|Optical - the bright
future in enterprise storage which never happened |
by Zsolt Kerekes
- editor - February 2008
When I started
StorageSearch.com in 1998 there was
a lot of industry excitement about the promise of optical storage.
in optical storage companies set the hype volume at a high level - which was
necessary in those days for anyone to be heard above the din of the dotcom
It was not uncommon to read claims like:-
- "Our optical disks will offer more capacity than hard drives."
and / or
- "Our new optical storage will be faster than hard disks." and /
Although hundreds of millions of dollars got poured into
such ventures (a small dribble compared to the the multi-billion dollar
VC storage stream)
nothing very significant ever came out the other end. And certainly nothing
approaching the aspirations of the industry.
- "Optical storage will replace
disks as the primary backup
Instead the optical
storage industry has settled into a comfortable sort of middle age couch potato
early retirement. Instead of offering revolutionary products - they're mostly
content churning out bits of shiny plastic for delivering music or movies.
There are still some comnpanies flogging the dead horse of optical
backup and archiving. But for most users - the proposition of backing up a
single hard disk onto 10 or more optical ones - doesn't sound like a better way
to do things.
Every couple of years - the rallying cries from the old
pretenders (or new ones) of optical storage are heard again. But after a few
flurries and flag waving press releases - they go quiet and nothing more is
If anything does happen to change that - I'll let you know.
|Aleratec Names New VP Sales
Editor:- May 5, 2009 - Aleratec today named
Howard Wing to lead the company's sales and marketing activities.
Howard Wing's recent experience includes VP of Sales and Marketing at
Plextor where he was
actively involved in industry initiatives to bring
USB 2.0 and
SATA interfaces to
the optical disc markets.
GE Talks About 500GB Opticals
N.Y - April 27, 2009 - GE researchers have successfully demonstrated a
micro-holographic storage material that can support 500GB in a standard
"GE's breakthrough is a huge step toward
bringing our next generation holographic storage technology to the everyday
consumer," said Brian Lawrence, who leads GE's Holographic Storage program.
"Because GE's micro-holographic discs could essentially be read and played
using similar optics to those found in standard Blu-ray players, our technology
will pave the way for cost-effective, robust and reliable holographic drives
that could be in every home."
researchers in the
optical storage industry
always sounds optimistic - like those in the cancer cure research market.
If you extrapolated from all the many times that cancer has been cured in rats
- you could reasonable expect that the human race would be cured of this scourge
by now. For decades a series of optical storage startups have been promising to
deliver drives that match hard drive capacity at lower cost. I've got enough
lists on this site already. So I'll spare you that one.
Moser Baer Announces Certification for 6x Blu-ray Media
New Delhi, India - December
23, 2008 - Moser Baer today announced that it has received product
verification from the Blu-ray Disc Association for its next generation
blu-ray 1x-6x discs.
With this certification, Moser Baer has
become the first company outside Japan to develop and ship BDR 1x-6x media. The
next generation BD formats have a capacity ranging from 25GB to 50GB and offer
more than 5 to 10x the data storage capacity of standard DVD media. This
latest innovation from Moser Baer has come in close partnership with OM&T,
its Netherlands-based subsidiary.
...Moser Baer profile,
optical storage drives
Call/Recall Announces Laser Diode Partner
San Diego May 27, 2008 -
Nichia Corp and Call/Recall, Inc have agreed to jointly develop
a high-capacity optical disc recording and playback systems.
platform is designed around Nichia commercially available
violet and blue laser
diodes and Call/Recall's terabyte media.
anticipates being able to release a Blu-ray compatible disk as well as a
backward compatible player able to read Blu-ray disks as well as Call/Recall's
higher capacity formats. Call/Recall also intends to use the technology for the
enterprise market for the archiving of corporate information.
profile, optical storage
HD DVD Takes Early Retirement
February 18, 2008 - industry rumors speculate that Toshiba may pull the
plug on its HD DVD standard conceding to Blu-ray.
marketers will be rejoicing - but this media war is a side issue.
years ago in an article called
Do CDs and DVDs Have a Long
Term Future? I warned that the 20 year long run of removable consumer
optical media which started with the CD - would come to an early end.
In a follow up article (published Jan 2007)
Don't be Taken in by
Blu Ray vs DVD Sophistry I predicted that neither Blu Ray nor HD DVD would
have a long market life - because internet downloads would replace physical
disks as the primary form of non broadcast movie distribution.
|Nibble:- Don't be Taken in by Blu Ray vs DVD Sophistry|
News stories from vendors are a valuable source of market information -
but they can sometimes create a misleading expectation of what could happen
when they talk about predicting technology trends. |
understandably talk up their market's growth prospects by citing optimistic
The reason is that most buyers are cautious and don't want to be the first to
get burned by the bugs in a new technology. By suggesting that a new market will
be very big, or will grow very fast, or has already reached a critical mass -
vendors hope that buyers will be more confident and move faster along the new
technology adoption curve.
I can tell you from decades of tracking
such technology predictions that they often turn out to be as inaccurate as
getting an opinion from your pet dog or cat. But until markets become
established so that it's possible to track revenue or other historic data -
comparing crystal ball images is as good as it gets - and makes for interesting
Take the case of what's happening now in the consumer
optical storage market.
A simple search on
shows that many editors and analysts have bought into the market model currently
being pushed by manufacturers who are recycling the "Betamax versus VHS"
legend as an analog for the "High Definition DVD versus Blu Ray"
It's a seductive argument (for both sides) because it leads you
down a tunnel in which you are left thinking that the future of buying and
storing big globs of portable entertainment has to be one or the other. But
that's not necessarily so.
Instead of the Betamax / VHS case study so
beloved by commentators I'd like to call to your attention another old (and
mostly forgotten) but more recent example - which is much closer to home - the
battle of the Super Floppies.
What seemed at stake in the mid 1990s
was:- what format would replace the 3.5" floppy drive? - an appendage
which once adorned hundreds of millions of PCs.
attention were several incompatible formats by
and Sony. As we now know none of these royal claimants took
possession of the floppy throne. Instead a republic was declared.
people found out they could exchange information much more conveniently using
email instead of thin plastic wallets. And software publishers found that CDs
were a more appropriate form of software distribution rather than boxed sets of
floppies. The floppy drive slot was replaced by a CD and then later DVD drive -
and not by a super floppy drive.
Fast forward to today's digital
entertainment storage and distribution market (which is the setting for the Blu
Ray vs HD DVD debates.
The simplest way to sell content is via the
The simplest way to store hundreds of movies on a single
storage device is on a single big
article saying something
similar back in 2004 - and neither the appearance of holographic storage nor UDO
etc has changed my view.
True - a lot of boxes will get sold with slots
which are compatible with shiny looking coated plastic disks in the next few
years - but there's a significant probability that the Super Optical market
could soon go the way of the Super Floppies - and that neither Blu Ray nor HD
DVD have a long future.
See also:- previous article:-
the Future of
High Speed Disk Drives for Servers
knew you could use light for|
communications, but he wasn't quite sure
how it worked for storage...
Media Exposed - Looking at the Contenders for Optical Media Archiving -
article by Plasmon |
Optical archiving has become a legally
mandated storage technology in many markets.
There are a lot of new
optical media technologies and packaging formats to choose from. But which ones
will stand the test of time in terms of data reliability and cost of ownership?
Plasmon, founded in 1987, has nearly 2 decades of experience as a systems and
media supplier in the optical archiving industry. This article by Steve Tongish,
Plasmon's Director of Marketing EMEA, looks at the critical factors for the
new products now available and those emerging so you can assess which will work
best for you. ...
read the article,
CDs and DVDs Have a Long Term Future as Digital Storage? - article|
"CDs have already been around for 20 years - so
that may seem like forever and you may think that DVDs too will still be around
just as long. But my own view is that these are merely short term stepping
stones to something else in the same way that scrolls and loose collections of
paper were a transient phase which gave way to the bound book." ...read the article