The backup routine at the office is pretty simple: insert tape, invoke command, walk away. Each tape holds 800 GB — 1.6 TB with nominal 2:1 compression — so we’re not worried about running out of space just yet. Then again, I was here when we were lucky to have 100-megabyte tapes. (For my personal use, I had one of those ancient Colorado drives that hooked up to the floppy controller and used QIC-40 tapes.)
And of course, eventually we will run out of space, and we’ll have to look into something bigger:
Researchers at Fuji Film in Japan and IBM in Zurich, Switzerland, have already built prototypes that can store 35 terabytes of data — or about 35 million books’ worth of information — on a cartridge that measures just 10 centimetres by 10 cm by 2 cm. This is achieved using magnetic tape coated in particles of barium ferrite.
This cartridge is almost exactly the same physical size as the ones we’re using; it just happens to hold 40 times as much data.