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View Full Version : Cassettes are the future of big data storage!!!



generic486
October 29th, 2012, 01:09 PM
I found this very interesting.
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21628875.500-cassette-tapes-are-the-future-of-big-data-storage.html
Well, I thought that was quite interesting. I still don't think cassettes will have a consumer presence because generally cassette (except C64 and a few other 80's micro computers) and other data storage tapes like DAT and LTO never really got the personal user pricing and need for that much space right. I think Travan was one of the few marketed at home users.
Makes me wonder how much presently we can store on a 9 track tape implementing this new ultra dense method or how much now could be stored on a 5.25 floppy disk.

Ole Juul
October 29th, 2012, 01:27 PM
It seems that tape is both the past and the future. There's been a lot of talk lately because of IBMs recent introduction of 35TB tapes and their announcement of 125TB to follow. Apparently they take a long time to write, but can be accessed in a matter of seconds.

BTW, that "New Scientist" article is funny. They have a picture which they basically describe as "this is not it". I guess "science" isn't what it used to be. I know, they were trying to be funny, only they just ended up being uninformative. :(

RickNel
October 29th, 2012, 01:39 PM
Me too. Even home-office experience tells us that there is a big difference between the requirements for real-time online data and offline reference or backup data. I still find DV cassettes a far more efficient long-term storage for raw video files than hard disks, DVDs or SD cards.

The massive astronomical data to be collected by the Square Kilometre Array project is already about 4 billion years old, so a few minutes extra to locate and load a tranche for analysis would hardly be significant.

One downside for tape is the more complex mechanics for handling the medium, and the fragility of the medium itself. Historically, lack of enduring standards has been a curse that leaves mountains of orphaned data tapes with no working machines to read them. Anyone can read papyrus scrolls from 5000 years ago, but not tapes from 20 yrs ago.

Rick

GottaLottaStuff
October 29th, 2012, 03:07 PM
My problem with tape drives back in the day was the capacity listed on them. They were advertised at twice what they actually held, the theory being that the software would compress your files at least 50%. Didn't happen. I can still remember the outrage at paying an enormous price for a 40MB tape to back up a 30MB hard drive and having the thing fill up at 21MB. :( I'm sure I wasn't alone on that one. :)

Ole Juul
October 29th, 2012, 03:47 PM
One downside for tape is the more complex mechanics for handling the medium, and the fragility of the medium itself. Historically, lack of enduring standards has been a curse that leaves mountains of orphaned data tapes with no working machines to read them. Anyone can read papyrus scrolls from 5000 years ago, but not tapes from 20 yrs ago.

As I understand it, hard drive technology is cheaper to start with, but doesn't scale well economically. That is why tape is still king for large data sets.

One of the big draws of tape is the reliability. As for enduring standards, I agree that paper and to some extent papyrus, has the best proven track record of physical endurance, but the protocols for encoding may still be lost and difficult to reconstruct. Tape from 20 years ago should not be a problem unless someone is stranded in some remote place to where there is no delivery. Twenty years is a very short time in the world of technology. I don't think there really is a mountain of orphaned tapes anywhere.

PS: I notice the Indian Government is just converting 110,000 60 gigabyte tapes to a newer tape format. These are government records from only 1995, so yes, I guess it does take a bit of effort to keep these things going. Eleven petabytes of data would have been one very tall stack of paper in someone's in-basket!

commodorejohn
October 29th, 2012, 04:35 PM
As for enduring standards, I agree that paper and to some extent papyrus, has the best proven track record of physical endurance,
Sheepskin would like a word with you. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vellum)