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Sony & Panasonic Optical Archival Disc Stores 300GB to 1TB

For nearly two decades, CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs have served as the mainstream consumer's default storage solution outside saving data to the hard drive. These discs have properties to protect themselves against the environment including dust-resistance and water-resistance, and changes in temperature and humidity when stored. They also allow inter-generational compatibility between different formats so that data can continue to be read even as optical formats evolve.

Thanks to these properties, optical media has become a "robust" solution for long-term storage of content in the commercial sector as well as the consumer market. However, Sony and Panasonic have recognized that these optical formats just aren't big enough to store the large volumes of media that are expected in the near future.

"In recent times, demand for archival capabilities has increased significantly in the film industry, as well as in cloud data centers that handle big data, where advances in network services have caused data volumes to soar," states the companies' joint press release.

Thus after revealing their intentions back in July 2013, Sony and Panasonic finally introduced on Monday the Archival Disc, optical media that will initially provide 300 GB of storage. Both companies announced that they plan to launch systems with this recording capacity from summer 2015 onwards. They also plan to continue their collaboration to bring even more storage capacity to this new optical media.

According to their roadmap, the Archival Disc will offer 300 GB of storage using crosstalk cancellation technology on top of the double-sided disc specification. To provide 500 GB, they will implement intersymbol interference cancellation technology, and for 1 TB they will use Multi Level Recording technology.

The Archival discs will have the same dimensions as the current Blu-ray discs, will be double-sided packing three layers each side, and readable for at least 50 years. These discs won't even need a special controlled, storage environment, and have a lower power consumption compared to linear tape-open technology (LTO).

"Both Sony and Panasonic have successful experience working on the development of Blu-ray Disc technology. The two companies plan to actively promote this next-generation high-capacity optical disc standard in the professional field in order to offer an effective solution for protecting valuable data into the future," states the companies' press release.

Here are the key Archival Disc specs:

  • Disc size (type): 300 GB (write-once)
  • Optical parameter: Wavelength λ=405 nm (nanometers), Numerical Aperture NA=0.85
  • Disc structure: Double-sided Disc (3 layers/side), Land and Groove Format
  • Track pitch: 0.225 μm (micrometers)
  • Data bit length: 79.5 nm (nanometers)
  • Error correction method: Reed-Solomon Code