Is Holographic Storage Really on Its Way?

By Henry Newman

From the what are they thinking column --

I am not sure what motivates venture capital firms to keep investing in technology that has yet to come to market. For example, I recently saw this article about holographic storage in The Register. My issue is not with holographic storage per se, but the fact that it has been just a short period of time from being available for -- 20 years or so. What market research are these people doing? There are four issues with long-term storage in my opinion.

  1. With density increase, you reduce your available floor space. As storage grows, floor space reduction is a critical area.
  2. As I have said time and time again, it is the interface. How is an operating FC-AL interface that is working in a modern operating system both the HBA and the driver? FC-Al left us about 10 years ago, and it is nowhere to be found. Interfaces do not last as long as the storage.
  3. The robotics around the storage must be serviced, and who has working robotics that are supported 20 years after release?
  4. Last, but not least, is the software interface (e.g., backup or HSM ) and the format of the data. What stands the test of time? I surely do not know.

This is not to say that I am not intrigued by the storage technology, and I do hope that holographic storage is successful in the market. However, like the author of The Register article, I too, have my doubts. What I do not understand is why people invest significant capital without a good understanding of the market they are entering and the market requirements. All the large archival sites I deal with or have heard about are concerned with the four areas I have outlined.

I do not get it.

This article was originally published on July 02, 2012