300 Gigabyte Holographic Storage Devices
The idea of being able to store 300 GB or all of the music, picture, and movie data that I have on my several hard drives in one place on a removable disk is incredible. I have thought so for the past several years. The promise of a quick, removable, rewritable, massive storage medium has been the holy grail for which companies have been seeking. It has been about five years since the first time I heard about holographic storage techniques. DVD uses some of these methods, but it looks like a company called InPhase has made strides.
There are of course drawbacks. The biggest is definately that the discs themselves are larger than the current DVD size. This poses a problem for backward compatability with existing DVDs. This could probably be worked around, but it is just strange to have differing sizes for discs. It was always very nice that all DVD players could accept CDs, and that DVD burners could always burn CDs at around the same speed of dedicated CD burners, and that it was always pretty easy to anticipate the size of the systems that would be used to record and read those discs.
The other drawback to all removable media has been its transfer rate. This is what keeps hard drives at the top of all non-volatile storage mediums. The fastest flash memory storage is around 30 MBps, where hard drives can transer data from the disk to thte memory at a rate of about 50 – 55 MBps over SATA. It looks like this new technology can transfer data at about 1 Gbps, which translates to about 100 MBps. Not bad, in fact once paired with a drive controller and the overhead of error correction, it should be a little faster than regular hard drives.