Sony and Panasonic have teamed up to produce a new optical disc protocol that will be capable of storing up to 1TB of data. The ‘Archival Disc’ taking the same form factor as current DVDs and Blu-Rays is said to hit the market in 2015.
The disc will host three layers of data per side, with and initial storage capacity of 300G; 500G and 1TB versions will follow.
This subject can be dated back as early as July last year. However little has been mentioned on the filmmaking front and it’s potential use for us, so we felt it worth highlighting.
This news shows that both Sony and Panasonic have clear intentions about the future of optical discs. However this is not a view shared by everyone; clearly the opposite in the case of Apple, whom have dropped optical disc drives entirely from all Mac lines. With optical drive and flash storage becoming faster and cheaper, it’s easy to question the use of a medium that has obvious limitations.
But one thing that hard drives are still way behind on is longevity. Sony and Panasonic themselves have given us a clue in the initial name of the disc to suggest its acute primary target use; archiving.
An optical disc can last at least 50 years sat on a shelf with no particular requirements for an ‘optimal environment’. It’s this characteristic alone which is likely to earn the Archival Disc its place in a professional video archiving workflow.
There are currently some great solutions out there for hard drive based archiving, RAID enclosures like the
G-Technology G-Speed offer multiple duplication and speed over several drives that create a great archiving workflow. I myself have a RAID 1 setup, instantly duplicating data onto two drives, giving you a live and backup solution to your archive.
However archiving like this has a limited lifespan, and you need to regularly spin hard drives to maintain their shelf life, as well as considerations for the appropriate method and conditions to store a hard drive.
There’s also been growth in large online storage that can be useful for archiving, particularly when considering that this form of backup is in a completely different geographical location. However the speed of access both ways can be limiting for large projects, something that can’t match a physical master like a disc library.
It’s therefore clear that there still can be a place for optical disc storage, but it’s likely the cost of this new disc protocol will very much determine just how resourceful it is, over both online and hard drive based archiving.