holographic disk drive

A holographic disk drive is a holographic storage device that uses a laser to store data to optical media in three dimensions, maximizing storage capacity by using the media's depth. Most optical media, such as CD, DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray only offer bit-at-a-time surface or dual-layer writing capacity. A holographic versatile disk HVD is just slightly larger than a DVD and can store 30 times as much data.

InPhase Technologies announced that they would release the first commercially available holographic drive in May 2008. InPhase's drive, the tapestry, costs $18,000 (USD). The first version of the storage media, which cost $180, holds 300 gigabytes (GB) of data on a 5.25-inch-wide, 3.5-millimeter-thick disk contained in a cartridge. The media is currently write once read many (WORM). InPhase plans to create a re- writable version.

Features of the tapestry drive and media include:

  • An archive life of 50 years.
  • Does not require strict control of temperature and humidity levels.
  • Better data recovery: The holographic nature of the stored data page mean that the whole can be recreated from a fragment.
  • 20-120 megabytes per second (MBps) transfer rate.
  • Compatibility with existing small computer systems interface (SCSI), Fibre Channel (FC) and Ethernet interfaces.
  • Potential future capacities up to 1.6 terabytes.

Although the first tapestry devices and disks are not practical for the average consumer, they may be a viable option for the targeted video and film archive market as an alternative to using and storing 35mm film. InPhase plans to release drives and media for the consumer market within the next few years.

This was last updated in April 2008

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