Feeds

AON: Give us cash, we'll emit 10TB holographic cube

They do it with mirrors

The essential guide to IT transformation

Access Optical Networks says it has developed a 1.2TB holographic storage cube that can transfer data at 155MB/sec and last longer than 50 years. Oh, and it's done using mirrors – but no smoke.

The storage medium is a 1cm cube of photorefractive lithium niobate crystalline material and the claimed cost/GB is $0.11 in 1,000 unit quantities.

AON is reported by Laser Focus World to be storing digitised and parallel data in 1,000 x 1,000 arrays inside a crystal volumetric space. Readout uses CMOS cameras and there is parallel reading and writing of 1 million bits at a time.

AON says there is a greater than an order of magnitude layer depth in its holographic crystal cubes compared to holographic disks such as the unfortunately defunct Inphase Tapestry 300GB drive.

It works like this: a coherent laser source sends out its light beam, which is then divided into data and reference beams taking separate paths to the cube destination. The reference beam can be phase-controlled, enabling it to be switched on and off, writing and erasing all or parts of holograms. It can be made to adopt a selected multiplexed angle when writing, searching for or accessing a particular hologram. The greyscale-encoded holograms are written close to 900 for the most efficient diffraction.

The data beam is directed into the cube by being reflected from micro-mirrors on the surface of a MEMS (Micro-electrical-mechanical-system) spatial light modulator.

MEMS_SLM

Cross-sectional schematic of three elements in a micro-machined spatial light modulator (Boston University).

The cube stores multiple holograms by angle multiplexing and data is written as data pages made up from clusters and sections. Data locations in the cube can be selectively erased for re-use. The removal of disk rotation means there is much less need to cater for shock and vibration in the device.

AON says that holographic disks, which are spindle-based media, are slow at reading and writing and are typically write-once-read-many (WORM) devices – which limits their usefulness, although it was a familiar form factor for optical disks and needed low-power lasers. A cube-based or volumetric approach enables higher hologram capacity: its performance is faster and it can be scaled higher.

AON's roadmap for the technology shows capacity growing to 9.6TB, and the transfer rate increasing to 1.24GB/sec. The company has a protected website with access requests made by email from its home page.

Its CEO and president, Glenn Gladney, says he is seeking strategic partners to collaborate with the company to complete the development of its technology. Isn't that always the way with new holographic technology?

Even though this cube looks to be a better holographic storage bet than any holo disk, venture capitalists like Bart Stuck, who backed InPhase, might need a fair amount of persuasion to open their wallets. It helps that Gadney says: "Our products offer a 300 K radiation-hardened storage medium that can be clean-erased in minutes."

Indeed, but they are not proper products yet and that is the problem. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything
Enter credit card details if you want that system you bought to actually be useful
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
HP busts out new ProLiant Gen9 servers
Think those are cool? Wait till you get a load of our racks
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
VMware's high-wire balancing act: EVO might drag us ALL down
Get it right, EMC, or there'll be STORAGE CIVIL WAR. Mark my words
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.