Sony Replacing Tape With Optical Disc Archive System

Sony announced on Monday that it is now working on a next-generation optical disc archive storage system that should be available in various solutions by Fall 2012. Called the ODS-D55U Optical Disc Archive Drive, it will handle Sony's upcoming Optical Disc Cartridges which contain 12 discs in one cartridge-like enclosure. Each cassette capacity will range from 300 GB to 1.5 TB, depending on the model (ODC1500R etc.).

"Sony’s new system will deliver superior long-term storage capabilities, which are enabled through the use of media built to withstand changes in temperature and humidity, and is dust and water resistance," the company said. "Furthermore, the new system provides guaranteed intergenerational compatibility and eliminates the need to re-archive copies of past archive data, offering a more user-friendly and dependable long-term storage solution."

After installing Sony's driver on a PC, users will be able to connect the ODS-D55U to a USB 3.0 port and use an Optical Disc Cartridge as a single large volume. The ODS-D55U will accept any type of data files just like other IT storage, Sony said, adding that it provides a quicker, more direct access to data than legacy linear data tape systems. Even more, robotics for the ODS-D55U is planned for the future.

According to the company, many manufacturers have already expressed an interest in the new Optical Disc Archive including ASG-Atempo, Dalet, Front Porch Digital, Harris, SGL, Square Box Systems Ltd, TDK Corporation and Vizrt. TDK has reportedly already announced both its full support of the Optical Disc Archive, and that it will begin manufacturing disc media under license from Sony.

On Tuesday Sony said that it is also organizing an Optical Disc Archive Advisory Group to promote the adoption of this new storage format. It's open to participation by media and entertainment companies from across the globe to further build the market for video image archive solutions.

"With this group, Sony will collaborate with partners to establish and maintain a solution and application software environment that advances optimum specifications and system architectures among other areas, while anticipating future trends and demand in the archive solutions segment," Sony said. "The broadcasters and motion picture companies listed below have already announced their participation in the Optical Disc Archive Advisory Group."

In addition to the commercial products, Sony will push for companies and consumers to transfer their video content stored on old-school linear tape to the company's new format. "The establishment of an open platform so that the valuable video content stored in tape media can be archived and passed on to the next generation in an optimal format will help industry move toward creating a new market for archive solutions," Sony said.

  • zak_mckraken
    If they can ensure reliability equal or great than tape drives (which should be quite easy), they have a winner here.
  • razorblaze42
    8 tracks are coming back? Nice
  • freggo
    Prob. out of the price range of the average consumer for some time it sounds like a very interesting backup alternative.

    Are the cartridges the write once type; like a stack of Blue ray discs for instance... or can data be erased as well ?
  • WyomingKnott
    Twelve platters in a removable cartridge? Sounds like a great step - backwards.
  • RogueKitsune
    The only way i could see this type of system replacing current tape archiving is if it does live up to its claims of being more durable, and faster at reads/writes. Correct me if i am wrong but current tape back-ups can store almost 3 times as much data as one of the "disc cartridges". Which would mean companies would have to double or even possibly triple the amount of back-up media they keep track of. All of that sounds like spending lots of money to me.

    But on the other hand if this new media doesn't need to be re-backed-up nearly as often it might pay for itself in the long run.
  • syrious1
    maybe the way the data is stored on the tape makes it less vulnerable during restores?
  • How much data can a company possibly still be holding onto on tape drives?
    Redundancy for small storage space can be done through multiple media now. This is a niche product (its on the level of using duck tape to wrap 6 optical discs together and toss into an enclosure that will use them in a "raid"), why not just use single large capacity disk to archive data that my company has around on tape drives still? Storage size to relative cost will be better, physical storage will be less, but efficiency would be lower using single disks.
  • kawininjazx
    freggoProb. out of the price range of the average consumer for some time it sounds like a very interesting backup alternative.Are the cartridges the write once type; like a stack of Blue ray discs for instance... or can data be erased as well ?
    This is for enterprise and larger businesses I imagine, I don't think home users are a concern.
  • drwho1
    let's see... 300GB = 12Bluray single layer disks (12 X 25GB = 300GB)
    Double layer = 600GB
    Triple layer = 900GB
    and the Quad layers 1.2TB

    It will probably be a lot cheaper to just buy the individual disks.

    Probably a lot faster too.
  • __-_-_-__
    imo optical storage is never good. specially for storage archiving. I bet a HDD array is cheaper then this system.