Research projects @ Zurich


Secondary storage (or "storage" for short) is an indispensable constituent of any computer system, from the smallest mobile PC all the way up to the biggest server system. Its purpose is to keep system and user data and programs safely, even when the computer is powered down. For several decades, hard disks have been the secondary storage devices of choice and will continue to play that role in the foreseeable future, even though in certain segments alternative non-volatile storage technologies such as flash memory are becoming serious competitors from a cost/performance point of view.

Enterprises depend critically on the 24/7 availability and security of their critical business data. This dictates ultrahigh availability and reliability of redundant storage systems backed up by a powerful, highly reliable third storage hierarchy level ("tertiary storage"), which in most of today's commercial installations continues to be in the form of a tape library. It also requires state-of-the-art security technology and management to protect critical data from unauthorized access, loss, corruption, and other damages.

IBM Research – Zurich has played a pioneering role in the introduction of innovative digital signal processing and coding techniques into hard disk drives, based on partial response shaping, maximum likelihood sequence and noise-predictive detection. These advances were instrumental to the dramatic increases of the storage density and data rates of hard disk drives throughout the past decades.

Today, IBM Research – Zurich's storage research focuses on the integrity, reliability, and security of data stored across the entire storage hierarchy, on technologies that are critical to sustain the storage density and performance growth of tape systems, and on research to explore the potential of novel technologies such as solid-state storage, probe storage, and phase-change memory.