New optical disc tech could make $5 per TB possible

Daniel Sims

Posts: 672   +27
Staff
Forward-looking: Despite consumer PCs and game consoles transitioning to faster SSDs, traditional disk drives (HDDs) continue to offer ever more space for cold storage at lower prices. One company says it can take a significant leap forward for optical disc technology.

Folio Photonics announced a new method for optical disc storage this week that could make hard drives bigger and cheaper than ever. Using new materials and manufacturing techniques, the company says it can offer storage at $5 per terabyte, and eventually $1 per terabyte. The best hard drives are currently five times more expensive at around $25 per terabyte.

The new optical discs feature dynamic multi-layer write/read capabilities, which previously hadn't been cost-effective at the enterprise scale. Folio achieved this through patented polymer extrusion, film-based disc construction processes, customized optical pickup units, an easily scalable polymer co-extrusion process, and "next-generation materials."

Where archival discs nowadays offer up to three optical layers per side per disc, Folio's achieve 16 film layers. The company plans to continue increasing that number.

Folio also claims that its discs are more energy-efficient than traditional HDDs, with its implementation hopefully lowering the digital storage industry's carbon footprint. Furthermore, the new hard drives are more resistant to electromagnetic pulses.

The company plans to start offering the new hard drives in 2024, with 10-disc units carrying 1TB per disk, translating to 10TB HDDs for around $50. Currently, that much money might get you a 2TB HDD. Folio hopes to offer bigger drives eventually.

If Folio's technology takes off, it could revolutionize the ongoing competition in HDDs over two dozen terabytes. Manufacturers like Western Digital and Seagate are racing to create 30TB drives by the middle of this decade and reach 100TB by 2030. Those companies and Toshiba are pushing the limits of HDD storage and performance with technologies like HAMR, microwave assistance, and iNAND memory.

Seagate released a 20TB HDD in 2020, and WD unveiled a 26TB drive earlier this year. The recent advances in multi-layer technology could significantly accelerate the storage race.

Permalink to story.

 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 818   +748
100GB M-Disc's last for 1000 years
A 100GB Blu-Ray Burner is $50

That gives me 1 TB lasting 1000 years for a total cost of $150

Beat that!
Will the new drives be $50 each?
Will the new disc's last more than 2 years?

I have 4 Blu-Ray M-Disk burners in case one fails
If 3 fail, I can still transfer my data to ancient hard disk technology

If the new tech can't compete with M-Disc longevity and cost per drive, it is worthless


 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,517   +2,259
100GB M-Disc's last for 1000 years
A 100GB Blu-Ray Burner is $50

That gives me 1 TB lasting 1000 years for a total cost of $150

Beat that!
Will the new drives be $50 each?
Will the new disc's last more than 2 years?

I have 4 Blu-Ray M-Disk burners in case one fails
If 3 fail, I can still transfer my data to ancient hard disk technology

If the new tech can't compete with M-Disc longevity and cost per drive, it is worthless
Well, 1000 years allegedly; we'll know for certain in about 990 years. In the mean time, one has to stock up on M-discs and hope that the manufacturers that took over from Milleniata aren't cutting corners when it comes to running them off.
 

Richard M

Posts: 19   +65
I hope this comes to exist since I'm not really a fan of using "cloud" solutions for backing up everything. Too bad we have to wait 4 years.

It always takes awhile to go from the lab to production. Plus some never make it that far, what works in the lab sometimes will not make it to production.

Also if you are not backing up at least your important files offsite you are leaving yourself open to having a really bad day. I had a house fire a few years ago and the only thing that saved me was my off site backups.

Nothing gets you going like a smoke alarm going off at 3:30 in the morning.
 

stewi0001

Posts: 2,794   +2,587
It always takes awhile to go from the lab to production. Plus some never make it that far, what works in the lab sometimes will not make it to production.

Also if you are not backing up at least your important files offsite you are leaving yourself open to having a really bad day. I had a house fire a few years ago and the only thing that saved me was my off site backups.

Nothing gets you going like a smoke alarm going off at 3:30 in the morning.
Yea I get that, currently I keep an external in a fire safe. Plus I have replaced most of my insulation with Rockwool. Basically, I am more worried about hard drive failure than a fire. Best practice is to have multiple backups including offsite.
 

PEnnn

Posts: 955   +1,247
If I received a penny each time I heard about such amazing news.......that almost never materialize.

In other news, again, the prices for SSD are falling and will be dirt cheap in no time (PS: Only for those that barely anyone want, aka 128 GB , 256 GB).
 

takaozo

Posts: 423   +649
If I received a penny each time I heard about such amazing news.......that almost never materialize.

In other news, again, the prices for SSD are falling and will be dirt cheap in no time (PS: Only for those that barely anyone want, aka 128 GB , 256 GB).

Those 128-256 drives make me happy for OS drive since SSD's were out.
I dont mix OS with Data.
 

Axeia

Posts: 46   +45
100GB M-Disc's last for 1000 years
A 100GB Blu-Ray Burner is $50

That gives me 1 TB lasting 1000 years for a total cost of $150

Beat that!
Will the new drives be $50 each?
Will the new disc's last more than 2 years?

I have 4 Blu-Ray M-Disk burners in case one fails
If 3 fail, I can still transfer my data to ancient hard disk technology

If the new tech can't compete with M-Disc longevity and cost per drive, it is worthless
This is described as a hard disk alternative though. And you'll need to accumulate they data somewhere before you start writing them away to actual optical media so then a hard disk based on this comes in handy.

It sounds like promising technology. I wonder if we'll start seeing Folio photonics HDDs or if it just gets licensed/produced by the few HDD manufacturers that we've left.
Regardless cheap storage sounds great for my home media* server.

*Media amongst other things but this technology is interesting specifically for that use case.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,312   +961
Think some points are covered here - first one - my thought too - the continued domination of mega companies by buying out tech. TBF - they may just be hyping this up waiting that big payout and easy life.

The other point with concerns ie vaporware - to state 2024 is quite telling - so will they put up.

Given the simple serial nature of drives, lack of dimensions ( vectors , flavours , properties used or whatever the correct term is ) - however I really expect petabyte storage solutions are only a decade away or two . Don't know much about fibre optics - but imagine just using only one property of light at a couple of wavelengths - pretty sure we get a lot more than that.

There already are a couple petabytes storage solutions I believe ( DNA??) however the R/W times are appalling

So like the new Battery Tech - that will be judged by 10 criteria. The same applies here .
Even if slower R/W if fast enough and super reliable - then bring it on
 

TheBigFatClown

Posts: 1,051   +452
I'm confused....did I miss the transition in HDD to optical lasers? I thought this article was going to say that Blu-Ray BDXL had a successor that was 10x in storage capacity.

HDDs are optical devices...since when?
 

umbala

Posts: 786   +1,557
This sounds like those pie in the sky battery techs we keep hearing about. 10TB HDDs for around $50 you say? Riiiight. I'll believe it when I see it. I mean, this is some unknown company that claims they somehow leapfrogged over all the big storage players (Sony, Pioneer, WD, Seagate, etc.) so it sounds totally legit!

Anyone can make claims like this, but until we can buy a product on Amazon or Newegg, it's completely meaningless.

In other news, next year I'm releasing a hard drive the size of your pinky that can hold 100 TB and costs $7. Watch for it!
 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 818   +748
I'm confused....did I miss the transition in HDD to optical lasers? I thought this article was going to say that Blu-Ray BDXL had a successor that was 10x in storage capacity.

HDDs are optical devices...since when?
Since....... never
These news sites spew GigaQuads of misinformation daily and ban people who post the truth or ask questions
(I was recently banned for asking a question)

This morning, Good Morning America's tech nerd said the Artemis Rocket accelerates from 0 to 17,000 MPH in 8 seconds flat

Try to guess how many times a week, these people confuse Gigabytes with Gigabits

Now stop asking questions before you get banned



 

Hodor

Posts: 251   +182
Optical disks again? I thought we got rid of them.

And 1000 years longevity again? I remember similar promises for CDs and DVDs and BluRays. Most of them stopped working after just a few years. If you use them often they last shorter than USB sticks. But if you store one of those inside of an Egyptian pyramid, yeah, they could last hundreds of years. Maybe.

 

PEnnn

Posts: 955   +1,247
Anybody still remember the CDs / DVDs at all......what happened to them??

Even a lowly $10 USB beats the krap out of them in storage and speed!!

How come companies stopped working on storage on said CDs / DVDs, whose promise (storage and longevity) was as amazing as .............the one in this very article!!
 

TheBigFatClown

Posts: 1,051   +452
Optical disks again? I thought we got rid of them.

And 1000 years longevity again? I remember similar promises for CDs and DVDs and BluRays. Most of them stopped working after just a few years. If you use them often they last shorter than USB sticks. But if you store one of those inside of an Egyptian pyramid, yeah, they could last hundreds of years. Maybe.
But not true. I have CDs that are 20+ years old and still work. It comes down to the quality of the manufacturer's product, much like any other product or service you would spend money on.

Where you store them "is" actually a factor as you state. You can't store them in a place so hot they warp or in a place so sold they become permeated with condensate. So, keeping our common sense in check here will help us understand that optical media can last a long, long time if it's 1)quality product and 2)properly stored.
 
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Sathi43

Posts: 62   +81
Isn't comparing HDDs with optical drives like apples and oranges? or is this tech rewritable like HDDs? Am I missing something?
 
It always takes awhile to go from the lab to production. Plus some never make it that far, what works in the lab sometimes will not make it to production.

Also if you are not backing up at least your important files offsite you are leaving yourself open to having a really bad day. I had a house fire a few years ago and the only thing that saved me was my off site backups.

Nothing gets you going like a smoke alarm going off at 3:30 in the morning.
Haha the possible risk of fire reminded me of last year when neighbors house went up in flames people outside was shocked why I'm running out the door with my NAS unit under 1 arm and laptop under the other while only in my boxers they asking why I said my NAS one of the most important things I have a lot of years of personal files photos and all that and laptop just got it a month before

Those NAS units are bloody useful devices holds 4 drives each 2TB and been setup so that 2 are active and the other 2 as backup drives for the 2 active drives

And it has come good a few times when out and about especially as the missus has a habit of breaking her mobile phone or losing it so we link our mobiles to the NAS remotely and dump photos onto it well worth the money spent

So if ever there is a fire that's usually the first thing that will come out with me haha
 
I'm confused....did I miss the transition in HDD to optical lasers? I thought this article was going to say that Blu-Ray BDXL had a successor that was 10x in storage capacity.

HDDs are optical devices...since when?

You missed a few parts. The below paragraph is from the article source linked at the top. The article could have been more clear. Not only did they up the storage but they can now dynamically read/write to an optical disks. That's actually pretty huge. Until now, optical disks were write only or read only, you can't do both at once. They could potentially be used as a hard drive now,. Per say, still more details needed. Even the way rewritable optical disks worked was pretty crazy. It would "burn" small marks which was either 1 of 0. It would burn a tiny hole for the 1 and nothing for the 0. Rewritable optical disks had either a different laser or same one at different wavelength or heat that would make those tiny holes expand, making the optical disks all 0's again so it could be written to again. But you could only read or write. Not both at the same time. Current optical and spinning disk technology is dwarfed by LTO tape for archiving data. LTO 9 can hold 18 TB (16.37 TiB) uncompressed and up to 45 TB (40.92 TiB) compressed. It's not cheap (the hardware in particular) which is why you don't see it for personal use.

Folio Photonics has developed the first economically viable, enterprise-scale optical storage discs with dynamic multi-layer write/read capabilities, which will enable the development of radically low-cost/high-capacity disc storage.

Additionally, the below is pretty huge. Spinning drives are still magnetic. So are LTO tapes, which is used for off-site backups (or on site). In the late 80's there was a huge solar flare and it knocked out over 1 trillion dollars of electronics, in the late 80's. I can't even speculate what something like that would cost today. Not sure if solid state would be effected or not. 80 percent of the world's data is archive data, mostly for businesses. Either on disks or tape. Trust me, if there was a solar flare that big today it would be really, really bad. Not only in lost data, but automated systems going out. Almost everything is hooked up to a computer these days. We couldn't just go back to pen and paper. Wouldn't work out. Below is from the article source link.

archive storage is not vulnerable to electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks, offers an air gap to ensure cybersecurity and provides a media lifespan of 100 years.