back to article GE boosts micro-holo storage to Blu-ray speed

Boffins at GE have come up with a material that might one day be used to record 20 Blu-rays' worth of data on a single disc at the same speed that data is recorded on BD-Rs today. The announcement comes from GE's Holographic Data Storage project, which has been working on the techniques and technologies need to realise über- …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They will need to do better than that

    Bluray has already been shown working with 500gb disks, though I don't think a 500gb spec has been set yet. And researchers have speculated bluray could reach 5tb per disk.

    If they want to unseat Bluray then they will have to do much better than bluray, not just match it.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Good'ol days...

    ...when you could backup all your stuff in a single media. But now it will take 32 hours...


    I'll take the external USB3 HDD, please. The 1TB one.

    Now Hollywood can crap another one with DRM and copy protection and let mere mortals use BD-R at mortal (and not deadly) prices. They won't care if it takes 32 hours to get it recorded. How about movies in 8k or 16k?

    Even better, forbid Hollywood to crap on this one and leave Blu-ray to them. Sometimes I want to make a copy of large stuff to friends, but not leaving my portable HDD behind with them.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Nice by useless

    We're all thinking that maybe we can return to making reliable backups on cheap media, sadly I can imagine by the time this gets to market, if ever, the average home machine will be stuffed with 10TB sized drives and off we go around the merry-go-round again. Of course this assumes we're not all mind-warped by aliens and decide to upload all our stuff into somebody's "cloud"!

    1. Nigel 11

      Reliable backup, cheap media

      You can today. It's to another hard disk. An external drive the same size as your internal drive (or somewhat bigger if you maintain some degree of archive of deleted data ).

      Yes, disks are slightly fragile. You'll therefore invest in two or more of them. One to be making the backup to, while the other(s) is(are) in its padded box in your offsite storage location's data safe, or whatever lesser degree of security you deem acceptable for a home machine.

      Don't forget to do a disk integrity test as part of your backup-update operation to catch if longtime-stored data is suffering bit-rot. Copying the entire disk to the null device to check readability is one option. If the disk suddenly bricks itself, that's why you have more backup disks.

      Too much work? Maybe. But don't blame hardware for laziness.

  4. fishman

    Bad BD

    I've been following BD media in hopes of using it to backup my personal videos and photos. Sadly it seems that writable BD disks are not better than DVDs or CDs in terms of long term storage - some people have had them go bad in as little as a few months.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't get it

    Why is storage stuff still rotating? Why are they making NEW storage stuff that has to rotate? Surely it's a pain in the arse to implement?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: I don't get it

      if you're looking at removable media then generally if you want to store stuff anywhere you either have to move the stuff, or the equipment doing the writing ... unless you're looking at battery backed up ram, or flash then you need movement (removable flash generally doesn't have the speed you require to watch high res/quality movies without some buffering)

      If you are using a medium that requires movement it's a whole lot easier to move the media than it is the writer, and generally it's a lot quicker ... can you imaging keeping a DVD still and moving the read head at the speed that the DVD turns in a drive.

      If you have better Ideas feel free to enlighten the community :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ok, you've got me

        I failed to take into account that the disk is already spinning for most data access. I had visions of an array of heads arranged like a scanner bulb, moving up and down a platter.

        It's not my idea, but I remember a few years ago (when SSD technology was still future tech) there was some development into a a stop-gap solution for seek time and RW speeds.

        The plan was to make the hard drive platter square instead of round and have a plate of read/write heads over it. Each read head was only ever a couple of mil away from any sector it had responsibility for.

        The idea was that the plate would only have to move that couple of mil in two dimensions, drastically reducing seek times and the read heads would read and write in parallel, improving read/write speeds.

        I'd imagine it would be a noisy bugger though. Still, you wouldn't have to worry so much about wear leveling and difficulties with secure deletion. It's a shame it didn't take off.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      It's something called cost per bit (or on this scale cost per MB).

      It's also to do with how fast it drops once production volume ramps up.

      And if components fail in the device (that's the drive/storage media *combined*) how will that affect your ability to recover the data.

      People were talking about the end of hard drives with the arrival of this new (and *simple*) magnetic bubble memory technology.

      That was the 1970's.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    I remember some CD-R writers...

    having 2 or 3 set of lenses with independent driver heads, so each set would read 1/2 or 1/3 of the drive. Claimed recording speed for CDs: 100x.

    (That would be like a HDD having two needles assembled back-to-back.)

    I just fail to remember the name of the company that did it.

  7. Stefan 2

    About time something came along

    It's been a while since optical media was actually a fairly cost-efficient way to archive data. Currently, your bang-for-buck ratio peaks nicely at a 2TB HD.

    Of course, when these fancy holo spinny things come to market, each one will cost £50. The same price as a 3TB HD, no doubt.

  8. Christian Berger

    Reminds me of something we had in Germany

    Back in the 1960s-1970s, when video tape recorders were still considered to be to expensive and to hard to be used by laypeople, some German companies introduced the next thing to be. It was called "Bildplatte" (image record), and essentially a record spinning a lot faster with a lot finer groove, so you could store information on and scan it mechanically, just like a record player.

    Just like GE, they used dead-end technology to solve a problem already solved by other technologies.

    GE should have considered solving the existing problems of DVDs, like the problem that they aren't long term stable. A single layer DVD which lasts a lifetime and can be read by standard DVD-drives is far more useful than some specialized 500 gigabyte disk system where the disk probably costs more than a whole harddrive of the same size.

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