Ottawa Valley SAGE

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Mar 27, 2007 - 2 minute read - Comments

New storage media should be on the market

Bruce sent me a reference just after the last meeting to a new Holographic Storage media developed by Maxell. It looks promising, and it says that it will be available in late 2006. Given that it’s the end of the first quarter of 2007, I have to wonder. I haven’t seen it advertised anywhere, but then again, it may be quite expensive.

The capacity of the first generation media (it looks a lot like standard magneto-optical) will hold approximately 300GB, a nice hard drive of today’s capacities. The data transfer rate is also pretty zippy - 160Mbps. That’s hope inducing, as this may be the media of choice for backups. Expected life is ~50 years.

They expect to release an 800GB unit sometime around fourth quarter 2008 with a transfer rate of 640Mbps and another unit Q2 of 2010 with a transfer rate of 960Mbps. There is a small whitepaper with this data and I’m guessing the triangles in the timeline indicate the quarter they are releasing in.

Thinking magtape (reel-to-reel that is), at quad density (9600 bits-per-inch), the standard tape was 2400 feet, so approximately 34.56 MB/tape (yes, I had a lot of these, about 50 of them). That’s more than 46,000 magtapes. Given they were approximately 14” across and .75” thick, that’s a lot of storage space. I’m thinking of a square of magtapes, 215 to a side laid out on the ground. That’s 250’ to a side, so 62500 square feet.

Thinking as a guy who started with 5.25” floppy disks that had a capacity of 160Kb (I also had 8” diskettes as well, but that kind of gives away some of my past) so this means we have the same capacity (assuming my math is good) as 10,000,000 of my old 160KB floppy disks in a package that is the same physical form factor and approximately 4 times as thick. I’m not indulging in the number of square feet that would be.

Of course, we have the 3.5”, 1” thick standard SATA hard drive clicking in at 1TB at a market price of 400$US, so in those terms, it’s not that impressive.