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INSIC’s 2012-2022 International Magnetic Tape Storage Roadmap has now been Updated

INSIC’S new International Magnetic Tape Storage Roadmap presents a ten-year outlook for the future applications for information storage that may be handled by advanced magnetic tape storage systems, along with an in-depth analysis of the technologies that will be required to make those systems possible through 2022.  It is an update to the International Magnetic Tape Storage Roadmap produced by the Information Storage Industry Consortium four years ago, and represents INSIC’s 6th magnetic tape storage roadmap, with previous studies having been published in September 2008, April 2005, February 2002, June 1998 and September 1994, the earliest three of these roadmaps having been published as the National Storage Industry Consortium (NSIC).  The view contained here of technology advances projected for future tape drives and media is a remarkable testament to the successful longevity of the oldest computer storage technology still in use today, having now reached its 60th anniversary.

This document represents the collective work of 75 participating experts, from industry and academia alike, representing 25 organizations worldwide.  The Applications and Systems section of this study was formulated by a team of nine industry representatives, under the leadership of Barry Schechtman (INSIC), and using additional inputs from leading industry analysts.  The Applications and Systems team has produced an insightful outlook for storage applications for tape systems, which was initially published by INSIC in November 2011, and has been only slightly updated for integration into this comprehensive 2012-2022 Roadmap document.  The Technology section of this report is based largely on the findings of the International Magnetic Tape Storage Technology Roadmap Workshop, which was held by INSIC on August 24-25, 2011, in Broomfield, Colorado, and which involved 50 attendees from 21 companies and universities.  Four technology teams were coordinated by Robert Raymond (Oracle), and covered the outlook for transport mechanisms, media, heads and channel electronics; these technology teams were led, respectively, by Paul Poorman (Hewlett-Packard), Larry Olson (Imation), Larry Neumann (Quantum) and Evangelos Eleftheriou (IBM).  In addition, Bob Biskeborn (IBM) made a major leadership contribution to the section on Tape Head Technology that appears in the document by volunteering to consolidate the results of the discussion for that team and by serving as the primary author for that section.

INSIC gratefully acknowledges the leadership contributions of all of these individuals, without whom this document would not have been possible, as well as the contributions of all of the roadmap study participants, whose names appear in the “List of Roadmap Participants” shown in the document itself.  We believe that, thanks to the contributions of these experts, the report is balanced and credible, and that it delivers an optimistic outlook for tape storage going forward – or, as one speaker at the Technology Roadmap Workshop succinctly put it: “The future for tape is brighter than it’s been for a long time.”  However, we also believe that this optimistic outlook will be fulfilled only if the tape storage industry continues to invest collaboratively in research and advanced development to provide the future technologies that are needed.

We hope you find INSIC’s 2012-2022 International Magnetic Tape Storage Roadmap to be both enlightening and worthwhile.


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