Is the time right for optical storage?


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Where optical works best

When optical isn't optimal
Despite the success organizations like DigiLink and The Dallas Morning News are having with optical and the emergence of new optical formats, optical storage still poses some problems for

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storage managers. To begin with, "you need some management tools in the storage system to work with the jukebox," says HP's Sas.

Another concern is the number of optical technologies and the frequent rate of change. Today, organizations can choose among MO, UDO and DVD. Coming soon will be greater density UDO and DVD, as well as holographic storage. And Sony Electronics Inc. is pushing another standard, Professional Disc for Data (PDD), which offers 23.3GB of rewritable capacity and a very attractive cost per gigabyte. Ostensibly for consumer usage, Sony has been signaling that it may direct it to the data storage market as well, and will introduce it this year to the broadcast industry. Faced with this confusing array of optical options, storage managers might just decide to continue to use tape until magnetic disk prices drop enough to become competitive with optical. In addition, optical requires bringing in yet another class of storage system.

Forces such as the continuing reduction in the cost of magnetic disk are working to undermine today's neatly aligned optical storage opportunity. But right now, optical storage has a window in which to establish a compelling value proposition and make itself an indispensable part of the enterprise storage infrastructure.

This was first published in June 2005

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