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Sony and Panasonic create Archival Disc standard

by Mark Tyson on 10 March 2014, 10:00

Tags: Sony (NYSE:SNE), Panasonic (TYO:6752)

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A next generation optical disc format dubbed the 'Archival Disc' has been created in a collaboration between Sony and Panasonic. The new disc format is aimed at professional users who wish to put data into long-term digital data storage. The first systems are expected to launch in summer 2015 at 300GB but greater storage capacity discs offering 500GB and 1TB are on the Archival Disc roadmap. We first heard of Sony's and Panasonic's agreement last July but today we have some more information and specifications.

Sony says that optical discs are a good choice for storing data on a medium which is dust and water resistant and not sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity and so on. The Japanese tech giant also points out that ODDs have allowed for "inter-generational compatibility," so that users can still read old discs as the formats evolve. However it has been recognised that optical discs need to store much more data in the future so Sony and Panasonic got together to make the Archival Disc standard.

Archival Disc specifications

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

As you can see from the roadmap Sony expects technologies such as Multi-Level Recording and Inter Symbol Interference Cancellation Technology to help boost the Archival Disc capacity up from 300GB at launch to 500GB and onwards to the nice round 1TB figure. However no timescale is given for the roadmap, nor hinted at in the press release.

The amount of data people are using and generating is always growing and the Archival Disc is hoped to answer the need for storing much of this data safely for the longer term. Sony cites demand from the film industry (for 4K movies perhaps) and cloud data centres as spurs to develop the new large capacity optical disc standard.



HEXUS Forums :: 28 Comments

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The amount of data people are using and generating is always growing and the Archival Disc is hoped to answer the need for storing much of this data safely for the longer term. Sony cites demand from the film industry (for 4K movies perhaps) and cloud data centres as spurs to develop the new large capacity optical disc standard.
Funnily enough, that's been something that's been uppermost in my mind at the moment … how should a typical “home data centre” manager (or to put it another way “the house computer muggins”) arrange for long term backup of the various smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops and ultrabooks that are normal for a well off household these days?

Tablets and smartphones are relatively easy - cloud services (assuming you're not holding views similar to Saracen*) or, for some, large uSD cards and use one of the many backup software apps.

(* no I'm not denigrating his position wrt cloud services. I understand and appreciate the position he's taken).

Desktops, laptops and ultrabooks are trickier - especially the mobile devices. The most convenient seems to be NAS+WiFi, but there's a place for yea olde USB crate. But both of those backup to normal disk - so it's not exactly convenient to go shipping (fragile?) disks here, there and everywhere. There's cloud services like Carbonite etc - but that presupposes that you've got a friendly ISP who allows good uplink speeds and no data caps.

So yes, I'd like to see 500GB disks - or even 1TB ones - as a way of 3rd level storage. Back your systems off to NAS, then transfer those NAS resident backups at intervals to a couple of these. At present, if I use highly compressed backups, then I'd need 5 of those 300GB disks to save full system backups of all the kit in the house. Problem is that I see “Professional” in the description and think “£1,000+ for the drive and £200/disk”.

So it looks like NAS is going to be the endpoint of my backups for a good while yet … roll on the time of the holographic storage says I!
Hopefully they make something that works like DVD-RAM, where you don't need special burn software and can just keep writing incrementally.
Don't like the sound of double sided
unless the disk drive has two laser so you don't have to flip the disk

either way
it will be stupidly over priced to begin with.
I backup all of my “important but not critical” data to optical disk (of which I have a lot). Started with CDs, then moved to DVD-R and now on to BluRay. It's easy to keep track of and easy to store in quality folders. The 300Gb/disc capacity is extremely appealing to me, although I'll need a new indexing system to keep track of what's on each.

Considering a 300Gb tape is about £50 these days. These are going to command a premium until they are widely accepted, so I'm thinking £100-£150 per disk on day 1. Hardware isn't going to be cheap either.


My main concern here is even at £100, that's a mightily expensive coaster. And even a small scratch/scuff is likely to wipe out gigabytes of data. Seems like they are asking for trouble if they aren't in protective cartridges, although being double sided, I suspect they might be. Press release was a bit vague.
I read this and thought, this is so yesteryear, why are they even bothering.

I guess where disc technologies come into their own is in the event of an EMP the data is unaffected? (although hardware to play it is fried)

Terabyte hard drives will be cheaper than this media, let alone the added cost of the drive that goes with it.

I still like movies on discs, so there must be others too and unless lossless compression evolves, we will need more capacity for 4k films for sure.