Sony and Panasonic Create New 300GB Archival Disc Format
The Growth of Big Data
As we adopt more cloud-based services like Twitter, Tumblr, SnapChat, Instagram, and others, the amount of data these companies need to keep on record grows exponentially. These web services are part of what’s known as big data, which is a collection of information so large that it is tough to manage and nearly impossible to visualize.
For Facebook, simply keeping a list of everyone’s username, email address, and password is enough to stress a regular database beyond its limits. Now consider sites like Wikipedia, Amazon, and eBay, which are so large that they are measured in Petabytes or exabytes. The biggest problem that Facebook and many other companies are facing is data storage.
Enterprise Storage Options
Computer hard drives can be linked together in massive arrays to store data, but they are expensive to buy, to power 24/7, and to keep cool. Tapes offer huge storage capacity at a cheap price, but with insufferably slow lookup times. Companies are in need of a better solution for enterprise-level data storage.
Archival Disc: A New, High-Capacity Format
Well, Sony and Panasonic think they may have the answer. It’s a new type of compact disc called Archival Disc, and the specifications were announced earlier this week on Monday, March 10th.
Archival Disc uses a 405nm Blue laser, similar to a Blu-ray disc. While Blu-ray is available in single-or double-layer versions with 25GB or 50GB of capacity (respectively), Archival Disc allows for up to 3 layers per side and for double-sided discs!
When it debuts in 2015, the Archival Disc format will have a 300GB capacity. Sony and Panasonic have a roadmap for the technology, which shows it progressing to 500GB capacity and eventually on to 1TB or larger.
A Disc for the Future
This next-generation optical disc format is unique in that it is designed with the future in mind. As you can see from the chart above, Sony and Panasonic plan to incorporate advanced signal processing technology into future specifications for the Archival Disc format. This will allow it to reach its potential capacity of 1 terabyte or larger.
The announcement of Archival Disc also included some other technical details about the format such as its error-correction method (Reed-Solomon Code) and its use of Partial Response Maximum Likelihood (PRML) signal processing technology to achieve higher playback signal quality.
I think that when it becomes available in 2015, the Archival Disc format will be welcomed by the enterprise storage market as a viable new alternative for long-life and low-cost data storage.