will leave hard drives and SSDs behind, where the latter reached 100 TB in 2018 and since then they have stopped growing because it does not make much sense to store so much information in a single unit in terms of cost and reliability. of data.

With this, the tapes are aimed at becoming the first storage medium to reach 1 petabyte per unit. With the increase in capacity, speed is also improving, and for now we will have to wait until 2030 to find tapes of such density. Sony, for its part, showed in 2017 that it would launch a 201 Gbit per square inch unit by 2026.

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