At only 9.1GB, current 5.25" Magneto-Optical (MO) technology doesn't take storage professionals where they need to go, capacity-wise. But this winter should see shipments of 23GB and 30GB optical storage products from Sony and Plasmon, respectively.
Last month, Sony began shipping its Professional Disc for Data (PD) optical drives to its partners, which are expected to begin shipping products this quarter. PD is based on the same 5.25" half-height format as MO. It features 11MB/s data transfers and 23.3GB capacity on the single-sided media, and a road map out to 100GB and 43MB/s transfer rate. PD media has a list price of between $45 and $50.
Plasmon too, is out with its Ultra Density Optical (UDO) drive, also a 5.25" drive, with 30GB capacity across two sides, with 8MB/s data transfers. 120GB capacities are expected in 2007. Initial media pricing is expected at around $2/GB, or about $60 per cartridge.
Both Plasmon and Sony see their respective optical disks as shoe-ins in industries such as healthcare, where radiologists create vast quantities of large image files that need to be stored for decades.
"Everything that used to go to film is now going digitally," says Michael Hall, Sony PD business development manager.