Feeds

GE brings holographic storage back from the dead

Format might erupt in the sector

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The dormant holographic storage volcano has rumbled, reminding us that it's not extinct and may yet erupt.

As a reminder, this optical storage format came hot on the heels of previous storage successes: compact disks, magneto-optical drives, DVDs, and then Blu-ray. Blu-ray never reached the same relative scale of popularity as DVDs, but at least it is ongoing, whereas the subsidiary that was Plasmon's UDO belched forth a lot of gas but little lava, and that flow came to a stop when Plasmon closed down.

Stromboli

Stromboli

Holographic storage appeared to show promise, but the interest subsided as InPhase more or less collapsed.

So where there once was such promise, only Blu-ray remained – a holographic remnant – and we all more or less supposed that holographic storage was over.

It isn't.

General Electric

General Electric has renewed interest in the format, coming up with a holographic platter. But, and a big "but", there is no drive manufacturer.

GE Global Research has run a demonstration that uses micro-holographic recording material and can record data at Blu-ray speed and, GE says, with drives not dissimilar from Blu-ray and DVD drives, not that such a drive exists. That means a blue laser is used.

GE Holographic storage demonstration

GE holographic storage demonstration.

No actual disk that anyone could buy exists yet either. All the company has is a holographic recording media technology. It says that a GE holo disk, of Blu-ray physical dimensions, would "match the capacity of 20 single-layer Blu-ray discs, 100 DVDs or the hard drive of most laptop computers" – meaning a 500GB capacity. The development team is working on refining the material to support a 1TB or greater capacity disk.

What does Blu-ray speed mean? There are many Blu-ray recording speeds, ranging from 1X at 4.5MB/sec to 12x at 54MB/sec. A 12x equivalent GE holo disk writer would need 2.57 hours to fill up 500GB. That seems a long time, but a 1X equivalent speed would need 30.86 hours to fill up a 500GB disk, and that is an age.

GE is looking for partners to license its holo-recording media technology and build drives. The applications of this could be commercial archiving and the consumer market. With video downloads increasingly happening over the net, DVD sales crumbling, and Blu-ray videos not really taking off, the consumer application looks to be a forlorn hope.

The commercial archiving application would need demonstrably longer archive life than tape, and/or better recording and reading speed, and/or much easier media management. These are all unknowns with GE for now.

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Docker kicks KVM's butt in IBM tests
Big Blue finds containers are speedy, but may not have much room to improve
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Gartner's Special Report: Should you believe the hype?
Enough hot air to carry a balloon to the Moon
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Dell The Man shrieks: 'We've got a Bitcoin order, we've got a Bitcoin order'
$50k of PowerEdge servers? That'll be 85 coins in digi-dosh
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.