The InPhase Tapestry holographic storage device is expected to debut next year. It will store 300GB and transfer data at 20MB/sec. That means 1.2GB/min and 72GB/hour. It will take four hours to write 288GB. That's quite a long time. You wouldn't want to use holo storage as your first line backup device because backup window problems would occur.

InPhase predicts that things will improve. The future 1.6TB holo platter will have data transferred to it at 120MB/sec. That means 7.2GB/min and 436GB/hour. In two hours there will be 869GB on data on the drive and 1.3TB will be there in three hours. Transfer speed is set to increase faster than capacity but not much faster.

Bit it is still not fast enough for front line backup purposes. I could see these disks being used for the steady drip-drip writing of archival data but not for applications where fast transfer speeds are needed.

InPhase reckons that its potential markets are ones where data needs storing for very long periods and the data doesn't lose value as it ages. It thinks such markets are ones like professional video, rich media, regulatory compliance, and data archive applications that value high capacity, fast (!) transfer rate, and long media archival life. The applications it can see using holo storage are ones such as security, geospatial imagery, entertainment and broadcast, medical, and scientific ones.

In other words holo storage will complement existing mass market storage devices and not replace them except, possibly, in these specific application areas. There we could see holo replacing Blu-ray/HD-DVD, possibly even preventing their entry because of its capacity superiority, and further edging out tape.

There isn't a single holographic storage standard. So far the Japanese optical disk companies aren't involved in any significant way. There has been no information about copy-protection or other digital rights management technologies for holo storage. This indicates to me that it's usage for consumer entertainment applications is a couple of years away at least on that score. There is also the problem of why an entertainment company would need 300GB capacity to distribute a film. It's just way too much.

There are no good predictions for when re-writable holographic storage products will occur and what their transfer speeds might be.

The conclusion we are left with is that holo storage promises to be a great high-capacity archive because it combines terrific capacity levels with random access to data.

One note; are we seeing here a growing silence from a dog we think should be barking? Where is Imation in the holographic storage media market? Ditto Fujitsu. Both are proficient suppliers of high areal density tapes. They know about storage surface chemistry. It's strange to see them absent from the holo field. Have they missed a trick?