Sony and Panasonic promise archival discs storing 300GB-1TB

Sony and Panasonic promise archival discs storing 300GB-1TB

Summary: Optical discs have been left behind by the rapid growth in storage requirements, but Archival Discs may get Sony and Panasonic back in the game with 300GB discs next year and 1TB on the way.


Sony and Panasonic have announced a new archival disc format, which will store 300GB using double-sided, triple-layer optical discs "from summer 2015". The companies' roadmap anticipates this being increased to 500GB and then 1TB per disc. Today's Blu-ray discs — which were also developed by Sony and Panasonic — typically store 50GB or 100GB.

Sony's announcement says: "In recent times, demand for archival capabilities has increased significantly in the film industry, as well as in cloud data centres that handle big data, where advances in network services have caused data volumes to soar.

"The two companies plan to actively promote this next-generation high-capacity optical disc standard in the professional field in order to offer an effective solution for protecting valuable data into the future."

It also mentions "inter-generational compatibility between different formats, ensuring that data can continue to be read even as formats evolve", though it doesn't say if the new drives will be able to read Blu-ray. However, this is unlikely to be important to the target market.

TDK showed 1TB Blu-ray discs in 2010. However, this capacity was achieved by recording on 16 layers, exceeding the thickness allowed in the Blu-ray specification. TDK told Tech-On that "its commercialisation depends on disc manufacturers", but it doesn't appear to have had any takers.

The real competition at the moment may be Amazon Glacier. Amazon says that "customers can reliably store large or small amounts of data for as little as $0.01 per gigabyte per month, a significant savings compared to on-premises solutions".


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Topics: Storage, Data Management, Hardware

Jack Schofield

About Jack Schofield

Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first website and, in 2001, its first real blog. When the printed section was dropped after 25 years and a couple of reincarnations, he felt it was a time for a change....

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  • Speed

    I primarily care about speed, not storage size. Nowadays every home who needs to store a few TB of data has a NAS. They operate at 100 MByte/s* - give me a disk that's slower and I won't buy.

    *10 GBit networks will probably hit the consumer market in force by 2016, so the discs need to be even faster to compete.
    • How long with that NAS last?

      I've got nearly 500GB of data on my NAS that I want to remove, but won't remove it because I'm afraid the Bluray backups I made will just stop working one day. I've had a DVD-R full of digital photos fail for no apparent reason. The disc was kept in a binder, out of sunlight, had no visible damage, and had been accessed before. Fortunately, I had published these pictures, but the digital files are gone forever.
      I need a archive media I can trust. This proposal sounds like it could work if they really mean it when they call it "archival" media.
  • Speed is not relevant for archival disks

    What people need is lower cost and higher density. It takes 20 Bluray discs to archive data off a 1TB disk drive, and that turns into a warehouse full of disks when you are talking about petabyte arrays like we have.

    A big part of the problem is the patent and licensing roadblocks put in place by Sony; no other company wants to invest in optical technology if they are going to be attacked over every little thing that says "optical" on it.
    terry flores
  • Need optical archival solution

    Coming from the Magnetoptical discs, the hard disks I use for backup are great for convenience, speed and short-term reliability. The sad thing is, the average lifespan of active hard disk is about five years, ten if you are lucky and don't use it that much. Having several hard disks experiencing failure forced me to back up most important data on archival grade DVD (JVC brand, Made in Japan). These are not the $5 for 50 type of cheap discs, the dye and construction are better and long-lasting. I have very scratched Kodak SilverPlus CD-R from 1999 and it is still readable! On-line backup is also okay, but who knows if the company will be around in a decade. I think offline backup to multiple hard disk, and archival grade optical disc is optimal. I can't wait for these large capacity discs to come out.
  • Does these means

    New disc writer needed?