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Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Holographic Storage System Ships in July

InPhase Technologies announced on Monday it will start shipments of the Tapestry HDS-300R, the industry's first 300GB-capacity holographic disc drive this July.

The initial Tapestry HDS-300R holographic disc drives shipped in December to beta users. The device will be able to record on write-once holographic media and is aimed strictly at the archival market. The company plans to come to market with a re-writable format disc by the end of 2008.

InPhase's first-generation product has a data transfer rate of 20MB/sec, 100,000-hour meantime between failure rate and a 50-year expected lifespan. By the end of 2008, InPhase plans a second-generation 800GB optical disc with data transfer rates of about 80MB/sec, with plans to expand its capacity to 1.6TB by 2010. Diaz said his company plans to make all of its products backward compatible.

Each holographic disk actually holds up to 600GB. According to Nelson Diaz, CEO of InPhase, the remaining 300GB not being used for data storage is taken up by error correction software.

To a backup server the holographic disc looks like a drive letter, allowing users to drag and drop files.

The optical platters are encased in a 5.25in square casing that looks like a floppy disk, except that they're 3mm thick. The platter itself is 1.5mm thick and data is written as a holographic image throughout the substrate of the disc.

Unlike CDs and DVDs where data is written on the surface, data is written throughout the substrate of the disc, meaning scratches, dust or dirt have little effect on data retrieval.

At $18,000 for a holographic disk drive, InPhase has priced its product roughly mid-point between a $30,000 enterprise-class tape drive and midrange tape drives such as LTO tape drives, which go for around $4,000. The holographic platters will retail for $180 each.

InPhase was spun off the technology from Bell Laboratories in 2000. The company plans to sell the product through resellers. Hitachi Maxell will be manufacturing the tapestry line of holographic discs with photopolymer materials from Bayer MaterialScience.

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