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The Big Data Would Be Stored On Cassettes, Not Fusion Drives

Question asked by Kaustubh Katdare in #Big Data on Oct 25, 2012
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare · Oct 25, 2012
Rank A1 - PRO
Remember the Square Kilometer Array aka SKA? We wrote about SKA - biggest telescope ever being built in Australia and South Africa. The telescope would enable the space researchers to see 10 times farther than the current most powerful radio telescope in the world and it will be 10,000 times more powerful. The $2 billion SKA project aims to setup an array of about 3000 satellite dish antennas and is being developed by a collaboration of 20 countries. Scientists hope to find the answers they've been looking for decades with this new radio telescope including deeper information about dark matter, dark energy, nature and gravitational force of the black holes etc. SKA construction is expected to complete in 2024.

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<h2>SKA Will Produce Big Data!</h2>
It's no wonder that the SKA will generate enormous amounts of data on daily basis. The researchers will need most modern storage systems and computing technology to store, analyse and make sense of the information collected by this ultra-big telescope. Engineers at IBM Zurich and FUJIFILM have taken up the challenge to develop the next generation of storage systems and have found their solution in the tape drives (cassettes). The companies have developed ultra-dense magnetic tapes coated with particles of barium ferrite (BaFe, BaFe<sub>2</sub>O<sub>4</sub>). After a few years of research on these storage systems, the prototype developed by the engineers can store 35 Terabytes (10<sup>12</sup> bytes) of data on a cartridge that measures 10cm X 10cm X 2cm. That would roughly transfer to about 35 million books stored in a single cassette. We're impressed!

FUJIFILM's research on the nano-cubic technology was extensively used in development of these magnetic tapes with nanometer-scale ultra-thin coatings. The technology has enabled development of data storage systems with very low noise and excellent storage characteristics. The use of Barium Ferrite (BaFe) enables reducing the cost of production by eliminating "metal sputtering" or evaporation coating methods. The main limitation seems to be the speed of accessing the data stored on these drives. The tape drives are slower than the HDDs but IBM's engineers seem to have began work to address the issue, hoping that the read speeds will be comparable to that of the regular disk drives.

The work done by IBM and FUJIFILM won't make it to the consumer products just yet because the technology is yet to mature. We'd expect the technology to first make its presence in the data centers because the tape drives consume a lot lesser energy than the typical disk drives - because they need power only when data is being written or retrieved.

Recommended Read: How Fusion Drives Work?

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Via: New Scientist Posted in: #Big Data

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