Quartz Glass is Hitachi’s 100 Million Year Data Storage

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The longevity of data is always a concern when the topics go to the different types of memory storage available in technology. Whether it’s flash memory or optical storage, one of the most important requirements of storage is that they last a long time with little to no degradation of data. There are few advances in optical storage, but this is the biggest advance in the optical storage industry. In an attempt to take care of this longevity issue, Hitachi announced that it has been developing an optical storage method based on quartz glass. The storage method, according to the company, will be able to keep date for 100 million years.

Hitachi’s claim seems like an exaggeration when you consider that most optical storage systems today only last for a few decades (some even less than that). Hitachi, however, remains optimistic about it quartz glass technology. It’s possible that the company has the right to be confident. The quartz glass storage that Hitachi has been developing has already gone through some age accelerating tests and passed the stringent requirements unscathed. Hitachi’s quartz glass data chips were able to survive extreme temperatures of 1,000 degrees Celsius for the duration of two hours. In addition to the heat resistance, the glass chips are also water- and chemical-resistant.

The unique thing about this quartz storage technology is that it wouldn’t need a specific device, such as a DVD drive, to read it. The data contained by glass chips can be read using just an optical microscope. Since the storage type is still in its prototype phase, Hitachi is looking for more developments in the future. Currently, the glass-based storage can only hold a compact disc’s worth of data, making it unsuitable for the current memory market, which demands incredibly high storage capacities. The storage medium will likely attract institutions that need data archives. Government institutions and museums are a few that come to mind.

Hitachi projected that the medium might be introduced into the market by 2015. But even at that period, it’s hard to say that the technology will be capable of replacing the magnetic and flash memory storage technologies of today. In the meantime, it would be great if Hitachi were to find a way to keep the glass storage from breaking when you drop it.

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