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I can’t believe this huge storage company wants to mix tape and hard drive technology - Mobilemall

I can’t believe this huge storage company wants to mix tape and hard drive technology

I can’t believe this huge storage company wants to mix tape and hard drive technology

US storage big Western Digital already covers SSD, reminiscence playing cards, RAM and laborious disk drives and has dipped its toes in DNA information storage (it’s a founding member of the DNA Knowledge Storage Alliance). 

Now, newly-unearthed patents seem to point out that the corporate could need to (re) add tape to finish its present media portfolio after the sun-setting of its Arkeia product vary a couple of years in the past. 

The corporate was just lately assigned plenty of patents mentioning “tape embedded drive” in recent times:

  • 11393498 (PDF) (head meeting with suspension system for a tape embedded drive) 
  • 20200258544 (PDF) (Tape embedded drive) 
  • 11081132 (PDF) Tape embedded drive with HDD parts
  • And some extra

What this alludes to is the intriguing chance of getting the essential parts of a tape drive merged with the precise tape media in a bid to scale back the inherent environmental and technological complexity of tape libraries in addition to enhancing the entry time by not less than one order of magnitude.

Having the learn and write heads nearer to the media in an enclosed type issue is nothing new. That’s what laborious disk drives do and what others, most notably Iomega with its Zip Drive, has tried to do prior to now. Western Digital’s patent suggests adopting a standardized type issue, 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch, for simpler adoption by information facilities and hyperscalers.

The associated fee issue

An embedded tape would nonetheless be costlier than a traditional one (LTO-9 tapes retail for about $130 a pop) due to the additional electronics however you don’t want a tape drive to get began. So long as it sits someplace between tapes ($four per TB) and enterprise laborious drives ($20 per TB), there will probably be a big marketplace for it.

A typical LTO (Linear Tape-Open) tape is 102 x 105 x 21mm whereas your common 3.5-inch laborious drive is about 147 x 101 x 26mm whereas weighing a couple of quarter of the burden. LTO-9 has a compressed capability of 45TB (18TB uncompressed) with the subsequent era – more likely to come within the second half of this decade – doubling in capability (clearly, there could be some changes because it was the case going from Gen eight to Gen 9).

A sealed LTO-based tape drive would seemingly be lighter, cheaper, devour/dissipate much less energy but additionally have extra onboard compute capabilities than your normal laborious disk. Thicker and wider tape reels would additionally enable far larger capacities (LTO-9 makes use of 1Km of tape with a 5.2µm thickness and 12.65mm width). 

Western Digital is uniquely positioned to transform this right into a workable actuality particularly as it could use its experience in laborious drive parts. That new tape might, all issues thought-about, use an analogous PCB and interface as an enterprise laborious disk drive; it doesn’t must have the standard tape look.

Maybe the most important problem is to take this novel strategy to tape to the LTO consortium, a company that oversees the event of LTO and contains IBM, HPE and Quantum, all of whom could have totally different business methods that require having an costly drive and low-cost tapes. 


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