Sony has announced the introduction of a new range of Bluray discs aimed at large enterprises seeking a solution for the long-term storage of their data. With the new 300GB disc set to be launch in summer 2015, Sony expects to eventually produce discs capable of storing up to 1TB of data in the not too distant future, making Bluray a very viable rival to the long-standing dominance of tape drives for the purpose of archiving information.
Summer 2015 launch
The new discs aren’t set to hit the market until June 2015, with the 300GB version being the first to make an appearance. It is important to consider that 300GB is still a lot in comparison to the rather paltry 50GB discs currently used for consumer goods, such as games for the PS3 and the recently released PS4 and Xbox One.
Bluray discs for the consumer
Sony has detailed that it intends to market its new high capacity discs at the professional user rather than the consumer. Currently most consumer Bluray discs offer a capacity of 50GB and because consumers are more likely to utilise cloud services for backup purposes, there isn’t a distinct need in the marketplace for consumer-grade high-capacity Bluray discs.
Long-term digital storage
Whilst consumers look to store their information online with the intent of being able to access it instantly, enterprises have large amounts of data that they have built up over the years that they may no longer need active access to, but with which it would be preferable to keep it in storage for use at a later data. Keeping such data in storage off-site is a much more cost effective solution that maintaining it on active servers; first off it reduces the potential for data loss significantly as there is no active machine for hackers to access, storing discs is cheaper than running a server and server hardware can be freed up for revenue generating purposes.
Facebook using Bluray for ‘cold’ data storage
An example of where the offline storage of cold data can be effective is with Facebook, which has utilised 10,000 Bluray discs for the storage of information that is accessed infrequently. The idea of using Bluray discs in such a way is that it has allows Facebook to reduce costs by around 50% and its energy usage by 80%, compared with cold storage systems that are use disk drives. With the introduction of Sony’s new discs, it should be expected that we’ll see more enterprises introducing such concepts and discs with a higher capacity will only contribute to making such systems even more efficient.
Threat to tape drives
Currently, the most popular option employed in enterprise environments for the backup of large amounts of data for offsite storage is tape drives. Whilst tapes are able to handle large amounts of data (500GB is the average capacity of a tape), they take up a lot more room than optical discs and the infrastructure required for a tape configuration can be prohibitively expensive under some circumstances. The new Bluray discs announced by Sony will eventually dwarf the capacity provided by tapes and will be the more popular option as they will be a lot more cost effective and cheaper to eliminate; on the other hand, Fujitsu has announced that it is looking to develop tapes that have a capacity of 35TB, but these aren’t expected to make a debut for at least another decade.