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Obscure startup designs 10,000TB data cartridges out of popular stuff used in restrooms

Obscure startup designs 10,000TB data cartridges out of popular stuff used in restrooms

Looking to store your 16K video footage on something sturdy? Here is a candidate. Cerabyte, a data storage company based in Munich, Germany, has released a extract from a presentation that its CEO and co-founder, Christian Pflaum, will demonstrate at the upcoming 2023 Storage Developer Conference in California.

As its name alludes to, Cerabyte uses a special type of ceramic arranged in layers just 50 atoms thick in sheets up to 300 µm thick. Using a particle or laser beam, they were able to write and read data at GBps rates with media capable of supporting areal densities of TB/cm^2.

By comparison, current hard drives achieve only 0.02 TB/cm^2 while future models, likely to launch towards the end of the decade, will achieve around 0.1 TB/cm^2; Tape, such as that used in LTO cartridges, exceeds 0.006 TB//cm^2 (or 317 Gb/in^2).

The first generation cartridges are expected to launch in 2025 with an initial capacity of 10 PB (or 10,000 TB) rising to 100 PB by the end of the decade. Beyond that, Cerabyte plans to introduce a 1 EB (that billion Gigabyte) CeraTape, which will reportedly come in the form of 5 µm thick tapes coated with a 10 nm thick ceramic coating.

Pflaum claims that data will be accessible in seconds, making it the perfect candidate for cold storage, lifetime cloud storage, and unlimited cloud storage. Read/write speeds remain problematic, however; a 10GB/s transfer rate equates to just 36TB per hour, meaning it will take more than 11 days to fill a single cartridge.

While there is consumer interest in such a product, Cerabyte will primarily sell them to hyperscalers, enterprises, and data center operators with a total addressable market expected to reach $500 billion by 2030, a six-fold increase over the previous year. 2023. promises a TCO reduction of up to 75% thanks to zero idle power consumption and extremely high data volume density.

Ceramic is tough which means it can be used in extreme conditions, think low/high temperatures. We don’t know if it will have a separate drive or if the read/write mechanism and media will be integrated for better performance.

Another unknown is the price, although Cerabyte says its flagship product will be a low-cost solution. LTO-8 tapes cost around $4 per TB, and if Cerabyte matches that, its 10PB archive cartridge should fetch a hefty $40,000—a steal for experts.

(through Blocks and files)

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