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Magnetic Tape Data Storage Technology

The History of Data Storage Technology – Part 2

Data Storage Technology (1928)


Magnetic tape data storage was first used to record computer data in 1951 on the  Eckert-Mauchly UNIVAC 1, which was the second commercial computer made in the US. By the 70s and on into the 80s many home computers made use of compact cassettes for data storage.

However, the history of magnetic data storage technology goes back even further.

In 1928 Fritz Pfleumer invented magnetic tape in order to record sound. In the 1930s, AEG, the German electronics company, who made recording machines and BASF who produced the tape, further improved magnetic tape.

Magnetic tape capacity has increased steadily over the years.

  • The Remington Rand manufactured tape used in 1951 by the UNIVAC 1 computer had a capacity of 224 KB.
  • By 1972 the 3M manufactured QIC 11 had a capacity of 20 MB
  • In 1984 IBM introduced the 200 MB 3480
  • 1996 saw HP introduce the 12 GB DDS3
  • The Exabyte Mammoth 2 in 1999 weighed in at 60 GB
  • A year later Quantum released the Super DLT at 110 GB
  • Not to be outdone Sony released the 500 GB SAIT 1 tape cartridge in 2003
  • In 2011 Fujifilm and IBM developed an experimental tape drive with a capacity of 35 TB (terabytes).

As can be seen from the above, magnetic tape data storage capacities continue to grow and unlike other storage mediums have yet to reach their capacity ceilings. We will likely see this form of data storage for many years to come and so it remains an important storage option.


Magnetic tape data storage and Iron Mountain

Through Vault IT, Iron Mountain is able to handle all your company’s magnetic tape drive storage, backup, and repair needs. To find out more about these services contact us today.


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Image Credit: “Dds tape drive 01” by Photograph: Robert Jacek Tomczak – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dds_tape_drive_01.jpg#/media/File:Dds_tape_drive_01.jpg




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