A greener data storage disc

It wasn’t all that long ago I used to back up all my critical business files onto a few 3.5″ floppy discs. Then CD’s came along and I thought I’d never fill one up with a single backup. Nowadays I have to back up onto a DVD.

In fact, if I was still using 3.5″ floppy discs; I’d need over 1400 of them for each backup!

Data storage technology has sure come a long way and GE Global Research yesterday announced the next major breakthrough in the development of optical storage technology.

GE researchers have demonstrated a micro-holographic disc the same size of a DVD, but with 500 gigabytes of storage capacity. This is equivalent to the capacity of 20 single-layer Blu-ray discs or 100 DVDs.

DVDs only store information only on the surface of the disc; whereas holographic storage technology uses the entire volume of the disc material.

GE has its sights set on the commercial archival industry, but then they’ll be hitting the consumer market with its micro-holographic storage technology.

Aside from needing a new burner/reader to run these discs, which no doubt will be horribly expensive initially, this is a great leap forward. I’m looking at my Season 3 X-Files DVDs right now – a bulky box set with 7 DVDs and their accompanying hard plastic jackets – all that could be put on a single micro-holographic disc – with stacks of room to spare.

This would mean less weight in transportation and less plastic material used; so less petro-chemicals and less plastic hanging around for generations to come.

I’d hate to think how many DVDs are churned out annually, but the micro-holographic disc; while not made of earth friendly materials itself, would certainly be a considerable resource saver and reduce the impact that data storage media has on the environment.