Future storage devices could use glass of the size of a post-it note
This method can be used 360 terabytes of data on a disc of the size of a DVD.
The world is producing an insane amount of data every year. To give you some clue, the International Data Corp expects the world to produce 175 zettabytes of data by 2025, which is 142 zettabyte more than the data that was produced in the world in 2018.
FYI, 1 zettabyte is equal to 1 billion terabytes or 1 trillion gigabyte.
Needless to say that storing this data is no easy task and is well beyond the scope of available storage devices such as hard disks and magnetic disks.
Fuelled by the world's need of storing insane amounts of data, scientists are now exploring alternative materials for making storage devices. And one of the most promising materials that they are looking at is glass, or more specifically a 2-millimeter-thick slab of glass that is roughly the size of a post-it note.
This concept, however, had been mostly a theoretical concept until Microsoft as a part of its Project Silica wrote and retrieved the movie Superman (1978) on a single small piece of glass. This method could be used to store up to 360 terabytes of data on a disc of the size of a DVD.
However, Microsoft isn't alone. Seagate is also working on using glass for optical data storage. “The challenge is to develop systems that can read and write with reasonable throughput,” John Morris, chief technology officer at Seagate said in a statement to IEEE Explore.
At the moment, the challenge is not just regarding making the writing process more feasible but also making the writing process easier.
“The writing process is hard to make reliable and repeatable, and [it's hard] to minimize the time it takes to create a voxel...The read process has been a challenge in figuring out how to read the data from the glass using the minimum signal possible from the glass,” Ant Rowstron, deputy lab director at Microsoft Research Lab in Cambridge told the publication.