US storage giant Western Electronic now addresses SSD, memory cards, RAM and tricky disk drives and has dipped its toes in DNA data storage (it is a founding member of the DNA Information Storage Alliance).
Now, recently-unearthed patents show up to demonstrate that the organization may perhaps want to (re) increase tape to complete its present-day media portfolio just after the sun-placing of its Arkeia product vary a couple of decades in the past.
The organization was recently assigned a amount of patents mentioning “tape embedded drive” in new many years:
- 11393498 (PDF) (head assembly with suspension technique for a tape embedded generate)
- 20200258544 (PDF) (Tape embedded push)
- 11081132 (PDF) Tape embedded drive with HDD factors
- And a several additional
What this alludes to is the intriguing possibility of acquiring the essential factors of a tape travel merged with the precise tape media in a bid to cut down the inherent environmental and technological complexity of tape libraries as effectively as bettering the entry time by at the very least a person purchase of magnitude.
Getting the study and write heads closer to the media in an enclosed sort element is nothing at all new. Which is what tricky disk drives do and what other individuals, most notably Iomega with its Zip Travel, has tried to do in the previous. Western Digital’s patent suggests adopting a standardized sort aspect, 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch, for less difficult adoption by facts facilities and hyperscalers.
The cost issue
An embedded tape would nonetheless be far more pricey than a standard one (LTO-9 tapes retail for about $130 a pop) due to the fact of the added electronics but you really don’t need to have a tape push to get began. As lengthy as it sits someplace in between tapes ($4 per TB) and business challenging drives ($20 per TB), there will be a substantial market for it.
A normal LTO (Linear Tape-Open up) tape is 102 x 105 x 21mm even though your common 3.5-inch challenging generate is about 147 x 101 x 26mm whilst weighing about a quarter of the pounds. LTO-9 has a compressed capacity of 45TB (18TB uncompressed) with the following generation – likely to come in the 2nd fifty percent of this decade – doubling in capability (clearly, there might be some changes as it was the circumstance likely from Gen 8 to Gen 9).
A sealed LTO-primarily based tape drive would very likely be lighter, less expensive, take in/dissipate considerably less electricity but also have more onboard compute capabilities than your regular hard disk. Thicker and wider tape reels would also allow for significantly bigger capacities (LTO-9 makes use of 1Km of tape with a 5.2µm thickness and 12.65mm width).
Western Digital is uniquely positioned to change this into a workable truth especially as it can use its abilities in tricky travel components. That new tape could, all factors regarded as, use a comparable PCB and interface as an enterprise really hard disk drive it does not require to have the conventional tape look.
Possibly the biggest problem is to acquire this novel technique to tape to the LTO consortium, an business that oversees the enhancement of LTO and contains IBM, HPE and Quantum, all of whom may well have various professional strategies that have to have getting an costly drive and low cost tapes.