back to article Big Bang secrets hidden in hundreds of petabytes of tape

The NCSA Blue Waters petascale supercomputer is getting massive amounts of Spectra Logic tape library storage. It will start with four 17-frame Spectra T-Finity tape libraries for near-line data archive needs in the first year. Two more will be installed the following year. This means a raw capacity of 328PB and read/write …


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  1. Jon Massey

    mp4 == QuickTime ?

    Since when?!

    1. illiad

      Re: mp4 == QuickTime ?

      if you do not trust wiki, how about this??

      "became an international standard in 2000 and included in QuickTime in 2002."


      "MPEG-4 Part 14 is an instance of more general ISO/IEC 14496-12:2004 (MPEG-4 Part 12: ISO base media file format) which is directly based upon QuickTime File Format"

      also try downloading that link!!!! - its saves as 'bw_Jan-Mar_2012s.qt' !!!

      and is only 57 chars long....????

      ___ contents of file ___



      this is a streaming video URL, and I am not a Hacker, who thinks nothing of doing five or six different things!! it dont work, why is is soooo difficult for them to just supply a video file!!!!!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why tape? stuff like this would be really useful if the whole world died and a new civilisation discovered it many thousands of years later, only to find perished magnetic tape?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Why tape? Because printing it out would take far too long.

      What other alternative is there to tape? I'd really like to know, because if you've got a smart suggestion it'll make billions.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Duh

        I just thought we were more advanced than that now, tape just seems archaic

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Duh

          Nah, tape is one of the most advanced and fastest moving areas in data storage.

      2. Nigel 11

        Re: Duh

        328 Pb is 328,000 Terabytes. This is territory where maximizing the surface area of the storage medium is paramount. Tape does just that, by rolling it up.

        One day we may be able to do true 3D solid-state storage. Until then a roll of flexible 2D storage will have to suffice.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I am looking at the picture and I don't see a microwave or even a toaster-oven. How do they make nachos and pizza rolls?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    328PB? 2.2PB/hr?

    Bah, it will be full in less than a week.

    I reckon 2.2PB/hr = 610GB/s, or about the same as 6000 bog-standard hard drives in parallel. Not too shabby!

  5. just_me

    Looking up the drive itself: IBM TS1140..

    It looks like the good old TK50 drive.. and same drive size (double height 5 1/4).

    Spec per drive: 800MBps burst (yea, nice.. what is continuous rate)..

    ah.. native transfer rate 250MBps on the actual data sheet. WORM cartridge?(Write Once Read Many) 600Watts?? (bottom of spec sheet)??

    It does make you wonder. The size of the drive does not take into account size of tape media storage and size of the the jukebox to load and unload tape. Ok.. so compare numbers... lets say against the Iomega Prestige USB 3.0 hard drive 1.5TB available for just over $200 @ frys (and includes hardware encryption - data throughput is at least 200Mbit/sec - interface is 5Gbit. The size is 1/2 of a TK50.. but 1/10th of the IBM TS1140.. and gets power from USB interface-- much less than 600 watts).

    The highest density media for the IBM TS1140 comes in at $406/tape for JY media, $246/tape on JC media (4TB - media).

    To me, it doesn't make sense. I can place 10x1.5TB drives in the space of that tape drive alone. I can also place 2x1.5 TB drives in the space for each tape cartridge. I don't need a jukebox for the hard drives. Power footprint will probably be lower on the hard drives (can power down/spin down modern drives). Massive RAID will easily dwarf the bandwidth and access times available from a tape system. Space footprint for equivalent storage will also be lower with hard drives - don't have the jukeboxes, and the cabling and controllers using hard drives will roughly equal the cabling and controllers needed for the jukeboxes and tape drives.

    Need I also mention, 1 IBM TS1140 has a list price of $42,995? Yes that is about 43 thousand dollars. I haven't even priced in the jukeboxes. Considering that the tape media roughly matches the price of the hard drive of the same capacity... pricewise, spacewise, powerwise, capacitywise, speedwise -- it doesn't make sense.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge


      "Considering that the tape media roughly matches the price of the hard drive of the same capacity... pricewise, spacewise, powerwise, capacitywise, speedwise -- it doesn't make sense."

      It does when you consider the (un)reliability, longevity and fragility of hard drives vs tape and then factor in the labour costs to keep the disk arrays maintained, etc (figure on one failed drive a day in arrays that size, plus 3-4 instances of silent corruption. Tape error correction is a couple of orders stronger than disk ECC.)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    So many space storage...

    could all the pron in the world fit there? :-P

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So many space storage...

      How fucking tedious. I call porn-storage-Godwin. This thread is now closed, which is a shame, as it had potential to be interesting.

  7. illiad

    Huh! :) I have just OPENED it again!! :D

    strangely enough porn is not as popular as facebook and youtube....

  8. illiad

    yep... only 1,640,000,000 cases of porn,

    but a massive 20,770,000,000 cases of facebook... :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I assume that's hits on Google: More Or Less (Radio4) did a good takedown of why citing Google results is pretty much meaningless.

  9. illiad


    c'mon, naysayers!!!!! YOU fid a better *short* way to measure the quantity of something on the internet....

    google rank has similar meaninglessness...

    strawman!!! strawman!!!

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