Did you know...?
If you found this page, you may have received a CERN LHC Data Tape from CERN shop thanks to your donation to CERN & Society Foundation.
We thank you for your special gesture! You made a concrete difference for young talents all over the world.
Did you know that:
- CERN manages the largest archive of scientific data in the high-energy physics domain and that it is constantly increasing?
- the energy consumption of tape storage is negligible compared to disk technology consumption?
- the tapes are between one to three orders of magnitude more reliable than the most reliable disk drives?
For all these reasons and many more, CERN is using magnetic tapes for long-term data preservation.
This technology is constantly evolving and tape density is increasing on a steady basis. CERN replaces obsolete tape cartridges when it is commercially viable to migrate the data to new generation tapes that can store more data within the same plastic enclosure.
On a regular basis, every three or four years, the archived data is hence migrated from legacy cartridges and formats to higher density ones. This time-consuming process enables CERN to eliminate the need to purchase new tape libraries, keeping our data centre footprint similar despite significant increase in the data rate.
Migrating archived data (successfully) also ensures the data is still readable and therefore contributes to data preservation for future generations.
The last migration took place during 2019. It freed many tape cartridge slots by migrating data stored on 8.5-terabyte cartridges onto 20-terabyte ones.
The tape contains 8.5 Terabytes of LHC data. Five million proton-proton collision events at 13 TeV in about 30 minutes of data taking. If you are lucky enough, you may even find a Higgs boson event!
These legacy 8.5-terabyte tapes have a length of 1147 meters, a thickness of 5.2 micrometres, and used to store physics results, such as Higgs events in some cases.