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Data Storage Media Hardware

A Terabyte of Data on a Regular DVD? 200

Posted by Zonk
from the through-the-magic-of-magic dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "This is the promise of the 3-D Optical Data Storage system developed at the University of Central Florida (UCF). This technology allows to record and store at least 1,000 GB of data on multiple layers of a single disc. The system uses lasers to compact large amounts of information onto a DVD and the process involves shooting two different wavelengths of light onto the recording surface. By using several layers, this technique will increase the storage capacity of a standard DVD to more than a terabyte. Read more for additional references and a diagram showing how this two-photon 3D optical system reads data."
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A Terabyte of Data on a Regular DVD?

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  • by COMON$ (806135) *
    But how is this different than current dual layer DVDs? Does it just take advantage of shorter wavelengths or what?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Much higher density and multiple layers. TFA mentions 33 x-y planes (layers) of information. With that many planes, the density of each layer is comparable with a single side of a Blu-Ray disc. Can't remember if Blu-Ray is multi-layer or not.
      • by COMON$ (806135) *
        TFA also says we have been having issues reading the data and now they have solved the problem. Why weren't we seeing this problem with dual layer DVDs?

        I remember going over this in my CS courses years ago on the use of multiple wavelengths to write data, I assumed that was what they did with Dual Layer DVDs, but I see in the Wikipedia article that there is a physical layer to dual layer as this new tech is some kind of holographic tech?

    • What about HVD? (Score:2, Informative)

      by stonesmith (1037396)
      HVD is supposed to be out as early as next year and have 3.9 terrabytes of storage.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tobiasly (524456)
      Getting a terabyte of data onto a DVD is easy. You simply render the bits using little colored shapes [arabnews.com] instead of traditional laser-beam pits and valleys.
  • Woo Hoo! (Score:5, Funny)

    by stoneycoder (1020591) on Friday December 08, 2006 @01:26PM (#17164854)
    Glad I didn't buy blue-ray or HD-DVD, I knew they were both scams!
    • With technology such as the 3D technology, why make a stop at HD-DVD instead of going straight to the better technology? HD-DVD is obsolete before it has even really gone into much use.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday December 08, 2006 @01:28PM (#17164886) Journal
    Soon someone will announce that by using blue laser they get blu-Terabit-DVD and another will announce blu+terabit-DVD and one more blu-terabit+DVD and finally a blu+terabit+DVD. By the this time users would have been fed up and gone on a nice fishing trip in the Owen's river in California.
  • *waits for Sony to buy the technology and sit on it*

    It will be interesting to see whether or not this develops into something commercially viable. We can't have anything screwing up the perception the blu-ray is "THE FUTURE!" (tm), now can we?
    • Call me a fanboy but I don't think Sony's in the position to buy it. . . though I would like to personally tell them to sit on it. . .
    • by Yvan256 (722131)
      With only a few dozen PS3 sold world-wide, it's still time to go back and upgrade Blu-Ray. In five years, when a few thousands PS3 will have been sold, it'll be too late. ...

      Calm down Sony fanbois, it's only a joke.

  • by bateleur (814657) on Friday December 08, 2006 @01:29PM (#17164918)
    Can't help wondering how durable the resulting storage solution will prove to be. Maybe it's just me, but I'm always wary of solutions that use things for purposes they weren't designed for.
    • by PatrickThomson (712694) on Friday December 08, 2006 @01:39PM (#17165050)
      using it on regular dvds might be like the days of hole-punching 720k floppies.
    • by spyrochaete (707033) on Friday December 08, 2006 @01:55PM (#17165282) Homepage Journal
      I agree completely. My burned CDs from 5 years ago are quite deteriorated, and the new CDRs I buy are of even shoddier quality. It's time to put laser media to rest and start using something more resilient.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PoderOmega (677170)
        I have some burned CDs ranging from 1-8 years that have just been sitting in the dark in a CD binder. Visualy they look fine and I am still able to pull data from them without problems in the rare case I pull something off them. Are you leaving your CD-Rs in the sun, swapping them in and out of drives? Some of my music CD-Rs that get frequent use are not looking too good. One thing about my older CD-Rs is the look (the new ones are slightly translucent) and feel thicker than the newer ones I have purcha
        • A bunch of my CDRs are in cheapo binders. The plastic or vinyl or whatever the binders are made of get stuck to the CDs and kind of smear them and make them cloudy. Bummer.

          Nowadays I don't even bother. I leave my CDs on spindles. I don't know whether that's better or worse.
      • Maybe it's the quality of media that you buy.
        look up your media here to see how it rates.
        http://www.digitalfaq.com/media/dvdmedia.htm [digitalfaq.com]
      • by evilviper (135110)

        My burned CDs from 5 years ago are quite deteriorated, and the new CDRs I buy are of even shoddier quality.

        THEN STOP BUYING 5 CENT CDRs.

        I have a handful of 12 year-old CD-Rs that are still working just fine today, and hundreds of discs that are just a couple years newer and only 1% have EVER developed read-errors, and then they were always recoverable and a new copy was quickly made (though I do have secondary backups anyhow).

        It's time to put laser media to rest and start using something more resilient.

        Like

        • Remind me not to complain to you about rush hour. You'll probably suggest I found my own city.

          Seriously buddy. Bubble bath. Valium. Spliff. Repeat.
          • by evilviper (135110)
            Remind me not to complain to you about rush hour. You'll probably suggest I found my own city.

            No, I'll suggest you stop whining about it, because it doesn't help, and just makes you an annoyance (nobody likes to hear other people complaining).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)

      I don't know... CDs can be carved into excellent throwing stars.

      Seriously, though, lots of great things come from using things for purposes other than what they were intended for. Microwaves ovens were made after someone noticed that radar systems could melt candybars. CDs were originally intended, AFAIK, for audio, and only later adapted for general data discs for computers. That's often how technology advances: people realize they can use one discovery for an unintended and unrelated purpose.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by smallpaul (65919)
        Microwave ovens are made to be ovens. That the idea arose because of radar systems is irrelevant to this discussion. You're right that CDs were intended for audio. I would argue that they are not great for computer systems precisely for this reason. Unlike the old floppy disks, CDs do not do random-access writes and are not covered by a dust and dirt-blocking shell. On the other hand, standadizing on a non-optimal solution has had the great advantage of making CDs and CD players cheap as dirt, as well as a
        • Microwave ovens are made to be ovens. That the idea arose because of radar systems is irrelevant to this discussion

          It's not irrelevant, though you might lack the imagination to see the connection. The point is that technology is often developed for one purpose, and then later found to have other uses. Most technological development comes from mixing and matching different ideas and technology from different areas. Mankind didn't start making microwaves in order to cook food, nor did they produce aspiri

        • The original poster in this thread presumably values reliability over cost savings based upon his negative experience with CDs.
          Presumably not, as he says "A bunch of my CDRs are in cheapo binders. The plastic or vinyl or whatever the binders are made of get stuck to the CDs and kind of smear them and make them cloudy." If he spent a few pennies more on media and storage, he probably wouldn't be having the problems that he does.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LordKronos (470910)
      I'm always wary of solutions that use things for purposes they weren't designed for.

      I think the slashdot title is probably a bit misleading. It says "Regular DVD", but from reading the article, all I got out of it was that they can put this much data on something the SIZE of a regular DVD. If it mentioned anything about using a DVD+/-R that you can buy from the store today, then I completely missed it.
      • by powerlord (28156)
        Exactly. This is more like a successor to Blu-Ray or HD-DVD. I.e. a new ultra-dense format that is the same size as a standard CD/DVD.

        It isn't a DVD unless I can put it into a DVD drive and read it. ... much like some people don't think a copy protected CD is a CD, since it can't be read by computers using their CD drives, and standard CD methods.
  • finally! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rooked_One (591287) on Friday December 08, 2006 @01:31PM (#17164940) Journal
    something big enough to hold my pr0n collection!
  • Finally!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eno2001 (527078) on Friday December 08, 2006 @01:35PM (#17165000) Homepage Journal
    I might actually be able to back my data up at home to something other than more striped HDs!!
  • A "Regular" DVD? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Spritzer (950539) *
    That doesn't sound like a regular DVD to me.
  • Article is wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by Andy Dodd (701) <.ude.llenroc. .ta. .7dta.> on Friday December 08, 2006 @01:38PM (#17165042) Homepage
    By the definition of a DVD (yes, just like the various "color" Book standards that defined CDs, there are standards that define DVDs), this new technology will not result in a standard DVD by any means.

    More proper terminology might be "in a standard form factor 12cm optical disc".
    • From the article:

      The information is highly compacted, so the disk isn't much thicker. It's like a typical DVD.


      So this is a disk that looks like a DVD. It will also "look" like a CD, BR, or HD-DVD disk. Basically this summary is incredibly inaccurate and the article itself is pretty much crap as well since it is devoid of any real detail on how this works and how long it might last.
  • Better Make that DVD scratch proof. Wouldn't one tiny scratch or piece of gunk and blot out a few megs of stuff? Or maybe they'll put it in a plastic casing (like a cartridge)..
    • by Jerf (17166)
      DVDs already have that problem.

      In fact, CDs already have that problem.

      Go look up what the engineers have done to solve that problem. It transfers to this new technology just fine. (It's somewhat more complicated that I care to type into a Slashdot post when other web sites cover it with images and diagrams and stuff, not just text.) Google for cd error correction red book [google.com]. (The "red book" is the CD standard and ensures that you'll get discussions about the actual standard; without I found some other irrelev
  • by tpjunkie (911544) on Friday December 08, 2006 @01:42PM (#17165092) Journal
    Both articles repeat the phrase "uses lasers to compact large amounts of information onto a DVD" and then state that several layers would then be utilized. First of all, what the hell does using lasers to compact information mean? As far as I can tell, the articles explain how they are able to cause a state change in recording media with two wavelengths of light, and read it using a single wavelength, and that this media layer is particularly thin, allowing for multiple layers to be stacked up on the disc.

    In my opinion, if you're going to the trouble of utilizing a multiple beam system in your drive, holographic storage makes a lot more sense, as both beams are the same wavelength (meaning only a single laser and a beam splitter are needed), your read times are going to be tremendously faster, due to the data all being stored in the same layer, obviating the need to refocus or switch beams, and finally, due to the nature of holography (in that small sections of a hologram contain the information needed to reconstruct the entire hologram), a disc with holographic storage should be much more resistant to read errors resulting from scratches, whereas with one of these, a scratch could render data on several layers unreadable.
    • by abradsn (542213)
      These problems can be overcome.


      1.) Put the disc in a sheath, effectively doubling the size of the disc, but rendering it safe from scratches.
      2.) Double the size of the protective platstic layer on the disc, or make that protective layer much harder.
      3.) Develop technology that can see at a higher resoultion to avoid needing to refocus.
      4.) Use more than one laser focused at different distances.
      5.) Speed up the ability to switch beams.

      Though practically, none of these things are likely to happen... e
    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday December 08, 2006 @02:34PM (#17165776) Homepage Journal
      and finally, due to the nature of holography (in that small sections of a hologram contain the information needed to reconstruct the entire hologram), a disc with holographic storage should be much more resistant to read errors resulting from scratches, whereas with one of these, a scratch could render data on several layers unreadable.

      You are incorrect - you're almost right but your interpretation of the durability of a hologram is unfounded.

      Small portions of a hologram contain the information needed to produce an approximation of the original image. The difference between traditional and holographic storage is that a scratch on a CD renders the information under the scratch unreadable, while a scratch on a hologram degrades the entire image.

      In other words, you lose just as much data, it's just unevenly distributed. In the end, it will help you with durability by making it so that a certain percentage of the disc must be damaged before the data is unreadable; but at the same time, if you start with a 10cm square hologram, and you want to be able to still read the data faithfully if you only have 1cm square area left, your data will have to be written across 100x the area that it normally would in order for you to be able to read it out later.

      If a 700MB CD without ECC is 800MB then an audio CD is ostensibly one-eighth error correction. Assuming the same density, you would get the same amount of data on the CD, but you would still be able to read data from any part of the CD as long as no more than 1/8 of the media was destroyed. In theory you could drill some symmetrical, balanced holes in such a CD (assuming a rotating-media holographic system, which is probably not a safe assumption) and lose nothing, not even the data you punched out.

      Anyway, the REAL problem with optical disc durability is that the top layer is vulnerable. Scratches on the bottom can be polished out and minor scratches don't even have a significant effect because the laser is focused on the metal layer, not on the disc surface. It's diffuse when it passes through the layer where the scratches are. If the top of the disc were protected, I'd probably have lost about 50% less discs. I just had to throw about five discs away because their metal layer stuck to my CD binder and peeled off... And the first CD I ever killed died because I laid my arm across it for a couple minutes and sweated on it, which caused big chunky pieces of the metal layer to delaminate and stick to my arm like gold flakes.

      • "Small portions of a hologram contain the information needed to produce an approximation of the original image. The difference between traditional and holographic storage is that a scratch on a CD renders the information under the scratch unreadable, while a scratch on a hologram degrades the entire image."

        BullShit!

        Provide me with the source on this one. A scratch is a scratch, depending on how it impedes the reading of the information, neither system will fair better. Your under the misunderstanding tha
        • by imsabbel (611519)
          you obviously dont understand how an hologram works.

          Try getting one (a real one, for illumination with coherent light), and break it in half.
          Then look at each parts seperately and be surprised.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Provide me with the source on this one. A scratch is a scratch, depending on how it impedes the reading of the information, neither system will fair better. Your under the misunderstanding that a scratch in on location on an HVD will make the entire disc unreadable. That's incorrect.

          Okay, first of all: s/fair/fare/, s/Your/You're/, s/in on/on/

          Second, you are under the mistaken impression that I believe that a scratch on the HVD will make the entire disc unreadable. That's incorrect. HVD stores data i

      • by evilviper (135110)

        Anyway, the REAL problem with optical disc durability is that the top layer is vulnerable.

        No. DVDs put the reflective "top" layer between two layers of plastic in the exact center of the disc, so you have to break it in half to even get to the reflective layer.

        I just had to throw about five discs away because their metal layer stuck to my CD binder and peeled off...

        You're just using extremely cheap crap CD-Rs. If you spend a fraction more, you'll find all the better ones have a nice thick layer on top to

        • by drinkypoo (153816)
          I'm glad to hear that DVDs sandwich the metal layer. I haven't noticed. And yes, I have been using cheap crap CD-Rs - some of them date back to when they cost an order of magnitude more than they do today, more of them date back to when they were only twice what they are today, but I had about a quarter as much money so it seemed like they cost eight times what they do now :P
    • by ishark (245915)
      Yes, it's light on detail, but sounds very similar to a two-photon 3D storage technique which was presented some time ago. I can't remember the name of the company, but basically they used two laser beams of different wavelength and different direction to perform the 3D selection. Two-photon absorption of the beams (one photon from each) provides the writing capability. It looked somewhat vaporous, and I've searched a bit on google but I can't find the company website, which reinforces the vaporous side
  • by Peter Trepan (572016) on Friday December 08, 2006 @01:44PM (#17165124)
    I have enough trouble with my regular DVDs getting hosed. I imagine this would only make the process of data retreival even more delicate. Can the data be stored more robustly if some storage capacity is given up?

    Oo! Oo! Could this be done with software, even if the manufacturer decides to go with one nonrobust terabyte?
    • by Sparr0 (451780)
      read-only RAID with 4 partitions on the disc :)
    • by evilviper (135110)
      Can the data be stored more robustly if some storage capacity is given up?

      No, but it could be more robust if you use the full ammount of storage AND PUT THE DAMN DISC IN A CADDY SO IT CAN'T POSSIBLY GET SCRATCHED TO BEGIN WITH.

      Why do so many people look torwards redundancy when the problem is clearly an utter lack of any protection from the elements?
      • Any parent will tell you that no caddy or jewel case will protect a DVD from every destructive element in its environment.
        • by evilviper (135110)
          Jewel case, no.
          Caddy, YES.

          Provided you aren't running it over with a car, or jabbing it with a large screwdriver, it'll hold up to most anything.
  • The bonus is that the bandwidth of my stationwagon goes up dramatically as well!
  • by TyFighter (189732)
    FMD-ROMs were the wave of the future, what? 6 years ago? Promising to hold up to 140GB?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluorescent_Multilaye r_Disc [wikipedia.org]
    None of this kind of vaporware will ever see the light of day unless Sony or Microsoft wants it to.
  • And they'll use them in the Playstation 4. After all, Blu-ray is so....2006.

  • In best Dr. Evil voice: "One million dollars!" *muhahahahaha*
  • Slow I/O??? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sargeant Slaughter (678631) on Friday December 08, 2006 @01:53PM (#17165250) Homepage
    If this is using essentially the same technology as DVD i think the read/write speeds would be awfully slow to handle 1 TB of data. If the bits are squeezed into a smaller surface area (instead of just layerd on top of eachother) if should read faster but if the space the bits take up is the same I think it would have simial I/O performance. After all, you can only spin a disc so fast (10-15K RPM).
    Unless they find a way to read/write to multiple layers simultaneously and very efficiently, I think it would be really slow. At round normal DVD I/O speeds, burning one of those suckers would take like 60 hours!
    Universities like to announce stuff like they are a big breakthroughs when in reality they have little to no impact. Get's their names in paper...
    • by Kjella (173770)
      Unless they find a way to read/write to multiple layers simultaneously and very efficiently, I think it would be really slow. At round normal DVD I/O speeds, burning one of those suckers would take like 60 hours!

      So, if I go away for a weekend I can come back and have ~200 DVDs backed up on one disc, which I presumably only need to access one at a time. Though since DVD is 1x, I can probably stream them to 4-5 TVs around the house in a (up to) 16x drive. What part of that isn't huge? Or backing up my whole m
  • magnetic tape...catridges...optical discs....so many wildly different storage mediums.

    When will the next big innovation occur, and what will it be? Even a holographic disc is still a *disc*, no matter how advanced it is.
    • The use of a holographic storage method could be a very big step if they get it to work (have we heard promises like that before?). Imagine holographic storage in cube form instead. Then we'd really talk about major capacity. I'm hoping this could become the first real world step towards something like that.
      • by Pojut (1027544)
        cube form (or something similar thereof) would almost be a requirement...if we still haven't learned that optical discs are too easily damaged in the 25+ years they have been around...
  • This is neat and all, but I'm still holding out for FMD-ROM [slashdot.org].

    I've been waiting for seven years, so it's got to be out Real Soon Now.
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluorescent_Multilaye r_Disc [wikipedia.org]

    I'm pretty sure the company went bankrupt.
  • by Phat_Tony (661117) on Friday December 08, 2006 @02:07PM (#17165444)
    I remember when the first computers with DVD-ROM's started showing up, the computers generally had about 200-400MB hard drives. So a single 600MB CD disk held more than everything on your entire hard drive.

    Now a standard computer might come with a 160 or 250GB hard drive, and where are disks? Only at about 8 GB for DL DVD's. Instead of fitting one or two hard drives of info on a single disc, now you fit 20 or more discs onto a single hard drive.

    Yeah, I know Blue Ray and HD-DVD will be in computers soon, but they don't come close to reversing the trend. Soon we'll have 25-50 GB/disc, and by that time probably at least 500GB-1TB standard hard drives. And then it'll be a long time with frequent hard drive upgrades and no bigger discs again. Blue Ray and HDDVD may be bigger, but at the rate they're getting bigger, discs are still falling farther and farther behind.

    I hope there will be some revolutionary increase like holographic storage discs, but I'm not holding my breath, because I remember reading articles about how we'd have terabyte holographic storage devices in a few years going back as far as NASA [harvard.edu] in 1993 and 4D [4dtechnology.com] around 1997. Holographic storage seems to be one of those technologies like fusion that are always a few years off.

    At least holographic storage is always five years away, while fusion is always 20 years away. At least that sounds more promising.
    • by Phat_Tony (661117)
      OK, I linked to the wrong company. That 4D was founded in 2002.

      I don't know what company I saw around 1997 talking about their new holographic storage medium that was going to revolutionize everything in just a few years, I thought they were called 4D. Perhaps they were and now they're gone and there's this other 4D, or perhaps I got the name wrong.
    • I think you're right on. Many people say that the next generation of high-def DVDs will be the last. I get it. Ten years from now, data distribution will be done over the internet. For backup, we will use cheap magnetic disks, which (if left alone and stored correctly) are much more durable than optical disks. For media portability, we will use iPods or flash. There will be no role left for the optical disk.

      The parent post gives another reason for the decline and inevitable death of optical disks.

  • Read/write speed? Redundancy/ease of destroying data accidentally? How is it that these questions aren't even considered? If it's too easy to lose the data, and/or it takes days to read/write it, I don't care how much data it holds... do you?
  • and getting a scratch will be able to corrupt so many other people's medical records than the paltry number you can now fit on a 'fading' tape.

    I can hardly wait...
  • Not a standard DVD (Score:3, Informative)

    by NiteShaed (315799) on Friday December 08, 2006 @02:22PM (#17165646)
    The summary says "By using several layers, this technique will increase the storage capacity of a standard DVD to more than a terabyte.", yet UFC's website offers the following description:
    "Depending on the color (wavelength) of the light, information is written onto a disk. The information is highly compacted, so the disk isn't much thicker. It's like a typical DVD."
    A disk that "isn't much thicker" than a standard DVD isn't a standard DVD.
  • Great, terabytes of data... I want a disc that won't turn into a coaster 5 years from now, especially if it has a terabyte of data on it. Heck, I'd be more impressed if at this point in time the good ol' CD-R was improved upon to make the data last 50 years so that I don't have to keep copying them every 5 years.
  • Do you need those special funky yellow glasses to use it?
  • by lukesl (555535) on Friday December 08, 2006 @09:04PM (#17170094)
    This is the same idea as two-photon microscopy [wikipedia.org], a relatively common technique in biological sciences. Basically, the advantage is that it gives you very good resolution in the z dimension (not just x and y). This allows you to image deep into biological tissue, or apparently, into multiple layers of an optical disc. It's not exactly a new idea, and the technology is mature. The question is whether or not it can be made affordable--a low-end titanium-sapphire laser costs around $130,000, and they have to be physically large enough to accommodate several meters (IIRC) of optical path length. The development of laser diodes with high enough intensity to do two-photon excitation will probably be the limiting factor in bringing this to market, not the dye chemistry.

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