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Maxell to offer 300GB holographic discs 'late 2006'

Future 1.6TB units make Blu-ray look like cassette tape

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Maxell will ship its first holographic storage system late next year, the company has pledged.

The storage specialist will initially offer a removable system based on 300GB media and capable of transfering data at a rate of 20MBps, Maxell said. However, the company said the technology, designed by InPhase Technologies, is capable of achieving 1.6TB per disk - and that's uncompressed capacity - with a 120MBps bandwidth.

InPhase was founded in December 2000 by Lucent, and has been working on holographic storage - in which data is encoded as a 3D pattern written and read by laser beam - ever since. In addition to the colossal storage capacity, InPhase promises a data archive life of over 50 years, not much different to the longevity claimed by most optical media makers - a CD-RW for instance will typically retain data for 20-100 years, depending on which manufacturer you speak to.

InPhase isn't the only company promoting holographic storage. Japan's Optware - which in July won $14m in funding from four companies, one of which was Toshiba; it also has backing from Intel Capital - is working on a DVD-sized holographic disc is says will hold more than 1TB of data with a throughput of 1Gbps.

The format is dubbed HVD - Holographic Versatile Disc - and Optware is already pushing a 200GB HVD-RW disc type through the HVD Alliance, an organisation supported by Optware, Fuji Photo and half-a-dozen or so Japanese chemicals companies. ®

Maxell holographic storage system

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