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 and Society.
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 2014 and 2015. It freed more than 30,000 tape cartridge slots by migrating over 50,000 one-terabyte cartridges onto less than 18,000 five and seven-terabyte ones.
The tape contains 1 Terabyte of LHC data. 600,000 proton-proton collision events at 8 Tev in 30 minutes of data taking. If you are lucky enough, you may even find a Higgs boson event!
These legacy one-terabyte tapes have a length of 917 meters, a thickness of 6.5 micrometres, and used to store physics results, such as Higgs events in some cases.