New Hitachi Storage Will Hold Data for Millions of Years

Hitachi’s newest data storage medium is a square of quartz glass designed to hold important data for up to 100 million years.

Although it may sound a bit like science fiction, the new storage method could hit the storage market as early as 2015.

Glass Hitachi Storage for Both Enterprises and Individuals

The quartz glass is expected to serve a community of large enterprises, historical centers, and databases that have large amounts of critical information to store.

Because of the permanent nature of the new Hitachi storage medium, Hitachi representatives believe that public documents and cultural artifacts would be well-suited for quartz glass storage. The life of current digital media such as CDs and hard drives spans only a few decades or a century at most.

Although the glass storage medium may not immediately reach the individual consumer, the storage appears to be fitting for those who want to leave information behind for future generations. Hitachi envisions a program in the future where individuals could send their most important data to Hitachi to have it etched on quartz glass storage technology.

Hitachi Researchers Create Data Storage that Survives Strenuous Conditions

Developed in conjunction with Kyoto University, the new Hitachi storage medium features quartz glass etched with a laser in a pattern of small dots. The glass is both heat resistant and water resistant and, according to Hitachi, is designed to last for “hundreds of millions of years.”

Researchers tested the glass data storage with a serious accelerated aging test that included two hours of continued exposure to 2000-degree Celsius heat (that is 3,632 degrees Fahrenheit for all our American readers). Despite the strenuous testing, the glass Hitachi storage was able to retain the stored data.

Holding more data per square inch than a traditional compact disk, the quartz glass is etched on four different layers with a pattern of small dots that can later be read with an optical microscope. Although read and write times were slow at first, Hitachi has designed a faster way to write up to 100 dots simultaneously.

Photo Credit: Striving to a Goal, Flickr. CC Licensed.

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