This Obscure Startup Wants To Kill Blu-ray, The Tape With A ‘Cheap’ 1TB Optical Disc

Folio Photonics has announced new advances in materials science that it believes will pave the way for ultra-high capacity, low-cost optical disc cartridges.

The data storage company claims to have developed the first “economically viable, enterprise-scale optical storage drives with dynamic multi-layer write/read capabilities”, delivering dramatic improvement in cost per capacity.

Modern archival discs only have three optical layers per side, but Folio Photonics’ breakthrough allows up to 16 layers to be applied to each surface of a disc, dramatically increasing capacity.

Larger storage capacity, lower price

Building on this breakthrough, Folio Photonics will shift its focus from research to product development, with the first drives expected to hit the market in 2024.

Initially, the company’s ten-disc cartridges will be 10TB capacity (1TB per disc), but the ability to add further layers will supposedly allow the discs to scale quickly to “multi-TB capacities. “.

“Our talented team of engineers has developed a new approach to optical storage that overcomes historical constraints and puts unprecedented advantages in cost, cybersecurity and durability within reach,” said Steven Santamaria, CEO of Folio Photonics. “With these advantages, Folio Photonics is poised to reshape the trajectory of archival storage.”

These bullish predictions were echoed by analyst John Monroe, formerly of Gartner, who said the company is “on track to spawn data densities far greater than thought possible several years ago. years”.

As the volume of data produced by internet activity, digital devices, IoT sensors, and general business operations continues to grow at an aggressive rate, large enterprises should invest heavily in archival storage.

Currently, Linear Tape-Open (LTO) magnetic tape reigns supreme, with the lowest cost per capacity of any technology. However, the band also has its weaknesses; data is only accessible in serial form, making it difficult to locate specific files, and businesses also need to migrate to new tapes on a semi-regular basis to avoid data loss.

The arrival of a new form of ultra-cheap archival storage therefore has the potential to have a material impact. Folio Photonics’ new technology-enabled disc cartridges are designed to be faster than tape, resistant to radiation, salt water, humidity and temperature fluctuations, and provide approximately 100 year. They will also support write-once-read-many (WORM) use cases. For a price comparison, Folio costs $5 per TB, while LTO-9 costs around $8.30 per TB.

“Archival data is typically immutable, presenting itself as ‘write-once’ and requiring immutability. At the same time, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and big data analytics are increasing business and accessibility requirements for archival storage systems,” added Fred. Moore, president of consulting firm Horison Information Strategies.

“As a result, the demand for immutable active archives will only increase as immutability and higher performance requirements reshape the explosive secondary storage paradigm.”

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