Skip to comments.Researchers Develop 1TB - 2TB Optical Discs.
Posted on 10/16/2012 12:27:46 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
Folio Photonics Develops High-Capacity Optical Discs
A Case Western Reserve University physics professor and his graduate student have launched a company aimed at making an optical disc that holds 1TB to 2TB of data. The technology would provide small- and medium-sized businesses an alternative to storing data on magnetic discs or cumbersome magnetic tapes.
A disc will be on the capacity scale of magnetic tapes used for archival data storage. But, they will be substantially cheaper and have one advantage: you can access data faster. You just pop the disc in your computer and you can find the data in seconds. Tapes can take minutes to wind through to locate particular data, said Kenneth Singer, the Ambrose Swasey professor of physics, and co-founder of Folio Photonics.
To load what is the equivalent of 50 commercially available Blu-ray discs on a single, same-size disc, the scientists use similar optical data storage technology. But, instead of packing more data on the surface, they write data in dozens of layers; not the two or four layers used in Blu-rays. Using technology first developed by the center for layered polymeric systems at Case School of Engineering, the developers designed an optical film with 64 data layers.
A thick, putty-like flow of polymers is repeatedly divided and stacked, then spread into a film and rolled onto a spool. They estimate they can make a square kilometer of film in an hour. To make the final product, the researchers cut and paste film onto the same hard plastic base DVDs and Blu-rays are built on.
The engineers said that they need to make only slight adjustments to a standard disc reader to enable it to probe and read the data on each layer without interference from layers above or below.
Kenneth Singer and his partner Mr. Valle founded Folio Photonics last week, after interviewing 150 potential customers, partners and suppliers, and underwent days and evenings of business and commercialization training. The Case Western Reserve scientists are not the only ones pursuing terabyte-storage discs.
"Other companies are looking into a holographic technology, which requires two lasers to write the data and will require a whole new writer/reader. Ours has the advantage of lower manufacturing costs and is more compatible with current readers and writers, said Mr. Singer.
Folio Photonics will be based in the Cleveland area. Singer and Valle hope to have prototype discs and readers to show within a year.
Yes, but the write speed is going to have to be at least 1GB/second for this to be a viable backup technology. Otherwise, it’s going to take a week to burn one disc. :)
Excellent... no more parity files for backups across multiple Ultrium tapes!
I can finally backup my 5 TB NAS to a handful of disks instead of expensive eSATA solutions.
Read/write operations will still be significantly faster than from magtapes, though.
So they made 1 TB discs that aren’t holographic?
It will be at least a decade before the prices of these disks become affordable. DVD - DLs are stil $0.75 each. Blue-Ray disks are still at least $1 per disk. Regular DVD disks are something like $0.20 each or less.
Millenniata announces the M-Disk, a new breed of DVD designed to last thousands of years.
by Dong Ngo August 15, 2011 11:20 AM PDT
You were born in a great family, had a fun childhood. Then you grew up, went to school, spent an exhilarating time at college, learned a whole bunch, and fell in love. Then you had a job that you loved, got married to a partner of your dreams, and continued to live a happy, exciting, stimulating, and healthy life.
Now, that's a great success story, but guess what? Then you died. And your story, the true details of it, might last a bit longer and would die, too. In a hundred years or so, nobody would have any real idea about your existence, unless you have a way to permanently preserve your story.
And this is the biggest challenge of data archiving, especially when it comes to digitized information, simply because storage devices have so far been developed with a lot more focus on capacity (as in hard drives) and speed (solid-state drives) than longevity. Most existing storage devices are designed to last just a few decades at most.
For this reason, ever since the first computer came into existence, the only way for us to keep our data has been to regularly move it from one medium to another, and once in a while from one type of storage, such as the old backup tapes or floppy disks, to another, such as external hard drives or DVDs. But a person can only do that for so long, while he or she is still alive. At some point, this process of continuous data migration will stop, and that's when the need arises for a medium that just lasts.
Millenniata, an optical company, believes that it has something that fits that bill: the M-Disk, a new type of DVDs that are not like any other DVDs you've seen.
According to Scott Shumway, CEO of Millenniata, the new M-Disk's information-retaining surface is made of inorganic, synthetic materials that cannot be overwritten, erased, or corrupted by natural processes. It's as if data were etched in stone--synthetic stone, that is.
On traditional optical disks, information is "burned" into the disc by creating light or bleached spots where the data is the contrast between light and dark spots. However, the dark spots fade over time, due to natural processes, making the information slowly disappear.
With the M-disk, however, a new technology engraves data permanently, much like when you carve something on a surface of stone. As long as the disk is not exposed to extreme conditions, it should last for a long time, even thousands of years.
As the M-Disk is not made of organic materials that dissolve or deteriorate over time, it can also handle the environment much better. For example, you can put an M-Disk in water or expose it to really cold temperatures for a long time without affecting the quality of the information written on it, according to the company. Physically, the disc itself doesn't require a reflective layer, as found in all existing optical discs. Instead it's see-through and yet can still be read by any reader. As it still takes the delicate form of a DVD, though, the M-Disk is still an optical medium that can be broken or scratched, but when taken care of, it has a much higher chance of lasting for a long, long time.
Another good thing about the M-Disk is the fact that it's not so expensive to make. According Shumway, currently the disc is estimated to cost the same as other archival DVDs, about $27 for a pack of 10. The company is also working on a Blu-ray version of the M-Disk.
There's a catch, however. Though the write-once M-Disk (equivalent to a regular DVD+R or DVD-R disk) can be read by any existing DVD reader, it requires a new type of burner for writing. M-Disks has collaborated with Hitachi LG Data Storage to mass-produce the M-Disks and new M-Disk-compatible burners. All of them will be available starting in September. Shumway says the burner will also have Blu-ray burning capability and will likely share the same pricing as other Blu-Ray burners on the market.
Millenniata claims that information stored on its new M-Disk DVD will last for thousands of years; obviously none of us will be here then to verify. But the pricing of the new medium, its burner, the backward compatibility, and the reasoning behind the synthetic stone material seem convincing enough. After all, the reason we were able to learn about the stone age is because there's something left from it: the stone. The M-Disk might just be a new way for us to preserve our information in the most primitive way that's been proven to work.
Now the only question left is, why would you want your personal story to be remembered so permanently? That's an entirely different story.
Well check the price on the Mdisc...takes a slighty different reader writer...stronger laser ...Newegg has one.
In the meantime, I archive our family’s existence in photo books (i.e. Shutterfly, CVS) with commentary. At least we know that media WILL last thousands of years.
However, this technology is interesting.
See posts on the M-Disk.
I am looking thru the comments at Newegg.
Now, if only they can figure out how to marry the two technologies. A TB disk that will last until well after anyone gives a damn would be a cool thing. Bad thing is, hard disk capacities have pretty much exceeded the capacity of even 1TB disks. The only viable backup media these days is disk to disk. Even tape is just too slow unless you have an array of the things.I used to have an old removable disk pack from an old HP disk drive that had 4 platters, and was over a foot across. Stored a whopping 128MB.
Beyond the Blu-Ray price right now....choke!!.....
I remember when I worked at one job where I had to backup a VaxServer 3400 mainframe (a small version of a PDP-11) where I backed up 4 HD, two were 625 MB and two were 450 MB, This was 20 years ago. Early Monday mornings at 1 AM, I had to go in to backup and restore a drive each week. I remember it snowed so much one night that I got my car stuck in the parking lot so I left it there to get the backup going. It took 45 minutes for each 9 track reel (6250 bits per inch) of tape to back the system up so once I got the system going, I went down to rock my car out and park it where it should go. I had normal daylight hours during the week. I almost fell asleep going home while driving so I asked the boss if I can back it up anytime from Friday night to Sunday. He said, “yes, as long as the system is not needed and to let the users know when you want to back it up.” So there are times I went n Friday nights or Saturday’s to back it up and I then went in Monday’s from 6 or 6:30 AM to 10 AM to get my hours and let my assistant take over for the day.