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Hard Disks vs Holographic Storage!!!

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September 17, 2006 3:10:41 PM

A lot of people are talking about the future of storage and come up with names like "Holographic Storage". Could somebody explain how powerfull companies that allready say that they will release 2.5TB Hard Disks in 2009 like seagate could survive if holographic storage would come and shine by that time? I mean...it would be not hard to imagen which storage device would be faster and better and would slow down your pc more.....holographic storage or the Hard Disk which today is still the big bottleneck in pc performance nomatter how strong your CPU will be. A little info on "Holographic Storage" can be found here.

http://www.inphase-technologies.com/technology/index.ht...
September 18, 2006 12:21:05 PM

You can find some advanced "holographics people" in holoforum.com maybe you can find the answer there.
September 18, 2006 12:42:35 PM

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In addition, the flexibility of the technology allows for the development of a wide variety of holographic storage products that range from handheld devices for consumers to storage products for the enterprise. Imagine 2GB of data on a postage stamp, 20 GB on a credit card, or 200 GB on a disk.

Wow. I can't wait for the day we can get 200gb on one disk. Amazing.
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September 18, 2006 12:42:36 PM

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A lot of people are talking about the future of storage


Do you work for InPhase?
September 18, 2006 12:48:01 PM

How could reading and writing to a holographic disk be faster than using a hard drive? Is that what you're saying? I can't really tell.
September 18, 2006 1:16:07 PM

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Could somebody explain how powerfull companies that allready say that they will release 2.5TB Hard Disks in 2009 like seagate could survive if holographic storage would come and shine by that time?


I have no idea about holographic storage. It looks great but they aren't very clear about how much storage we are talking about at this time. And it says it has an archival life of 30 years. This is probably under the most optimal conditions. So who knows really how good it is.

One thing I can say for sure is flash memory is something that is an already proven and viable option. I feel that within the next 5 to 10 years you will see computers with flash drives. Flash memory capacities will catch up to HD if it keeps going at the rate they are. Plus the fact is how many people out there need a 2.5TB HD? How many people really need a 250GB HD? We are already seeing 64gb and 32gb flash chips out there. I would rather have that than a faulty hard drive.

Hard Drive manufacturers need to be looking to the future. Instead of kidding themselves like in the HD 50th aniv article. Hard Drives our old technology. They are already obsolete
September 18, 2006 1:35:01 PM

Aren't you forgetting that flash drives degrade over time? They only have so many read/write cycles in them before they go kaput; hard-drives might eventually fail due to mechanical issues, but the medium itself is pretty darn stable. Besides, holographic storage isn't exactly your traditional hard-drive. Flash may be better than traditional magnetic storage, but that's not saying that some new technology can't come along and challenge it. Flash is not the be all and end all of memory.
September 18, 2006 1:40:57 PM

Ok, wow, I distinctly remember having a conversation with some of my buddies about holographic storage during my freshman year of HS...some 11 years ago. Old, old news. Thanks for the memories.
September 18, 2006 2:02:39 PM

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How could reading and writing to a holographic disk be faster than using a hard drive? Is that what you're saying? I can't really tell.


Well, yes actually I am :)  I think it will be a huge difference in performance.
September 18, 2006 2:06:19 PM

Holographic Storage will be way more advanced then Flash.
September 18, 2006 2:14:38 PM

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Flash may be better than traditional magnetic storage, but that's not saying that some new technology can't come along and challenge it. Flash is not the be all and end all of memory.


I didn't say that flash was the end all. Of course there will always be something better to come along. That's how technology works.

And BTW degradation is something I heard was a real concern about 20 years ago. Do an internet search on the subject. It's hard to even find info on that particular subject. Nowdays you see flash memory in all major appliances and electronics equipment. The technology has improved to the point where it can be used for things like mp3 players and such. Ever heard of a mp3 player being returned because of degradation?

Point is flash is much more reliable than HD. And on par will last longer because there is no mechanical failure possible. And if you want to talk about the medium itself, flash memory is more stable than HD platters.

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Holographic Storage will be way more advanced then Flash.


More advanced..perhaps. Better...time will tell.
September 18, 2006 2:17:13 PM

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One thing I can say for sure is flash memory is something that is an already proven and viable option. I feel that within the next 5 to 10 years you will see computers with flash drives

Yes could be a good solution for the future. I can see flash drives achieving their capacity in a "flash" time. 2 gigs in less than 1 inch stick.

But why manufacturers always sticking, enhancing and advancing on RAM drive ?

It'll be nice if in our PC there will be no more "active moving parts" peripherals.
September 18, 2006 2:25:26 PM

Holographic storage is for more than just hard drives, The disc they are talking about (I am pretty sure) is a dvd sized disc, and that even puts HD-DVD and Blue-Ray to shame.
Check this and this for some more info.
Wikipedia has some interesting info on it as well.
September 18, 2006 2:27:32 PM

Deep storage space is always needed, especially if your a buisness... or your like me who never deletes anything... What I'm wondering about is the future of HDD storage. So we got PMR recording, but that will only tide us over for another couple of years. With the advent of HDTV, and mkv, ogg, H.264 codecs which gobble up space like nothing... So what does the future hold?

We know that flash will be implemented sooner or later in computers, they already have it in some sort of fashion, where you can put in a flash drive on an old computer and treat it as system memory... Is there a maximum capacity on flash right now? If there is what is it? Maybe I should take some Solid-State classes...
September 18, 2006 2:29:12 PM

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Holographic Storage will be way more advanced then Flash.


It will definitely be more advanced than the flash of today, because it'll probably be another 15 years before it sees the light of day. :-)

I did a paper on optical computing and holographic storage in college, and that was quite a while ago. The estimate at that time was that in five years we'd have holographic storage on the market that was much faster than hard drives, and that a 1 cm cube could hold a terrabyte of data. Since then, I haven't seen anything new on holographic storage.
September 18, 2006 6:07:09 PM

Seeing as we are comparing current magnetic platter hard disks to holographic storage (a highly theoretical future storage medium), How about when we have to replace all our brand new Core 2 Duos with Positronic Circuitry? OMG how will Intel stay in business? :p 
September 20, 2006 11:42:30 AM

the 4 layer blu-rays will be 100 GB thats getting close to the amounts of storage you were talking about in holographics. but of course bluray doesn't get as small as a postal stamp or any of that business...
September 20, 2006 12:59:33 PM

The ultimate future of storage is non-volatile memory chips of SOME sort (if not flash).

It is not possible for another method to be as fast because the other alternatives depend on mechanical parts, and thus also break-downs. So the other alternative may have a higher density, but beyond a certian point I predict density is not going to matter so much.

Once DRM has locked down everything and you can get content on demand, what will you need to store that won't fit in a few dozen (or more) terabytes?

The more interesting applications for light in computing are high speed busses, not storage.
September 20, 2006 2:03:16 PM

Intel's already making their lightspeed chip, we'll see how it plays out...

Although, they said they were getting out of the telecommunications industry... shrug, dunno how much of an effect these lasers will have on bus speeds though...
September 20, 2006 2:11:43 PM

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but beyond a certian point I predict density is not going to matter so much.

Agreed, although the industry will probably go beyond real need.

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Once DRM has locked down everything and you can get content on demand, what will you need to store that won't fit in a few dozen (or more) terabytes?

Well, you know that DRM will not become universal, right? The more greed attempts to squeeze, the more there will be opportunities for other systems to grow. A few dozen TB... If you think in terms of right now, that's a decent estimate. But I expect that as storage gets faster and continues along the path of reduction in cost per unit size, information density (example: image resolution) will grow to increase storage bloat.

Too much is never enough.

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The more interesting applications for light in computing are high speed busses, not storage.

Yea, storage is pretty boring, end of the line stuff. But I still anticipate its evolution, being a pack rat and all...
September 21, 2006 7:01:16 AM

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Well, you know that DRM will not become universal, right? The more greed attempts to squeeze, the more there will be opportunities for other systems to grow.


That is a nice concept but thus far, hasn't panned out. Currently if you want full functionality out of a PC, and I mean truely full, not just limited choices per genre, you're talking about one running Windows. Already then we see there isn't opportunity for other systems, it's main competition is free software!

What will windows do? Inevitably, MS is going towards web services, locking down licenses, and supporting future technologies that have industries conspiring against consumers. IF you want to run these things on a programmable system, that system will have hardware or quite deeply software-embedded limitations. It's not a matter of choosing something else when nothing else exists except set-top boxes with even less potential (or hackers targeting it to remove limitations?).

Vista in it's fullest version will be more expensive than low-end desktops (hardware). Would this be enough to move people in droves to Linux? Time will tell but I think not. If there is so much greed over digital transmission, will you find an alternative to a HDMI chip validation? Hack something with microcontollers? It won't be greed fueling that, it will be a hobby as it can't be profitable as these devices will be illegally circumventing copy control measures, and that in even more countries soon because of the US' heavy hand at swaying those who have more liberal laws.

It will be a game for awhile of course, those protecting content vs. the hackers, but after a certain point the hackers will not be able to do anything, because the skill level, even cost of equipment alone to hack will be prohibitive. This point may be closer than we realize- it's quite amazing how fast computers are evolving, and quite a bit of money and time is being thrown at controling use- If anything, computer hardware and software engineers are control freaks! The only question is when one concedes they lost control over their system, and how much the market will be able to control costs- they can lock it down but they can't force content purchases, it'll have to be priced based on what the market bears.

If your hardware or software doesn't support their model, you simply won't be able to use the software or multimedia, because such technologies will be licensed and to get (a license) it will have to adhere to the criteria.

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A few dozen TB... If you think in terms of right now, that's a decent estimate. But I expect that as storage gets faster and continues along the path of reduction in cost per unit size, information density (example: image resolution) will grow to increase storage bloat.


Agreed, but storage capacity is growing faster than *necessary* resolution. If I shot 1GB worth of pictures daily, it still takes over 2 years to fill up today's HDDs, and at the end of that 2 years, they'll be larger still.

Monitor and printer resolution isn't growing so fast either so unless these technologies accelerate, there is not going to be as much of a useful purpose to ever escalating resolution, as the human eye can't even distinguish as high as we have currently and going much higher we don't have image stabilization technology sufficient to actually discriminate individual pixels better than we'd have just extrapolating them.
September 21, 2006 3:01:38 PM

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The only question is when one concedes they lost control over their system, and how much the market will be able to control costs- they can lock it down but they can't force content purchases, it'll have to be priced based on what the market bears.


Sorry to snip so much - you make good points but my counter is that people will only be shoved into a corner when they don't care. Microsoft will not convert the people of the world into obedient robots that shuttle all wealth to MS. So above you mention "what the market bears". The early 80's music industry proved once again that greed is blind and that the public will either find ways to cheat significantly (like Napster) or simply quit buying as much (most of the public still to this day). Last time I checked, sales of CDs were still below their pre-Napster peak. I've had to laugh at all of the price markdowns on DVDs at stores like WallMart. The public is speaking with their wallets!

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If your hardware or software doesn't support their model, you simply won't be able to use the software or multimedia, because such technologies will be licensed and to get (a license) it will have to adhere to the criteria.


Sure, I don't have any trouble understanding the master plan. And if costs were to reduce enough, people wouldn't worry and they would pay. but again, I don't trust that the pricing will be fair. Just look at what cable TV with Internet costs!

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Agreed, but storage capacity is growing faster than *necessary* resolution. If I shot 1GB worth of pictures daily, it still takes over 2 years to fill up today's HDDs, and at the end of that 2 years, they'll be larger still.


OK, then record HDTV. Or like some folks I know, watch one program while recording two others (that may never be watched or even if they are watched, probably don't warrant the HD space to sotre them).

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Monitor and printer resolution isn't growing so fast either so unless these technologies accelerate, there is not going to be as much of a useful purpose to ever escalating resolution, as the human eye can't even distinguish as high as we have currently and going much higher we don't have image stabilization technology sufficient to actually discriminate individual pixels better than we'd have just extrapolating them.


Being able to see individual pixel artifacts at full image-on-monitor resolution isn't the issue. It's what the image looks like after cropping, etc., that is the problem for many people. We're still a ways away from the point of a slowdown in image quality development. Increased pixel density is nearing the end of its practical growth for consumer cameras because more important constraints are the optics and the sensitivity of the detector. As faster CCDs arrive, tools such as image stabilization will be able to function much more effectively. [/ramble/off]
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