Sony Corporation (TYO:6758) (NYSE:SNE) has launched a new storage tape that could save up to 185 terabytes (TB) of data per cartridge. Working in collaboration with International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), Sony has built tapes that can hold the data equivalent of 3,700 Blu-ray discs.

Sony Corporation

Sony breaks previous record

The tape smashes the previous record set in 2010 by storing more than five times that number, as it can hold as much as 148 gigabytes per square inch. Generally, large businesses use storage tapes to store huge amounts of data for a long time. According to research firm IDC, by 2020, global data storage will total 40 trillion gigabytes, which is around 5,200 gigabytes per person.

Sony Corporation (TYO:6758) (NYSE:SNE) succeeded in increasing the storage capacity of the tape by utilizing a “nano-grained magnetic layer” that consists of tiny nano-particles giving greater density. The technology debuted at Intermag Europe 2014, an international magnetic conference held in Dresden, Germany.

In a statement, Sony Corporation (TYO:6758) (NYSE:SNE) said that accessing data systems, such as databases and data servers, in the wake of natural disasters, has become more important, along with ensuring secure management of information. This is the reason companies are trying to build new data systems.

“In addition, the expansion of cloud services and the creation of new markets to utilize big data have led to a growing need for a data storage media which can store large amounts of information.”

Tapes more economical than drives

Storing data in tapes is more economical compared to power-consuming large data centers with a lot of hard drives. But repossessing the data in the tape is difficult and a slower process because tapes only offer sequential access. This means that the data can only be extracted in the order it was saved to the tape. The tape must be moved to the right position for the data to be accessed.

On the other hand, in hard disk drives, data can be accessed randomly, which is easier for day-to-day computer use. For long-term data saving, tape is more reliable than hard drives.

Sony Corporation (TYO:6758) (NYSE:SNE) is also reportedly developing more consumer-friendly storage. In March, the Japanese company announced that it is collaborating with Panasonic on an archival disc which can hold 1TB of data, the equivalent of 250 DVD films.