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300GB at first, and 1.6TB later

According to reports, Maxell along with InPhase Technologies will be bringing holographic storage technology to the market at the end of this year. Maxell's director of technical marketing Rich D'Ambrise said that 300GB holographic discs will be available in November or December of this year. Maxell also indicated that sometime in 2008, the company will be introducing second generation disc that store up to 800GB of data. By 2010, Maxell is hoping to introduce 1.6TB holographic discs.

In a report, D'Ambrise said "We're happy so far that we haven't hit any obstacles with the drive or the media, and that we're on schedule to deliver to the market." Maxell said that while the technology is currently limited to enterprise customers, producing mass market holographic media and drives shouldn't take long. The company is currently working on producing media in several sizes, including stamps, credit card and regular CD size cartridges. Consumer media will range from 75GB to 100GB in the first generation said D'Ambrise. The new 300GB discs will transfer data at roughly 20MB per second, but Maxell indicated that we should see faster rates as the technology progresses. According to InPhase:

High-definition video. Data archiving.  Medical imaging. Massive databases. These are just some of the applications driving the need for faster, higher capacity storage. Regulatory compliance requirements have also pushed this need into the forefront for many IT departments. InPhase’s holographic storage solutions meet the rapidly growing storage demands of business, government, medical, and educational institutions.

According to Maxell and InPhase, two companies have picked up the technology: Pappas Broadcasting and Turner Broadcasting. InPhase sampled out its technology earlier this year around CES time. Many industry experts expect holographic technology to take off in a big way after 2008. Because data is stored volumetrically throughout the depths of the disc, the technology is able to achieve capacities beyond conventional surface recording techniques used in technologies such as Blu-ray and HD DVD.

Earlier this year, InPhase told the press that holographic storage will be available commercially this year and the company has stayed true to its claim. As of now, the new holographic drives will cost roughly $15,000 to enterprises and media will cost roughly anywhere from $120 to $180 per disc. The media is currently a write-once only media, with a lifetime of roughly 50 years. Maxell hopes to improve these figures by the time 2008 comes around.

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Such promise
By creathir on 8/3/2006 1:29:06 PM , Rating: 5
This technology has SO much promise it is not funny...
I really am looking forward to seeing this market take off. Be done with BR and HD-DVD for good... as well as their copy protection techniques. The pricepoint is still way too high for consumer use, but with time that will change.

- Creathir

RE: Such promise
By ksherman on 8/3/2006 1:40:08 PM , Rating: 2
agreed... kinda put off by the write once limitation. I wonder if it can be added to over time, just not written over... What I mean to say, do I need to have 300GB of data set aside to write to it, or can i write to it a little at a time.

RE: Such promise
By Master Kenobi on 8/3/2006 1:44:49 PM , Rating: 2
Agree. This technology is definately a step in the right direction. Now it may be write once, but thats fine for corporate archiving, I would assume the ability to rewrite will come along sooner or later, using a slightly different disc or drive.

RE: Such promise
By Master Kenobi on 8/3/2006 1:48:06 PM , Rating: 2
And currently at the cost-per-disc and storage capacity even in its Alpha deployment, this is only slightly higher cost than storing the data on 300GB hard disks, and its probably better from an archival perspective. Now and they were talking about how Blu-Ray was future tech..... This IS Future Tech, no doubts about that.

RE: Such promise
By achintya on 8/3/2006 1:50:44 PM , Rating: 2
lol, rite now we're limited to ~250 GB hard disks so where will we get 300GB of data from? a multisession feature would be really nifty.

RE: Such promise
By TSS on 8/3/2006 1:51:45 PM , Rating: 2
if that price drops fast to around blu-ray and hd-dvd prices and it already comming out next year (there where several years between cd-r and dvd's) i guess that pretty much decides the HD wars. starting at double blu-ray (for consumers), lets hope its less then double the price and we can finally start using a new technique that shows alot of promise and growth for the future (CD and DVD techniques are just about done now).

Personally i have a raid-0 setup of 2 150GB raptors. i also have 1 data disk of 300gb for anime and such. like hell am i going to make a backup of that using DVD's. neither am i going to use 6 blu-rays for each (and thats dual layer). but if i have to use just 1 disk for each HDD setup and i can backup absolutely everything.... well, now things get interesting.

my 300gb data disk is full now. if i can label a date on that, and put it all onto another disk, delete it from my HDD and voila, its like buying another HDD (save for the write once). now thats truely "never having to throw away another file". and in 4 years, if they can make the expected 1,6 TB, the last HDD setup i'll ever buy is 1,6 TB's big in data. if i ever manage to get that full (counting that broadband connections will lag behind on this) and my internet speed doubles to 1MB/s from 500KB/s now (say same price only double the speed by then), i'll need to be downloading 3 years straight (not counting the 15gb's vista needs) to get it full. day and night. and after tahts finally done, i'll just burn it all to a disk, and start over.

seriously, after this, data storage development can stop for the consumer since i have no idea what so ever what i'm going to do with all that space.

RE: Such promise
By KeithP on 8/3/2006 2:53:38 PM , Rating: 2
i guess that pretty much decides the HD wars.

How so? No studio has said anything about shipping product on these things and they won't without some sort of DRM/copy protection in place. Plus, unless the pre-recorded media can be mass produced easily (burning won't do it) it will be totally unsuitable for large scale retail distribution of any sort of video content.


RE: Such promise
By ZeeStorm on 8/3/06, Rating: -1
RE: Such promise
By psychobriggsy on 8/4/2006 9:06:49 AM , Rating: 4
I make it 19 days (rounded up) to download 1.6TB of data at maxed out download speeds continuously if you've got 1MB (10mbit) broadband. Not 3 years.

1.6TB = 1,600GB = 1,600,000MB.
1,600,000 / 60 (seconds) / 60 (minutes) / 24 (hours) = 19 days.

That's a lot of porn though. Also you'd have to be continuously hunting for it just to ensure your download was always maxed.

RE: Such promise
By Fritzr on 11/26/2006 5:21:12 PM , Rating: 2
In 1985 I was using a PC with a "very large" 20MB disc. The MiniVAX had twin 300MB drives. At the time it was considered difficult to fill such massive disks...

1990 Dad bought a 1GB HD for $1000 ... he thought that would be the last drive he would need...His last machine had twin 250GB and he had over 300GB in applications & MP3

2006 250GB drives are considered routine and users not into video think they're difficult fill...

Try installing Vista on that 1990 drive. For that matter WinXP has to have a lot of options stripped out :D

How much do you think software vendors will decide is necessary once 300GB HoloDVD is mainstream? :D

RE: Such promise
By brian87432 on 8/4/2006 4:59:48 AM , Rating: 3
there's 750 GB hard disks fyi..

RE: Such promise
By ZeeStorm on 8/3/06, Rating: -1
RE: Such promise
By androticus on 8/3/2006 11:12:11 PM , Rating: 5
Be done with [...] copy protection techniques.

The notion that technology somehow protects against politics is one of the most dangerous and persistent notions around. I remember a semi-famous Internet person once saying that it would be "impossible" for the govt to censor the Internet because it was "too big" and "too distributed" -- ask the Chinese if this is true, or the Germans, or us Americans whose every mouse click will probably soon be logged by our ISPs for the Department of Homeland Enslavement to pour over.

There are two things you can count on:
(1) if governments want to censor or impose DRM or whatever, they can and will;
(2) the large corporations whose tacit sanction is required to achieve this will roll right over -- look at Yahoo, happily helping the Chinese govt send citizens to jail for doing nothing more than exercising their human right to expression -- the mealy-mouthed corporate shills will always cry "we have to obey local laws", as if there were no principles that could differentiate between a *valid* law and a heinous rights-violating law.

By kattanna on 8/3/2006 2:01:33 PM , Rating: 2
after so many years of waiting, its good to see it actually coming to market

i wonder what holding the disks up to a light and tilting it around will let you see

RE: finally!
By Korvon on 8/3/2006 7:09:04 PM , Rating: 5
The future.

RE: finally!
By RogueSpear on 8/3/2006 8:46:23 PM , Rating: 2
I think the first time I read about this technology was around 10 years ago and back then the estimated time to market was 10 to 15 years. Let's all hope that this truly does become a great technology that isn't encumbered by TPM or any other Orwellian technology.

True Future Tech
By biohazard420420 on 8/3/2006 2:27:52 PM , Rating: 2
I personally cant wait to get ahold of one of those drives and discs. But I think that the 1.6 TB of storage is a bit small. Not that 1.6 TB is a small amount of data but bieng that the data is stored volumetricaly you should be able to scale the sotrage almost exponentially. There was a news artical several years ago about the same holographic storage tech except it used a cube or rectangular storage media. Theoriectally you could just increase the thickness of the storage disc and keep gaining space. I think in 10 or 15 years if and thats a big if this storage tech is still used we could be in the PB (Petabyte) or EB (Exabyte)which seems insane now but considering 18 minutes of uncompressed Ultra High Definition Video (UHDV) consumes 3.5 terabytes of data we are going to keep needing more space.

RE: True Future Tech
By Master Kenobi on 8/3/2006 2:36:42 PM , Rating: 3
Anyone remember the data crystals in Babylon 5? This tech could easily make that a reality. Hand em a little crystal, plug it into a slot, close slot, and suddenly multi-TB of info........ The NSA will be all over this....... they have huge storage farms now, if they can get this kinda capacity, they will be in heaven....... for a few years atleast.

RE: True Future Tech
By kattanna on 8/3/2006 3:04:08 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone remember the data crystals in Babylon 5?

i can easily see those being the "thumb" drives of the not to distant future

RE: True Future Tech
By JonB on 8/3/2006 5:26:07 PM , Rating: 2
They remind me more of the "prayer fans" used by the Heechee (Gateway, Frederick Pohl). The description of the iridescent surface is a close match.

The shape
By IMPoor on 8/3/2006 5:19:07 PM , Rating: 2
I am wondering if this technology needs to be the same size as a regular CD. Obviously if it spins it will need to be circular but does it need to be the same size as a CD to hold that much data. Seems to me that most people expect this size disc but I would be happy with a disc that was smaller and held only 100GB and spun faster. Or a some kind of cartridge that had the disc inside it so its better protected. After all 100GB is still alot of porn in HD.

RE: The shape
By Wwhat on 8/3/2006 6:31:35 PM , Rating: 3
Why do they make a spinning device again anyway? can't we finally get rid of that geez, why not make it run on steam too...

Sony got pwned
By DangerIsGo on 8/3/2006 5:22:39 PM , Rating: 1
Wow, yes its true. Sony, Mr. Wanting-to-push-BR-High-Def-in-PS3, finally got pwned by this. I remember reading about this a few months back when it was first announced but im surprised that a prototype and final product was completed so fast. Its amazing how all these next gen format companies are pushing their product while maxell is just sitting in the back saying 'yeah-yeah' and release this beast. Lets see...50GB vs 300GB/800GB/1.6TB? No contest. Now only if that guy can come out with his bacteria discs which hold 50TB! :D <- Put this smile in your comment if you love high capacity discs

RE: Sony got pwned
By Fenixgoon on 8/3/2006 11:54:09 PM , Rating: 2
IMO a bio-based storage medium would be far too easy to destroy...

RE: Sony got pwned
By MrPickins on 8/4/2006 3:20:08 PM , Rating: 2
Sony did not get "pwned."

The markets for these discs is different than for blu-ray/hd-dvd. Do you know any consumers willing to spend $15,000 for the drive, and $100-180 for a disc?

This is aimed squarely at the corporate world, and will only trickle down to the consumer market at a later date.

Way to follow the Sony bashing trend, though...

By s12033722 on 8/3/2006 5:29:37 PM , Rating: 2
20 MB/sec isn't impressive. DLT-S4 has a capacity of 800 GB and a transfer rate of 60 MB/sec. LTO-3 has a capacity of 400 GB and a transfer rate of 80 MB/sec.

Even the capacity isn't that big when you consider how much storage corporate users consume. 10's of TB is small. Hewlett-Packard's new XP12000 storage array offers 32 petabytes of storage.

By giantpandaman2 on 8/3/2006 5:40:16 PM , Rating: 2
For 1st gen it's quite impressive. Transfer rates will increase, just like it has for NAND, NOR, HD's, DVD's, hell even RAM, etc. Besides, it's only a matter of time before a company like HP creates an array using these. At which point they could create something that offers even greater than 32 petabytes of storage.

Aim is in the wrong place
By Comdrpopnfresh on 8/6/2006 2:47:01 AM , Rating: 2
I'd really like to see some research being developed to increase the speed of reads and writes... What good is a 300GB disc if it only write at 20-50mbps?

I think the potential is greatest in plastic-3D ram used as a flash technology.... It has densities greater than current ram, and I'm willing to bet the read and write speeds Ram is good for... Think of carrying around cubes, or cards instead of circle-discs....

RE: Aim is in the wrong place
By Visual on 8/10/2006 8:15:12 AM , Rating: 2
you perhaps ment to type "square-cubes" and "rectangle-cards" huh?

By tk109 on 8/3/2006 9:14:25 PM , Rating: 2
50 year life on these. Now that's really nice and great insentive for anyone storing data for any length of time. The peace of mind alone is going to be worth it to some knowing their data is much much safer than anything else.

Interesting thought...
By FliGuyRyan on 8/4/2006 2:30:31 AM , Rating: 2
Wow... my entire DVD collection on one disc. Now THAT is intriguing my friends. And make that all my (future) Hi-Def movies as well, wow.

Now if they'd only integrate this with an iPod and give me like 200 gigs on a Nano with some actual battery life to back it up, I'd be set!

This brings back up a nightmare
By Blitz1775 on 11/28/2006 10:09:55 AM , Rating: 2
The Ideal of a 300gb disc is great to say the least. However it conjures up images of horror I've always had. What happens when you make a deadly enough scratch on this disk as opposed to a cd-dvd where the information is stored on the top rather the bottom.

I mean a big enough scratch could result in quite a big number of corrupted files.

I think they should invest into a little of that titanium "scratch-proof" technology :P.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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