Folio Photonics has unveiled a new material science breakthrough that it claims will pave the way for super high-capacity, low-cost optical disc cartridges.
The data storage startup claims to have created the first economically feasible, enterprise-scale optical storage discs with dynamic multi-layer write/read capabilities, resulting in a significant decrease in cost per capacity.
Modern archival discs have just three optical layers per side, but Folio Photonics’ discovery allows up to 16 layers to be placed to each disc surface, considerably boosting capacity.
Due to the discovery, Folio Photonics will shift its focus from research to product development, with the first discs scheduled to hit the market in 2024.
The company’s ten-disc cartridges would initially have a capacity of 10TB (1TB per disc). Still, the ability to add additional layers will allegedly allow discs to expand swiftly into “multi-TB capacities.”
“Our talented engineering team has pioneered a fresh approach to optical storage that overcomes historical constraints and puts unheard of cost, cybersecurity, and sustainability benefits within reach,” Steven Santamaria, Folio Photonics CEO, told TechRadar.
“With these advantages, Folio Photonics is poised to reshape the trajectory of archive storage.”
These positive expectations were mirrored by former Gartner analyst John Monroe, who stated that the firm is “on a path to engendering far greater data densities than was thought viable some years ago.”
As the amount of data produced by internet activity, smart devices, IoT sensors, and ordinary business activities continues to expand rapidly, large companies are expected to spend significantly on archive storage. The best technology today, with the cheapest cost per capacity, is linear tape-open (LTO) magnetic tape.
However, the tape also has drawbacks, including the inability to identify specific files since data can only be accessed sequentially and the requirement for businesses to switch to new tape on a semi-regular basis to prevent data loss.
The introduction of a low-cost new type of archival storage has the potential to have a significant impact. The disc cartridges enabled by Folio Photonics’ new technology are expected to be quicker than tape and resistant to radiation, seawater, humidity, and temperature variations. They have a lifespan of around 100 years. In addition, they will enable write once, read many (WORM) use scenarios.
LTO-9 costs about $8.30 per TB, whereas Folio costs $5 per TB.