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Time for Holographic Storage

InPhase to demo next-generation system 4/10/2005 08:00:00 PM Eastern

The double whammy of moving station and network technical plants first
to file-based storage and eventually to HD leaves engineers and bosses hunting
for inexpensive long-term storage systems.

This might be it. InPhase Technologies will hit the NAB show floor (as
part of the Maxell booth) with this hard-to-grasp technology: holographic
storage.

Liz Murphy, marketing chief of InPhase Technologies, walks
B&C's Ken Kerschbaumer through the new
system:


What exactly is a holographic
drive?

It has electronics, optical media and lasers like those used in other
recording technology. And it also has a loader mechanism to feed the media into
the drive. But what's different is a camera chip, which is used to record the
data, and a spatial light modulator, which encodes the data.


So what's the big
difference?

It has a lot of very high data density in a very small form factor. A
130-mm disk will hold 300 GB vs. a 120-mm DVD disk that holds roughly 5 GB.


What's the
secret?

Other recording technologies write a bit at a time, but the modulator
records pages of data, with each page holding 1.3 million bits in the form of
pixels. And then we change the angle of the laser and write another page, and
we can put hundreds of pages in the same location by doing that process.


And how cheap is it?

About one-fifth the price of videotape on a per-gigabyte basis, about
50¢ per gigabyte. And over time, that will fall to less than 20¢.


How quickly can you transfer data from a
video server to the drive?

We're specing a 20-MBps transfer rate. By 2009 or 2010, we expect to
be at 1.6 TB of data per disk with transfer rates of 120 MBps.

No offense, but that's a crazy amount of
storage.

I've been in this industry a long time, and this is the first one
where people are saying, when can I get one. We already have commitments from
about 30 companies for early units, and those should be available by the end of
2006.

 

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