Folio Photonics has announced new advances in materials science that it says will pave the way for ultra-high-capacity and low-cost optical disc cartridges.
The data storage company claims to have developed the first “cost-effective enterprise-scale optical storage drives with dynamic multi-tier read / write capabilities”, delivering a dramatic cost-per-capacity improvement.
Modern archive disks only have three optical layers per side, but the breakthrough achieved by Folio Photonics allows up to 16 layers to be applied to each disk surface, greatly increasing capacity.
More capacity, lower price
At the back of the breakthrough, Folio Photonics will shift its focus from research to product development, with the first plates set to hit the market in 2024.
Initially the company’s 10-disk cartridges will have a capacity of 10TB (1TB per drive), but the ability to add additional tiers will allegedly allow the drives to scale quickly to “multi-TB capacity”.
“Our talented engineering team is pioneering a new approach to optical memory that overcomes historic limitations and delivers unprecedented benefits in terms of cost, cybersecurity and sustainability,” said Steven Santamaria, CEO of Folio Photonics. “Thanks to these advantages, Folio Photonics can change the trajectory of archiving.”
These optimistic predictions were echoed by analyst John Monroe, a former Gartner, who said the company is “on the path to generating a much higher data density than was thought possible a few years ago.”
As the amount of data generated by internet activity, digital devices, IoT sensors and general business operations continues to grow rapidly, large companies are expected to invest heavily in archival storage.
Currently, Linear Tape-Open (LTO) magnetic tape rules the roost, with the lowest cost per capacity of any technology. However, the tape also has its weaknesses; data can only be accessed serially, making it difficult to locate specific files, and companies also need to migrate to a new tape on a regular basis to avoid data loss.
The emergence of an ultra-cheap new form of archival storage can therefore have a significant impact. The disc inserts, enabled by the new Folio Photonics technology, are to be faster than tapes, resistant to radiation, salt water, humidity and temperature fluctuations, and have a service life of approximately 100 years. They also support write once, read multiple (WORM) use cases. For the price comparison, Folio costs $ 5 per TB, while LTO-9 is around $ 8.30 per TB.
“Archived data usually does not change, presents itself as” one-time saving “and requires immutability. At the same time, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Big Data Analytics are increasing the activity and availability requirements for archival storage systems, ”added Fred Moore, president of Horison Information Strategies, consulting firm.
“As a result, the demand for invariant active archives will only increase as immutability and higher performance requirements change the exploding secondary storage paradigm.”