Advances In Archival Optical Disc Storage

By · Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Advances In Archival Optical Disc StorageU.S. researchers from Case Western University in Cleveland reported that they are developing new technology that will improve upon the current optical disc. The improved disc would allegedly be so storage dense that only five to ten of the discs would be needed to hold the whole print collection stored in the Library of Congress.

As part of an initiative to make sure that the technology will make it into the hands of consumers once it has been developed, the researchers from Case Western University in Cleveland created a company called Folio Photonics. The company’s goal is to ensure that the archival discs technology continues to develop and that distribution to small and medium businesses will start as soon as the technology is available.

Each disc developed using the new optical media technology can purportedly hold one to two terabytes worth of data inside. The idea in itself is astounding; imagine having an external hard drive that’s as thin and portable as a DVD. That kind of storage is something worth developing.

According to the researchers in Cleveland, the new optical discs would be an ideal storage alternative for small and medium-sized businesses, replacing the cumbersome and outdated magnetic discs and tapes popular in archival storage. The discs are designed to have data written in the dozens of layers within, a figure Blu-ray discs pale in comparison to with their maximum number of just four data layers. Success for the researchers would mean the creation of a disc that would have the capacity of magnetic tapes but boosted with 21st century technology. That means exceedingly quick data access and cheaper maintenance.

On the disc reader end of things, a run-of-the-mill model would only need to be tweaked a bit to be able to read the multiple layers of the new optical disc. That would mean that upgrading current disc readers to be compatible with the new optical discs would not involve much in terms of production cost. Researchers in Case Western University hope to see the market release of the new optical disc within a few years. In the meantime, keeping data on archival discs like the  MAM-A DVD-R should help keep the data until this new system goes to market.

The main pitch for development of the discs, which also details its intended use, is for storage of data that, though not in frequent use, is still valuable enough to the business or institution to be worth keeping.


By Johnio Muccles on October 31st, 2012 at 2:17 am

This is very interesting but I do wonder about the technology. Will the hardware be available? Will other research in this are come up with a totally different concept as CD repaced floppy disc is the past? Will the sale price justify the development cost and be viable? etc etc.