Tape could replace hard drives – in some cases – thanks to this breakthrough
Fujitsu has announced a new technology called Virtual Integrated File System that it says could help magnetic tape storage compete with hard disk drives as a low-cost, large capacity storage alternative.
With the feud between Sony and Fujitsu around LTO resolved late last year, all eyes are now on LTO-9, which is expected to be delivered in 2020. This iteration will deliver capacities up to 26.1TB (uncompressed) and raw throughput of up to 708MB/sec.
That’s a higher capacity than the largest hard drive on the market (currently 20TB) – also faster and likely cheaper too. Add in on-the-fly compression capabilities and, suddenly, it's all looking rosy for the venerable tape.
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Hacking the file system
Fujitsu's Virtual Integrated File System (VIFS) allows “multiple tape cartridges to be consolidated into one”, which means users can access data without worrying about individual tape cartridges.
It sounds a little like RAID but for tapes, which means that you'll likely need multiple tape drives or a tape library. This limits the product to enterprise and large businesses, where storage demands are usually measured in Petabytes and Exabytes.
The Japanese company claims to have improved the read speeds by more than fourfold in one trial run, while another test yielded a speed improvement of nearly 2X.
“This technology enables high-speed tape access performance, such as random reads and writes of various sizes occurring in archive applications, and is expected to provide a cost-effective data archiving infrastructure for long-term archiving of large volumes of data," Fujitsu added.
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