Maxell to launch holographic storage next year

Maxell to launch holographic storage next year

Summary: The technology dream of storing terabytes of data on a single disk has taken a step closer to reality

TOPICS: Storage

Information storage media company Maxell has said it will launch its first holographic storage products in September 2006. The first drive will have a capacity of 300GB and a throughput of 160Mbps.

Holographic storage works by storing information using light-sensitive crystals. Because it uses the whole volume of the disk, not just the surface, it's possible to store much more information than is possible on a DVD.

With a single holographic disk able to store 1.6 million high-resolution colour photos or over 240 hours of TV broadcast, holographic storage is starting to draw the attention of many in the IT industry.

"Holographic media makes it possible for millions of pages of information and high definition images to be held on one small, relatively inexpensive disc," said Steven Pofcher, senior marketing manager at Maxell.

"Imagine having a person's entire medical history, complete with MRI images, or storing a broadcast network's entire HD [high-definition] Library on a single disc. These are both possible with holographic technology, which has such large capacity that approximately half a million 300-page books can be stored on a single disc."

Holographic recording technology uses intersecting signal and reference laser beams to store data in a number of 3D holographic images.

According to Maxell, one 13cm optical disc can store up to 150 million pages — more than 63 times the capacity of DVD.

Earlier this month, Turner Entertainment's vice-president of broadcast technology Ron Tarasoff said his company is planning to sell holographic disks that will retail for $100, and which in five years time will have a capacity of 1.6TB each.

"That's pretty inexpensive," said Tarasoff. "Even the first versions can store 300GB per disk, and it has 160Mbps data throughput rates. That's burning. Then combine it with random access, and it's the best of all worlds."

The technology also has an impressive lineage. Hitachi-owned Maxell is working with InPhase Technologies, a subsidiary of Lucent, which has led development of holographic media.

Maxell's proposed holographic storage diskMaxell's proposed holographic storage disk drive
The proposed disk and drive

Topic: Storage


Colin Barker is based in London and is Senior Reporter for ZDNet. He has been writing about the IT business for some 30-plus years. He still enjoys it.

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  • SONY would have to scrape their nails on a blackboard to get my attention for their Blue Ray product after this ship.

    DBS = Don't Buy SONY
  • I'll be curious as to how robust the actual media is, and if it'll remain in its caddie form (I hope it does).

    And yes, I do think Sony will be very upset about this...

    Same goes for the HD consortium.

    But after Sony's latest stunt, I'm all for upsetting them.
  • Sounds great but how robust will it be and how readily available also, Will the disk be rewritable and how long will one disc last?
  • ferroelctric holographic nanostorage will
    change data storage forever when it comes on the market.

    the possibilites for the consumer and business will open many new avenues.

    here is a website for the most dense storage.
  • it's all relative: i don't think the world is ready for it.

    why would we want a 100ghz procesor that costs 100x a current procesor and no application can benefit from it?