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back to article HDS bigwigs gaze into optical storage at IEEE storage confab

Hitachi Data Systems is thinking about optical storage; its director of strategy, Ken Wood, chaired a revival session on Optical Storage Technologies at the 2013 IEEE Massive Storage Conference held at the Queen Mary Hotel in Long Beach, California. The Queen Mary Hotel is not a building but the old Cunard ocean liner of that …

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Thinking outside the (magnetic) box

Absolutely something like this will have a place in archival storage. We're storing more data longer thanks to the need to keep historic copies of data for compliance reasons, and the "never delete anything" attitude that has grown since storage prices have come down. Magnetic doesn't make sense for long term storage unless you're regularly reading and re-writing it, which itself ages the storage medium.

It will be interesting if their 1000 year estimate even makes it past the 50 year mark, with "CDs will last forever" quickly being replaced with "CDs will begin to deteriorate after 5-10 years" not that many years ago.

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Seen The Light

Now the strange article from yesterday makes sense. There's to be an optical storage push across the industry then and Sony wants in...

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/07/optical_archiving_system_reader_seeks_advice/

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Comparing apples with oranges

"DVD and Blu-ray drives can still play 31 year-old CDs like Billy Joel's '52nd Street'" is a misleading statement. I'd be surprised if anybody with experience in the optical recording industry could make it by mistake.

The Billy Joel CD will have had the bits physically pressed into the plastic substrate, coated with aluminium to make it reflective and then sealed under another layer of plastic. IOW, assuming you have a working drive, the only things that can stop the disk being read are physical damage or the chemical destruction of the aluminium reflective layer[1]. However, a disk burnt by a read/write drive has not been pressed: instead, a layer of dye has had its state altered by the write laser. This isn't nearly as permanent because it doesn't take much to affect the dye enough to make the recording unreadable. Storing it in a hot place or with bright light on the recording surface can both do that. I've had audio CDs recorded on computers become unreadable after about 5 years[2].

[1] Sony demonstrated this when it sold CDs in cardboard sleeves which had a high sulphur content: the sulphur diffused in from the edges of the disk and reacted with the aluminium mirror, converting it into non-reflective aluminium sulphide. These CDs became unreadable in under 18 months: Sony had to replace them.

[2] the disks were burnt by the original artist in case you're wondering

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Alien

Re: Comparing apples with oranges

"No presentation is complete without the presenter presenting it".

The take away from this factoid is that the "format and the medium" is still compatible today. Materials improve over time, just look at the M-Disc content. Just like a tape or disk from 31 years ago is greatly improved today, but try using that 31 year old tape or disk today, even if the bits are still readable.

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Anonymous Coward

Optical Storage

I believe Ken Wood from HDS was simply making a case for optical using a generic example like a CD. Keep in mind that Hitachi, not Sony, is developing a Quartz-based optical storage media: http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Hitachi-quartz-glass-data-dots-Takao-Watanabe-Superman,17856.html

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Holmes

Enter the Clouds

The best solution for long term storage is the Cloud. With a business model that replaces gear every 4 years, the core technology of the cloud is regularly refreshed. That replacement process includes copying the data to a new storage system.

This will hold true even for archived data, though maybe the replacement cycle will be a bit longer.

This way we don't get to the "One drive left to read that data, and it is broken right now" problem that has plagued tape.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Enter the Clouds

Jim O'Reilly: That is ridiculous on so many levels.

Public cloud is not a good resource for storage. Yes, you've transferred the complexity of managing a data centre, but you've quadrupled (or more) your costs and potentially complicated application integration. By your logic, you could just wave your budget magic wand and just outsource your data centre. BAM! Problem solved.

Unless you are running a cloud business like NetFlix where your storage, data management, etc require the inherent agility of public cloud services, then you are just wasting your money. It's all about the private cloud for business, in my opinion.

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