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InPhase launches holographic storage

InPhase launches holographic storage

The Tapestry drive uses 12cm plastic discs capable of storing 300GB - with future units stretching to 1.6TB.

If you've finally got round to buying a next-generation removable storage device – having waited to ascertain the victor in the HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray battle – then perhaps it's not a good time to mention the next-next-gen – holographic storage.

InPhase Technologies has been promising 300GB discs for eight years now, but if a report over at ZDNet is to be believed they might finally be making good and delivering a usable product.

The Tapestry drive uses 12cm plastic discs to store up to 300GB of data in holographic form – and unlike CDs and DVDs, the company is confident that the data will remain readable for a minimum of fifty years. With current-generation optical storage becoming unreadable after a little as five years due to unstable phase-change dyes, and even high-end tape-based magnetic storage degrading before the half-century mark, it's quite a leap forward.

At the prices InPhase are talking about – you'll need to find £9,000 to buy the drive and then around £90 per disc if you buy in bulk – the device is clearly aimed at replacing tape backup systems such as the LTO Ultrium series. The latest Ultrium standard, LTO3, stores 400GB per tape compared to Tapestry's 300GB, and is significantly faster – but is incapable of random access to data, and would require refreshing long before the fifty year lifespan of the Tapestry media is up.

The company are clearly looking to the future, too: the next iteration of Tapestry will store 800GB and write at a rate of 80MB/s, and when they've licked that they'll start work on a 1.6TB unit capable of 120MB/s writing. Which would blow pretty much every traditional backup system out of the water, frankly.

While the prices would have to get significantly lower before anyone would consider holographic storage a mass-market technology, it's nice to see that the company can deliver on what certainly sounds like the future of removable storage.

What's your take on holographic storage – is it a likely to make an impact on the desktop, or will it end up a datacentre-only toy? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

17 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Cthippo 28th April 2008, 09:39 Quote
Sounds cool. The ability to accumumlate data had outstripped the ability to effectively archive it and so i think a lot of people are like me, sitting on hundreds of GB or data with no good way to back it up. Even dual layer DVD-Rs are only 8.5 GB and there is an inverse relationship between how much work it takes to back up my drive and how likley it is to happen!
Arkanrais 28th April 2008, 09:48 Quote
last I heard of these, they were supposed to be launched in september 06 or 07 and be the size of a 3.5" floppy. after nothing happened, I figured it was just another promised revolutionary tech than never got around to being released.
hopefully this isn't going to be another duke nukem forever.
DougEdey 28th April 2008, 10:14 Quote
The main problem with holographic storage is that theoretically you can store billions of bits in a single flash of light, however there isn't the back end to support that transfer of data. When Quantum computing improves we'll be able to take it further and faster.
p3n 28th April 2008, 10:31 Quote
I despise the reliability (or lack of) our magnetic AIT tapes at work, I cant help but feel the best solution is just some form of hot-plug hard drive for off-site backups.
badders 28th April 2008, 10:43 Quote
It does raise a good question, though - how is the home user supposed to back up his terabytes of data?

I know that I'm probably not alone, having 15 HDD's in the house, with just under 2TB of data on.
Obviously the most essential data is on DVD-R also, but what about the rest of it? It would be a pain if a couple of drives went down, definitely!
Nikumba 28th April 2008, 12:04 Quote
I think we will start to see raid nas come down in price for storage of our data.

AIT tapes arent the best really, LTO is the better technology.

Id rather trust my data to a tape backup than an external hdd
Mister_Tad 28th April 2008, 13:00 Quote
Quote:
arly aimed at replacing tape backup systems such as the LTO Ultrium series. The latest Ultrium standard, LTO3, stores 400GB per tape compared to Tapestry's 300GB

LTO4 is available and has an 800GB native capacity

There is also 500GB Storagetek T10000, 700GB IBM 1120 amongst others, I can't see where their market is tbh.
By the time their 1.6TB disk comes out, tape media will have outgrown it by a fair margin.

Nice to see holographic storage finally making an appearance at any rate :D
DXR_13KE 28th April 2008, 13:25 Quote
i wonder how the future games will be like.... if they come on this form of media.
DougEdey 28th April 2008, 14:08 Quote
BUt with 1TB drives going below £100 now, why is a 300GB £90 storage better?
DXR_13KE 28th April 2008, 15:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
BUt with 1TB drives going below £100 now, why is a 300GB £90 storage better?

robustness.

i think....
completemadness 28th April 2008, 15:25 Quote
i don't really see the point in the "longevity" argument

Tapes are used for backups (as far as i know) - but the longevity argument applies more to archiving
I expect your rolling backup tape will be overwritten within a year or 2 (if not month(s))
dyzophoria 28th April 2008, 16:02 Quote
Quote:
there is an inverse relationship between how much work it takes to back up my drive and how likley it is to happen!
dyzophoria 28th April 2008, 16:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dyzophoria
Quote:
there is an inverse relationship between how much work it takes to back up my drive and how likley it is to happen!


oops, sorry accidentally pressed the post comment, couldnt find an edit button, anyway, i really like this line :D
HourBeforeDawn 28th April 2008, 17:37 Quote
Well this is certainly promising, I remember watching a educational program where they were talking about future tech and this kind in particular, and it looked very interesting and longer data retention is a must.
Kipman725 28th April 2008, 19:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
The main problem with holographic storage is that theoretically you can store billions of bits in a single flash of light, however there isn't the back end to support that transfer of data. When Quantum computing improves we'll be able to take it further and faster.

erm my understanding was that quantum computers would theoreticly be able to take a problem like checking if a number as a factor of another number and in the time taken to try one number try every posible number because they (depending on interpritation) made use of the paralism of universes and did the same computation in an infinite number of universes a single time. I fail to see how quantum computers will help transfer data more efectivly. The write time seems to be more of the minimum exposure time to imprint a bit in the holographic medium rather than a "back end problem". After all sata is capable of 300Gb/s theoretical maximum and other interfaces like hypertransport are capable of even more.

In other words WTF man????
DougEdey 28th April 2008, 20:02 Quote
Quantum computing is actual down to string theory where you can replicate a particles movement without it moving or transferring energy. This reduces the time and space required to transfer data so you can allocate the data faster. Think about how fast a flash of light is, compared to one second :)
TomH 29th April 2008, 00:06 Quote
Just to be a raging pedant, the discs aren't actually 12cm (and whilst we're on the subject, it should be given in millimetres!) They are in-fact, 130mm in diameter. :)
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