A growing number of laptop computers are shipping without CD, DVD, or Blu-ray drives, but the optical disc drive may have some life left in it. Sony and Panasonic have announced a new platform they call “Archival Disc” which is designed for long-term storage of large amounts of data.

Double-sided Archival Discs will be able to store from 300GB to 1TB of data and the first ones could ship next summer.

Archival Disc

Starting in the summer of 2015 we could see discs that can store up to 300GB of data. Sony and Panasonic’s roadmap suggests those will be followed by 500GB discs and essentially optical discs that can store up to a terabyte of data.

To put that in perspective, a typical dual-layer Blu-ray disc can hold 50GB of data, while a single-layer version has room for up to 25GB. Single-layered DVDs hold up to 4.7GB, while dual-layer versions can handle 8.5GB of storage.

In other words, you could fit an awful lot of high-definition movies on a single Archival Disc. But as the name suggests, the new disc format isn’t necessarily aimed at the consumer video market. Sony and Panasonic say the next-generation optical discs are designed for professional use and will provide a dust-resistant, water-resistant form of long-term storage for things you don’t need to keep on a hard drive (or data you want to back up).

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about next-gen optical disc technology. TDK has been showing off 1TB discs for years. But Sony and Panasonic are actually hoping to deliver their technology soon.

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11 replies on “Sony, Panasonic introduce “Archival Disc” with up to 1TB of storage”

  1. Solid State Hard drives are becoming cheaper,by the time the blank disks are out and the optical drives are on sale, 1TB hard drives will be really cheap!!!

    1. Who cares? How much space does a hundred hard drives take up? How many years can they sit on a shelf and be expected to spin back up? Quality optical media can go at least twenty years, some really good media makes a promise of a full century. Some people think in a longer timeframe.

      And Flash only promises a decade or two of storage life without power. Some low density stuff a little more, but 1TB SSD drives ain’t low density.

      1. A century… my arse. 5 years down the line and I have stacks of CD-rs and DVD-rs that are unreadable. I’d never trust optical media to store anything.
        Any manufacturer can make those sorts of claims, doesn’t mean they have any root in reality.

        1. The century lifespan for cd-roms is for the professionally pressed cd-r (the ones where pits are created) the ones we create at home have a dye that is zapped by the laser (hence the term burned), have a considerably shorter lifespan

  2. the question is how long this long term is.
    anything that can last as long as pyramids?

    1. Even if it did, would there be any drive around that could read it?

      1. You point out the problem with all these so-called
        backup media: media obsolescence. Long before
        the theoretical lifetime of these different media pass,
        you are unable to obtain the necessary components
        of these media ecosystems: the media, the drive,
        the connecting cable(s), etc.

        It wasn’t too long ago that the magnetic disc platter,
        Bernoulli, floppy disk (8″, 5.25″, 3.5″), Iomega ZIP,
        magneto-optical discs, CD-Rx, DVD-Rx, DAT, Ultrium, BD-Rx,
        were the archival media du jour.

        At some point, people are going to wise up and
        aren’t going to believe the archival storage industry.

        1. That’s why my backup medium of choice allways has been – Harddrives

          Put Data on Harddrive, disconnect from PC and store, connect / spin up the drive once a year to check.

          You still can get IDE Interface Cards, or use IDE-SATA adapters on the drives. If the Harddrives are SATA, they can be connected to any current system – problem solved.

          1. You would have had to wait for some time as the
            original mass market hard disks (does anyone recall
            Shugart’s 5 MB “evaluation” hard disks that were available
            for purchase by the general public, circa 1980?) used a 2 cable
            interface. It wasn’t until so many years later that IDE/ATAPI
            came around, and even then, there were interoperability issues
            with the early IDE drives. So those who jumped on the
            hard disk bandwagon early would have been up the creek.

            The Old West saying “you can tell the pioneers by
            the arrows on their backs” holds true even today.
            Interoperability is still a problem with every new
            technology. Seems like the more things change,
            the more they stay the same.

          2. i don’t know if you thought i was talking hypothetical or not, but i wasn’t.

            I am talking about MY ACTUAL backup strategy, and seeing as i am “only” 31 years old, and the first harddrive i’ve ever owned was a 40 MB Quantum IDE Drive – there never was early adopter or incompatibility issues.

            Obviously i havn’t kept using old drives for decades, but i still have some “Long-Term-Storage” drives in Use that are 160-300 GB IDE ones.

            Slowly Moving to Single-Platter 1TB SATA drives tho.

          3. Depending on your requirements, the data retention period of magnetic hard drives is too short compared to optical media. Also, from my anecdotal experience, HDDs kept in storage for “too long” (don’t recall the unpowered storage periods) may not spin up or the needle doesn’t move anymore.

            I remember reading about Facebook considering using Blu-rays for long term, non-powered data archiving. I’m going to assume before the readers for them stops being sold and their existing ones stop working, they’d jump to the next media format (to the delight of these archive media companies). I guess they could still go with HDDs and periodically transfer the data to new drives at shorter intervals but that could be more expensive.

            For me, I decided to go with convenience rather than possibly more reliable, less expensive, non-powered archival storage. I set up an Atom based Linux server. No raid or anything. It just backs up data to separate drives when changes are detected. I backup the backups to Amazon S3 which is set to go into Amazon Glacier after a month. Instead of setting up an automatic expiration period for the Glacier data, I manually go in and delete old archives periodically. The server periodically checks the backups’ data integrity using MD5 checksums and emails me if a file has been corrupted. I also get emails if the backup or upload processes fail for some reason.

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