InPhase finally to phase in holographic disk

Feels like the 900th time

Holographic storage developer InPhase Technologies has said it will announce its Tapestry hologram storage product in May. A version of the product was demonstrated at the NAB2008 show in Las Vegas earlier this month.

The bare facts are these: Tapestry consists of 120mm (5.25-inch) diameter clear plastic disks in a cartridge case. Holographic images are stored in the depth of the recording medium on the disk's surface using a blue laser.

The first disks are said to have a 50-year life and will perform reads and writes at 20MB/sec in a Tapestry drive which appears to be priced at $18,000. The disks will cost $180 each in volume and store up to 300GB.

"Subsequent generations of WORM devices will increase capacity to 800GB and transfer rate to 80MB/sec and then to 1.6TB and 120MB/sec," InPhase says on its web site.

It has taken 8 years for InPhase to develop its products with virtually all the functions of the technology requiring custom development. In this respect, InPhase has similarities with Plasmon, which has also developed its blue-violet laser UDO optical disks on its own.

A quick set of comparisons and contrasts looks like this:

LTO3 is four times faster than Tapestry and holds 100GB more but tape is not guaranteed to hold data for 50 years and needs its contents re-written to fresh media every so often. It is also not a random access medium, somewhat negating its faster I/O.

Blu-ray optical disks hold 25GB or 50GB and so have an immediate capacity disadvantage. They are, of course, cheaper but they are not promoted as having a 50-year life. That may change.

Plasmon's UDO has a capacity disadvantage, holding 60GB in its generation 2 version with UDO-3 set at 120GB and UDO-4 at 240GB on the roadmap. It does have a 50-year life but UDO-2 has a slower 12MB/sec I/O rate. UDO is also in use and not a version 1 product.

It would seem that InPhase will have the high-capacity, 50-year archive store market pretty much to itself for a few years.

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