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Holographic Storage Slated to Hit Market This Fall

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the just-in-time-for-christmas dept.

Data Storage 201

prostoalex writes "The Guardian takes a look at the current developments in the world of holographic storage. Despite being available in research for over 40 years, the technology is getting commercialized only now, with InPhase Technologies launching its 600 GB write-once disk and a drive this fall. What avout the price? "The first holographic products are certainly not mass-market — a 600GB disc will cost around $180 (£90), and the drive costs about $18,000. Potential users include banks, libraries, government agencies and corporations.""

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APPL stock split of 3 for 1 ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19176817)

APPL stock split of 3 for 1 !

Good thinking (5, Funny)

niceone (992278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19176827)

InPhase Technologies launching its 600 GB write-once disk and a drive this fall

Good thinking. I mean, if they were launching the disk without the drive (or even the other way round) it would be a lot less likely to succeed.

Re:Good thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19176859)

Other than it recording differently, what are the benefits ?
and Write once. I don't see it

Re:Good thinking (4, Informative)

dkf (304284) | more than 7 years ago | (#19176909)

The benefits for write-once media are actually pretty clear. Suppose you've got to keep audit trails for a database containing financial data; writing it to write-once media is a pretty good way of doing it, since it's then easy to show that it wasn't tampered with. Rewritable media is useful for other things (e.g. live data).

Re:Good thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19176993)

Why is this better than CD-R media?

Re:Good thinking (5, Funny)

islanduniverse (925110) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177073)

I think the 600Gb storage capacity is a dead giveaway...

Re:Good thinking (4, Informative)

fbjon (692006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177097)

Why is this better than CD-R media?
1) Longevity/reliability
2) Transfer speed
3) (600 gigabytes) / (600 megabytes) = 1 024 times better

Re:Good thinking (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19177373)

Longevity - reliably is still a To be determined

look at how long it took other media Manufactures to admit a finite and shorter life of their products.
Who would have ever though that magnetic media would ever last longer than optical media ?
but it's a fact today .

Re:Good thinking (3, Funny)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177529)

3) (600 gigabytes) / (600 megabytes) = 1 024 times better
You clearly haven't been reading Slashdot this morning [slashdot.org] . In fact it's only a lousy 1000 times better - clearly a rip-off by the optical disk makers to give you less capacity than you thought.

Re:Good thinking (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19177753)

Our company stored mass amounts of files on smaller optical disks 700 MB
when our business insurance man found out or entire companies data was on 1 CD
  He raised our premiums by another 4000 pound per month
quoting
ID theft and data loss is a risk You must not store that much data in one place
the point of the above is :
  There are probably good reasons to use huge storage capacity and just as many reasons to not use it.

Huge disks =Bigger data loss potential , what's next for this stuff ?
drives for use on a laptop?

Can anyone foresee a company losing all of their data ?
I can see it ! Bigger may notalwaqys be better

Re:Good thinking (2, Interesting)

undercanopy (565001) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177977)

Nobody is saying that one of these should be an entire backup solution. But if i have a 3TB database that needs to archived, i'd much rather use 5 of these than 4616 CDs, 639 DVDs, or even 15 ultrium tapes.

Data is getting so (too?) big that we NEED things this size just to be able to physically manage it all in any sort of convenient way.

Re:Good thinking (1)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177289)

Becaus ecd's and dvd's can't hold huge databases that corporations use currently ?

Re:Good thinking (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19177519)

Were you born stupid, or did it take a lot of effort to get that way?

Re:Good thinking (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177015)

That is almost completely irrelevant.

First, you only prove that it's not been changed -after- it was written to the medium, which don't bring you much unless you verify the medium after writing it.

And you can do this with read-write media anyway, by writing a *tiny* bit of information on non-changeable media. Put an ad in the NY-time with the SHA-sum of your hard-disc, and you've got pretty good proof 5 years from now that it's been unchanged ever since.

Re:Good thinking (2, Interesting)

pegr (46683) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177179)

Put an ad in the NY-time with the SHA-sum of your hard-disc, and you've got pretty good proof 5 years from now that it's been unchanged ever since.
 
I don't know about that... Five years is a long time to find a hash collision. So what happens to your strategy when a weakness is announced? Do you tell your auditors that it was good enough five years ago?

Let's put it another way... You give me a SHA1 hash and five years. If the money's right, I'll give you back a dataset that matches that hash within that five years... (Point: a hash is a strong indication, but not a lock...)

Re:Good thinking (1)

bloobloo (957543) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177273)

Hash the whole file. The chance of finding a collision that would be a valid excel file (just as an example) must be vanishingly smaller still than finding a collision among the whole set of all possible computer files.

Re:Good thinking (3, Funny)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177811)

Make that 20 years and your chances of reading a valid Excel 2007 file in Excel 2027 are every bit as small as a hash collision.

"What is a 'file', granpa?"

Re:Good thinking (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177359)

(Point: a hash is a strong indication, but not a lock...)

Granted. However, what ar the odds that the dataset you produce will make sense in the given context?

For example, if you had 600GB of financial data "protected" by an SHA1 hash. You find another data set that had the same hash. Do you think you would be able to pass off your data set for the original? How likely is it that te program used to read the original will accept your data without complaint and not have obvious discrepencies from reality? Like, say, you tried to cover up a billion dollar funds transfer, but to make the hash work out someone else had to accumulate a debt equal to three times the global economy's annual production...

If you only want to corrupt or destroy the data, that's one thing. If you want to tamper with the data in a way that's not obvious (eg only change a small set of values), any success will likely be the result of pure luck. In that sense, a hash is a fairly decent way to tamper-proof data.
=Smidge=

Re:Good thinking (2, Informative)

pegr (46683) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177633)

However, what ar the odds that the dataset you produce will make sense in the given context?
 
Very high, actually. Presuming I have the original data to provide context, I can fiddle with white space, unallocated disk blocks, executables (since they are not likely to be executed from backup nor examined closely), whatever. Without the original data, then all bets are off. You have to assume an attcker would have access to the data in question.

Cryptoanalysis of SHA1 [wikipedia.org] has already weakened it...

Re:Good thinking (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177781)

There are several ways to decrease the risk of a hash collision. The most obvious one is to publish both the SHA and, say, an MD5 of the same data. This way, anyone who wants a collision, will have to make a collision that happens in both algorithm.

You can also run the hash in your hard disk backwards too, so, unless your HD holds the longest palindrome ever, the same collision will not work.

You could also sha1 both even and odd bytes separately. You could also hash them separately with multiple algorithms. Well.. You get the idea.

I doubt many sha1 collisions will also even be CRC32 collisions.

Re:Good thinking (1)

ars (79600) | more than 7 years ago | (#19178005)

I know this seems obvious, but it actually wrong.

SH1 and MD5 are both basically the same algorithm, with some changes, so it's quite possible to find something that matches both.

And: how do you think a MD5 hash works? It takes two unrelated hashes, and combines them, since after all, how likely is it that a change will properly affect both hashes? Well you know the answer to that since MD5 has been semi-broken.

So far no one has come up with an unbreakable hash, it apparently is very hard to do. All the exiting hashes (from MD1 and up, and including SHA*) are all based on the same idea, each new version adding some new twist to make it work better, but the basic premise for all of them is based on the work of one guy.

Re:Good thinking (1)

4105 (819650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177801)

An audit trail is not critical either. Suppose you have "project" of some sort that is finished. You wan to store this 600 GB project in long term storage, but you might need to reference it quickly. Pop it on to one of these disks and hope that you can still get a working drive in 10 years.

Re:Good thinking (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19176961)

ever buy a CD-R? Not an -RW, just an -R.

Although, at that price, I admit, it seems exorbant, unless they expect thos things to have liftimes in the thousands of years range.

Re:Good thinking (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177055)

"unless they expect thos things to have liftimes in the thousands of years range."

Of course, as the drives are likely to be around for about five years and you'll be able to find a servicable used part for a decade after that, a thousand year life time might not serve much purpose.

The trouble with that kind of 'archival media' is that once you realize you need the archive you have nothing with which to read it anyway.

You're better off carrying the data live on some form of redundant array of inexpensive devices, migrating it as storage expands and changes. And if you really need a protection against tampering store a checksum or signature on a redundant array of common inexpensive write-once devices. Like CD-R's. Or a paper printout at a public notary.

Re:Good thinking (1)

RoboJ1M (992925) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177431)

But RAID is not a backup solution.

What was it again? 'cat 0 > /'?

J1M.

Re:Good thinking (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177657)

"But RAID is not a backup solution."

It is if you have two inexpensive devices that you umount and power down. Or five. Or a second computer with the devices. The philosophy inherent in the concept Redundant Array of Inexpensive Devices, as opposed to the various forms of RAID, is to use lots of cheap hardware to replace expensive overengineered really (really, really, we promise!) reliable hardware.

Sure you can wipe one device with a misplaced rm. You can wipe a tape with a misplaced rewind (heck, I've seen tape devices on shared busses get rewound by misbehaving applications in the middle of another machines backups). Or conceivable a holographic storage module with a misplaced laser pointer (or in a variety of other more likely ways).

Redundancy is the key to data safety. And for redundancy, inexpensive and simple is the way to go.

Re:Good thinking (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177169)

ever buy a CD-R? Not an -RW, just an -R.


Yes. Do you think that CD-R and CD-RW technologies came out at the same time? CD-R technology was available several years before CD-RWs, so at that time it was CD-R or nothing.

Re:Good thinking (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177335)

oh look, the read only of this tech has come out before the rw...

my point still stands.

Re:Good thinking (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177643)

First off, CD-Rs are WORMs -- Write-Once, Read Many.

Secondly, if you read what I just posted, CD-Rs, the write-once tech, came out before CD-RWs. It's exactly the same case here.

So unless your point was to agree with poster you were replying to, which to me it didn't seem that way, then no, your point does not still stand.

Re:Good thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19177507)

ever buy a CD-R? Not an -RW, just an -R.

I only ever buy CD-Rs. I believe they are more reliable and durable than CD-RWs, and I want my backups to be non-overwriteable, and they are so cheap I can just junk them when the backups are no longer required.
Also audio CD-Rs can be read more reliably by some music CD players, particular old ones like mine which were never designed to read CD-R/CD-RW.

Re:Good thinking (2, Insightful)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177049)

With 1TB hard drives hitting the market, is it really worth spending $180 for 1 (!) optical disk and a $18k for the drive? For that money one can buy a lot of 1TB hard drives and build a RAID 0/1/5... array and have more capacity and reliability. Besides, I don't see museums or even companies running to get that drive, because if the standard goes the way of the Laserdisc [wikipedia.org] then they are stuck with some exotic technology experiment and when their drive breaks there they will not be able to easily get their data back.


Re:Good thinking (4, Interesting)

dosquatch (924618) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177205)

So says you.

Bleeding edge is always a ridiculous expense. The people who are willing to be there already know who they are. That you even raise this question means that you are not.

OTOH, neither am I, but that's not the point. The point is, this is the first commercial volley of a new technology, which means that a few years hence it will be cheaper with even higher data densities.

Meaning, potentially, something like the entire run of every season of every Star Trek series ever... on one disc.

Re:Good thinking (1)

Lunar_Lamp (976812) | more than 7 years ago | (#19178047)

I think you might have just shifted some people into the Bleeding Edge category of users there...

Re:Good thinking (1)

anandsr (148302) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177489)

Laserdisk was the result of a technology, which resulted in CDs and later DVDs. So it will still be beneficial for the early market, one which really needs the storage capacities of the disk to try it out. Ofcourse they will have to be rich enough to be able to throw that money for trying it out.

LOL (1)

BACbKA (534028) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177131)

thanks for that one

Re:Good thinking (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177207)

Yeah and at $18,000 for a drive these big companies don't have to worry about people losing discs anymore because they'll be the only ones who can afford the drives to read them!

Re:Good thinking (1)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177263)

I remember the very first DVD writer which was from Pioneer. It only did 3.95GB disks, the laser was stuffed after writting 1000 drives and the cost was 21,000GBP or over 40,000USD. Give it a few years and they will be as cheap as chips.

Re:Good thinking (4, Funny)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177271)

Good thinking. I mean, if they were launching the disk without the drive (or even the other way round) it would be a lot less likely to succeed.

Yeah, that would be like a game company shipping a console before any games are available for it. Err...wait...

libraries? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 7 years ago | (#19176831)

What kind of library has £9000 to spend on a single piece of computer hardware? It'd be substantially cheaper to buy a computer and four of those 1 TB hardisks that were mentioned yesterday, and they'd be rewritable!
Or they could spent the £9000 on, y'know, say... books.

Re:libraries? (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 7 years ago | (#19176877)

Dunno, a library of congress could store millions of these disks!

Re:libraries? (2, Insightful)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177337)

A library isn't always a public lending library. Another type of libarary that could actually might have use for this type of storage solutions (not necessarily exactly this one) is what I would call historical research libraries. Their function is to protect the material and at the same time make it more accessible to people. It's not unusual for these libraries to have a serious digitizing projects so that the originals don't have to be disturbed (especially if they are physically deteriorated). Just the other week I heard a radio program about one of those digitizing projects.. they create digital material on a terabyte scale every week. They also used some pretty hefty scanners there... their newest machinge could scan one loose page into a high resolution image per second. I suspect that machine cost £9000 or perhaps more.

Re:libraries? (2, Insightful)

PDAllen (709106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177687)

The type of library that is a copyright library (i.e. receives a copy of every published book) rather than a public library (which is what you are thinking of). Think about e.g. university libraries, the British Library, the Library of Congress, that sort of thing. Obviously a public lending library isn't going to want one of these things, but then you don't go to a public library when you want to find a bit of obscure data.

I'll pass (4, Funny)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19176853)

If the storage medium is anything other than a small, transparent, and slightly iridescent cube; then I'm not interested. Discs are so 90's.

Re:I'll pass (1)

Benosaurus (1100067) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177127)

Good point. Hell, we're switching to hot site from tape/disc. The price of active backup is actually LESS than the cost of your typical DR setup (depending on your company's size.)

Re:I'll pass (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177701)

If the storage medium is anything other than a small, transparent, and slightly iridescent cube; then I'm not interested. Discs are so 90's.

How about a little wooden ball with your name on it?

It is all about data transfer speed... (5, Interesting)

ZombieEngineer (738752) | more than 7 years ago | (#19176891)

From the article: Holographic storage offers extremely fast data transfer rates - currently up to 160Mbit/sec, though there are plans to increase this. When you have a multi-Terabyte system to backup AND verify within a short window (say 4 hours), speed trumps price just about every time. What is the cost of NOT having a backup? ZombieEngineer

Next time I'll hit the preview button. (1)

ZombieEngineer (738752) | more than 7 years ago | (#19176915)

From the article:

Holographic storage offers extremely fast data transfer rates - currently up to 160Mbit/sec, though there are plans to increase this.
When you have a multi-Terabyte system to backup AND verify within a short window (say 4 hours), speed trumps price just about every time.

What is the cost of NOT having a backup?

ZombieEngineer

Re:Next time I'll hit the preview button. (1)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 7 years ago | (#19176999)

Personally, I like the first one better.

Re:Next time I'll hit the preview button. (2, Informative)

Znork (31774) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177105)

"speed trumps price just about every time."

Of course, you can build a multiterabyte disk-to-disk backup system with gigabit transferrates out of common of the shelf hardware for less than $1000.

The cost of having backups can certainly be made a lot less than $18000.

Re:Next time I'll hit the preview button. (1)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177385)

More like $18,180 you forgot to add at least 1 disc.

Wonder how long till the RIAA and MPAA sue the company claiming it can be used for piracy , then that will be followed by Microsoft claiming they patented it 50 years ago !

Re:Next time I'll hit the preview button. (1)

simm1701 (835424) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177521)

Yes but you do not build mission critical hardware out of off the shelf components.

You buy high availability systems, usually with redundancy and a rated uptime in the region of 4, 5 or even 6 9's

Take a fairly low end box in this space, a Clariion CX300 - got a small one for testing a couple of years ago for 25k (GBP) with 300Gb of storage (scsi 15k rpm) and thats before putting raid onto them.

Oh and if you want the remote copy software license not only do you need another box at the same price but you'll probably pay more than the hardware price for the software (then add SAN, fibre link to offsite office etc etc)

When the cost of not having a backup restored for 1 hour can be in 7 figures, never mind if its down for a day, then 18k for a drive is pocket change.

Re:Next time I'll hit the preview button. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19178043)

Stop typing your name at the end of posts. Slashdot automatically prints your user ID in the header, and your post is only a few inches in height.

Re:It is all about data transfer speed... (1)

CrimsonScythe (876496) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177027)

But 160Mbit/s is only 20MB/s, at which speed it will take about 8.5 hours to fill the drive. Surely using a new hard drive or RAID at >70MB/s, or a decent tape system, must be much better for backing up on? Though, I guess at $18k one could afford to use a hard drive RAID system to do snapshot on before writing to the holographic storage.

Re:It is all about data transfer speed... (3, Informative)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177035)

Holographic storage offers extremely fast data transfer rates - currently up to 160Mbit/sec, though there are plans to increase this...speed trumps price just about every time.

I could be wrong, but are you implying that people will use this because it's got 160Mbit/sec write time? Keep in mind that this is 20MB/sec. That's a little low for the standard harddrive, and you can increase it by adding more drives in a sequential raid.
If that's the speed, then it absolutely isn't a good reason to use this.

The only advantage this actually has is information density. One 600GB disc is going to be pretty tiny compared to an array of harddrives designed to get the speed up.

Is that worth it for a library or bank? My inclination would be no. A couple hundred harddrives in a SAN is probably a better idea.

The market will be those individuals that absolutely, positively need the discs to be tiny, and nothing else matters. Because this tech isn't going to do anything else better than what we've already got.

I have two words. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19177987)

Offsite. Backups.

Unless you plan to regularly ship a complete SAN offsite, or invest in an entire OC-192 circuit to your offsite storage bunker, I'd imagine burning one or two 600GB discs is an attractive solution. The cost is higher than a LTO backup system[1], and the discs only cost twice as much as a single LTO tape[2] but hold more data[3] and should last a lot longer.

[1]: About $5000-$6000 for an LTO robot.
[2]: $80-$100 for a decent LTO Ultrium 3 tape. Slightly less if you're buying in bulk. Of course tape is re-usable, but if its an archival backup you're doing, re-using them doesn't factor.
[3]: 800GB compressed, 400GB uncompressed on LTO Ultrium 3. These discs are 600GB uncompressed.

Re:It is all about data transfer speed... (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177045)

160 Mbit/sec? That's about 33% of the speed of current hard drives, maximum. Remember, transfer speeds are normally measured in MB/sec (or, more accurately, MiB/sec) not Mbit/sec. And for hard drives there are RAID solutions readily available. The things that might be interesting for customers are reliability, power consumption and (kind of) storage space needed. It might be that these things beat hard drives in these sections. Storage capacity, speed and price of hard drives are definately not yet within reach, it seems.

the drive costs about $18,000 (1)

myspace-cn (1094627) | more than 7 years ago | (#19176901)

"the drive costs about $18,000" to take a saying from David Letterman, "WHAT?!" "WHAT!?"

Re:the drive costs about $18,000 (1, Insightful)

Angelwrath (125723) | more than 7 years ago | (#19176959)

Its a brand new technology, which means that the initial models have to absorb or get allocated a lot of the development costs, and therefore the price restricts the models for only those who can afford it and have a genuine need for it.

Re:the drive costs about $18,000 (1)

dparnass (1004755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177259)

You are hit the nail on the head. Also not only will corporations buy the item but also extremelt wealthy individuals. It is the Wealth individuals and corporations, and at times Governments who use new espensive technology when it first comes out and then as the technology cathces on and gets cheaper and smaller and/or corporations will begin to use it making it cheaper. for example cell phones used to be so expensive only Millionaires could use them and only in major cities. Also they were so large you carried them in a bag. Now they are so small you wwear them on your hip and the contracts make them competative with a land line phone.

Re:the drive costs about $18,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19177167)

> a saying from David Letterman, "WHAT?!" "WHAT!?"

Saying "what" twice is a saying?

I'm so very, very sorry (1)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177395)

Saying "what" twice is a saying?
YYY-EAHHH!

But why? (1)

samael (12612) | more than 7 years ago | (#19176905)

When 1TB hard drives are now making an appearance, why would you spend $18000 on a drive that stores data on expensive 600GB disks?

Re:But why? (4, Interesting)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 7 years ago | (#19176929)

Because magnetic media fails, badly, often, and at any time.
It is in NO way a long term backup solution.

Re:But why? (2, Interesting)

Benosaurus (1100067) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177089)

Because magnetic media fails, badly, often, and at any time.
It is in NO way a long term backup solution.


And you don't expect the first generation of this system to fail?! Heh.

Magnetic doesn't fail as much as you make it sound. We have 100s of TB backed up on 400 GB Tivoli tapes and rarely lose a tape. If we do, its not the media itself... a pin from a tape will get stuck in the drive (from the tape being mishandled -- someone dropped it a few times.) The media itself is still usable.

BTW... our tapes run about $50 each. You can find a 20 TB tape library for under $9K. And yes, it is a long term solution. We've had our Tivoli/ADSM products for 15 years.... and they still work (and so do the tapes.)

Re:But why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19177245)

The major difference is still left unstated.

Magnetic media is fine, when it's engineered for archival purposes. That's why quality magnetic tapes last.

Hard drives should not be used for long-term backup, even in RAID arrays. They're more expensive, they do fail in strange ways, which makes them much better for near-line backups.

Re:But why? (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177279)

Magnetic media fails if it's constantly used. Turn a TB disk off and store it on the shelf, and I doubt it will fail any faster than your average optical storage.

Either way, if you want to be sure about your archived data, forget 'backup' and 'archive' paradigms and keep multiple copies online on live storage where you'll actually note, and can recover from, backing media failures. Live storage is as cheap as media based backups and archives for most dataset sizes and purposes these days, and will only get more so as the driving storage consumers tilts even more into the realm of home use.

Re:But why? (1)

ricebowl (999467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19176963)

Possibly due to the security offered by a non-re-writable medium? I guess if you're certain that the back-ups aren't going to be over-written by the misplaced click of the mouse at some point that might be worth the premium.

Please note that I said 'might'. I can't say I'm entirely confident in that as a benefit worth the price; however if the medium follows the same increases in size as hard drives have then I'm happy to watch. Especially as, I think, the data-recovery from the disk exceeds most other forms of archival media. With the exception, I think, of the HDD.

Frankly I'm just glad to have holographic storage as an option, though I'd still prefer the Superman-style crystals simply for the sheer class and style. Though, apparently, they were never labelled. Which might make back-ups and recovery a problem...

That should make Rimmer happy, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19176923)

will it be compatible with hard-light holograms?

There is a need... (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 7 years ago | (#19176939)

for a high density archival format, but I can't see where this even comes close.

The manufacturer rates it at 50 year archival life, with no specifics about how that number was derived (is that an average? guaranteed for every piece of media? until an error rate of "x" is encountered? under what storage conditions?).

It's a proprietary solution, from a single startup company - what are the odds that a reader is going to exist in 50 years? Note that the manufacturer specifically warns of a lack of backward compatibility when they state "Drive is backward read compatible for three generations; 18-24 months between generations." Having an archive of data which is inaccessible doesn't get you much.

Re:There is a need... (2, Insightful)

mal0rd (323126) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177219)

Thanks for finding the information I was just going to lookup on their website. 50 years may not be optimal, but it's a lot better then the only competitors, hard drives or burned DVDs, which usually fail under 10 years. The fact that it's write-once is another plus, since even software bugs can't damage the data.

Your other point is valid, but secondary. If your DVDs or HDDs have degraded beyond readability, they're useless no matter how many readers you have. And if the life-span of the reader is longer then the life-span of a DVD or HDD, then you don't even need to worry about availability, since you store a few readers along with the disc. With a standard interface like USB mass storage or SATA it'll surely still be usable for decades.

What makes you think... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177551)

that their "50 year" life is any more accurate than the "100 year" life [verbatim-europe.com] given for recordable DVDs? You just claimed that DVD lifetime is overstated by 10x.

Write once does not imply that the content cannot be damaged, or even that the media can't be written to further, only that it cannot be written with useful information (e.g. it may be possible to change bits from 0 to 1, but not the reverse).

Why do you think storing a few $18K readers would have better results in a obtaining a working device 50 years later than simply storing a number of hard drives? MTBF is based on power-on hours, and hardware is hardware. You offer nothing to back up your implication that (unpowered, properly stored) HDD's have short lifetimes.

Re:There is a need... (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177457)

Evidence 1:
The manufacturer rates it at 50 year archival life, with no specifics about how that number was derived

Evidence 2:
Despite being available in research for over 40 years, it is only commercialised now

It's obvious: they just wrote few discs and waited to see what happens.

Re:There is a need... (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177645)

It's a proprietary solution, from a single startup company - what are the odds that a reader is going to exist in 50 years?

Just to clarify, CD/DVD/HD-DVD/BluRay - they are all proprietary solutions in the full meaning of the word.

Your second point has more merit, since this would look better if theys truck few partnership deals to create those drives/media, versus produce everything themselves.

But since it's pretty much a tight niche market yet, I suppose the big players were not interested (yet).

Pedantic... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177817)

I obviously meant "proprietary" in the practical sense. CD/DVD, etc. are well documented and have a high level of compatibility across a large selection of manufacturers, both for media and recorders/readers.
Haven't the early patents on CDs (which were introduced to the market in the early 1980's) expired? CD-R was introduced in 1988, so even those patents may have expired (or will shortly), at which point the format will no longer be proprietary, even in the pedantic sense.

In any case, CD and DVD technologies are sufficiently documented to the public that a reader could be made at any time in the future, if needed. Such cannot be said about the storage solution being discussed, which is not publically documented, so a user must rely entirely upon a single private manufacturer for ongoing support.

I'd just wait for Blu-Ray or HD-DVD to be cheaper (1)

zukinux (1094199) | more than 7 years ago | (#19176945)

30 GB in average for 1 disc of hd-dvd or blu-ray, so why would I want a 18,000$ drive ?
I guess a package of 50 Discs will cost 50 $ at the beginning and 30*50 = 1500 GB, so I guess I will be waiting for HD-DVD / Blu-Ray rw drives to become cheaper and I will use that kind of solution for my storage of which I'm not having, and getting well with my /home 80GB Partition as it is today.

Re:I'd just wait for Blu-Ray or HD-DVD to be cheap (1)

zpeterz63 (851922) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177393)

You'd use the disks for the same reason you would use blu-ray instead of DVD or DVD instead of CD. When you're archiving a lot of data it is much nicer to only have to use one disk verses ten. Keep in mind, with these prices these are not being aimed at individuals. Like the post says it is being aimed more at businesses and such.

lifespan of discs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19176955)

Anyone know how long these disks are expected to last (not vendor-supplied marketing mush, but tested, say by NIST)?

I can see a lot of applications for large, write-once storage that is very fast if it is reliable and lasts for several years.
Too bad it is not re-writable for rotating backups.

Also, if this is successful, the price should drop (remember the first CD-R drives for 2K for a 2X Kodak the size of a complete PC and media at $15 or so in volume).

Uses? (1)

CriminalNerd (882826) | more than 7 years ago | (#19176975)

Personally, I think the only uses for a 600GB write-only-once drive are backups, a DYI Nuclear Weapons for Rising Countries Kit (or similar content), taking "snapshots" of the Internet, and storing the known digits of pi, largest prime numbers, and other interesting numbers.

Then again, there's also the thought about using them for file-servers, and server logs, but seriously, one-writes are not really that attractive given the price tags. Hopefully, the re-writable media/technology will be available within the next few years. (at a cheap price too).

A real product? (4, Interesting)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 7 years ago | (#19176995)

Wow, a real product. Every time I read about holographic storage, particularly on Slashdot, it's in the same sort of context in which you'd read about quantum computing or Star Trek-style teleportation. Like this: "Scientists at (fill in name of university) have managed to get (name of particle) to (some verb), a first step toward what could one day be practical (quantum computing, space elevators, carbon nanotube frisbees, or whatever). They used a (system you'd never be able to afford) to (do something even your grandkids won't be able to do), and predict that the process will be commercially viable in (about the same amount of time it will take us all to get cold fusion reactors installed in our cars)." Nice to see something like this actually come to market!

Re:A real product? (3, Insightful)

squizzar (1031726) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177209)

I agree with the parent on this. At least it's not vapourware.

Always the same debate with new technologies, especially storage - too expensive, something else is better etc. etc. Goes all the way back to floppy disks vs. ethernet. The first hard drives were around 20Mb, and cost a lot more than the 15 or so floppies they replaced.

What would be great is if someone knowledgeable had a look at the technology and made an educated guess as to whether it will be cheap in mass production. I'm pretty sure the first CDR disks weren't cheap. Tapes still aren't that cheap given their simplicity and speed. A far more useful analysis would be whether this technology could be made cheap when mass produced. If it can then it is a contender, if not then it's a waste of time.

Help me... (4, Funny)

Yonder Way (603108) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177023)

...Obi-Wan Kenobi; you're my only hope!

Re:Help me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19177681)

Get her back

40 years to develop and still 5 years behind... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19177109)

"Low cost media"... $180 for 600Gb - so roughly the same price as a 500Gb Firewire then?...

"Holographic technology is poised to become the next-generation solution..." - No it isn't.

With hard drive technology the way it is, who in their right mind doesn't use external hard drives for backup storage? Tapes should be allowed to die the horrible death they deserve... As should $18000 drives and $180 media...

Typo (0, Offtopic)

dekkerdreyer (1007957) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177115)

"What avout the price?"

Oi! What avout it?

Everything You Know is a Hologram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19177143)

"Johnny, I don't know how to tell you this, but everything you know it is a hologram. It is stored in 600 GB chunks on flat disc in another reality."

"Woe"

Ultra high definition media (3, Interesting)

Koookiemonster (1099467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177285)

One potential use I can think of is selling/renting really high definition movies, TV series or collections of movies. For example, 10 seasons of "Friends" in ultra high definition would surely take up a lot of space. For that use a single disc with a huge capacity is perfect.

The disc in question is much more elegant and cool than a stack of bulky, noisy hard disks. Elegant and cool may sound petty, but they sell for certain kinds of people with too much money. They even sell RCA cables for more than $18,000.

Forget the capacity... (3, Funny)

macraig (621737) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177365)

... holographic storage will be soooo much better for saving pr0n.

I want one!! (1)

RoboJ1M (992925) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177453)

The first holographic products are certainly not mass-market

I have a TiB of HDD space at home and my current backups require 20 DVD5s

I do hope it's mass market soon.

J1M.

Re:I want one!! (1)

swilver (617741) | more than 7 years ago | (#19178049)

I assume you mean 200 DVD's -- the exact reason why I just use hard drives for backup :)

Good looking technology. (2, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177523)

I hope InPhase can net some capital on their end so they can work on lowering the price.

I can see installing an autochanger using Inphase Tapestry based technology as a dedicated solution in large corporations to permanently archive large amounts of data. This would be installed side-by-side with existing technologies such as DLT 600 tape which would be used for rewritability.

I'm just glad to see something on the market after the decades of idle promises on holographic storage.

Holographic Robots (0)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177549)

a 600GB disc will cost around $180 (£90), and the drive costs about $18,000


Well, 50GB Blu-Ray discs cost about $40, a 5-pack about $180 for only 250GB across multiple discs.

Blu-Ray drives cost about $8-900, but again, they're only 50GB. To get 600GB, 12 discs, you need a 200-disc changer that costs around $20K [emedialive.com] , which isn't nearly the integration/convenience of 600GB.

Sony will release a 200-BD changer for probably around $2-3K any day. But that will drive these holodisc drives down to probably about $10K, while the discs remain around $150. Until BD-R is priced as mainstream use. Since the vast majority of recordable optical is still just CD, not even DVD, that won't be for a while. BD-R drives will probably be $100 by next year (maybe in a $1K changer), with 50GB discs maybe $20. While the holodiscs will cost maybe $100 or so, a drive maybe $5K.

But at that rate, a 200-holodisc changer will cost something like $25K, containing 120TB at ($25K + (200 * 100) = $45K) $0.375:GB, competitive with HD prices. But 240TB in a two loads will bring $0.271:GB, and 0.96PB in 17 loads brings $0.17:GB at very high density, etc.

What would really make these changers affordable for really mass storage would be converting them into "changer tubs", with a robot un/loading/swapping tubs in a large multidimensional array, probably with a few drives for some parallel access. $1M should deliver a few PB loaded and 4-8 drives, with room for another $1M/4PB loadable into tubs. $2M for 7PB is $0.28:GB, competitive with today's HDs.

Though by that time HDs will be cheaper and much faster (especially if they start to include some of this holo tech), but perhaps not as flexible. The discs will be cheaper, too, so maybe it's more like $500K for that 7PB.

But I wonder whether we'll see a race in robotic arrays, or in multidimensional holographics. I'd like to test them out on my 200-CD/DVD-R changer right now, if any roboticist wants to pitch in.

Their site (2, Interesting)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177569)

Is amusing. It's got the pointless wave abstract graphics I usually see on sites with nothing to say (now, of course, I'm not claiming this, these guys seem serious in general).

Their slogan is "data at the speed of light". Because, they use lasers and holographic technology, do you get it? It's a very smart slogan.

But the reason I'm writing this post is this site reminded me of the International Association of Virtual Reality Technologies (IAVRT) which was supposed to bring Neuronet upon us, and they wamnted to fund this by selling "neuronet domains". They have shut down for a "few weeks" until they hit some major partnerships. Quite some months have passed since.

Check their domain page still with the same message (and notice the uncanny similarities in design with InPhase Technologies):

Wavy green lines header [iavrt.org]

Bottom line is, wavy green lines aren't very convincing, we need high res demos of icy cubes storing TB of data, come on!

Why use discs?? (1)

Rycochet (1006897) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177607)

As it says in the article it doesn't need to be disc shaped (read the bit about replacing flash ram) - so why are they bothering to do something the same size/shape as a normal cd??

Wouldn't it be nicer to do it as something the same size/shape as a credit card that could fit in a 3.5" bay - with space left over. Get it to a decent small size, large enough to be handy and not easily lost, but small enough that it's not bulky, then get it into the open...

Ok, it might not be able to store 600 gigs on a credit card sized area, but should be able to do 3-400 gigs easily, and I for one would be a lot more interested...

Still couldn't afford it though ;-)

I saw this in a commerical before... (1)

MasterGwaha (1033282) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177679)

It was for the PS9, they use it to store redundant textures and Nasal Data.

We need a new HTML/XML tag for currency values (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177709)

[...] a 600GB disc will cost around $180 (£90) [...]
How about some kind of tag with the amount, the currency and the date? That way, the browser could show us the value in our own currency, checked against the exchange rate for that day?

Re:We need a new HTML/XML tag for currency values (1)

ButcherCH (822663) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177841)

There is a firefox extension that does this: http://viewmycurrency.wordpress.com/ [wordpress.com]

What avout the price? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19177721)

JEEZ, get a spell check, IDITOS!

Fall into hemispheric bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19177775)

...launching its 600 GB write-once disk and a drive this fall.

The Guardian article was stupid enough when it used "Autumn" to mean "fairly late in the year", thus forcing us to guess which hemisphere the writer was talking about (hint: it is Autumn now for some of us). But at least he had the excuse that he probably had the (UK) print issue of the newspaper in mind rather than the (international) online version.

The Slashdot poster was even dumber when he failed to correct the nonsensical time reference and instead made it worse by replacing it with an ambiguous and dialectal term. All in all, his sentence is barely comprehensible.

Vellum Is the Best Archiving Material (1)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177809)

Forget about all this hollow graphic stuff!
For $18,000 you can buy a lot of vellum (the stuff that very very very old books are made from), or even parchments, and print the 600gb of data onto that! It won't go away for thousands of years!
And, if you find a nice dry cave and some large clay pots, it'll preserve them for thousands of years!

Google will want a lot of these (1)

geekinaseat (1029684) | more than 7 years ago | (#19177847)

Well maybe not this exact product but holographic storage has fantastic pottential for search.

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