Holographic storage media developer Hitachi Maxell is widely reported to be promising a 300GB holographic disk in time for Christmas.

Maxell's US technical marketing director Rich D'Ambrise said that the 300GB holographic disks will ship either in November or December. This is inline with holographic drive supplier InPhase's schedule.

Maxell is thinking there will be an 800GB capacity disk in 2008 with another 1.6TB capacity one in 2010. At Christmas-time this year media will be $120 - 180 per disc with drives costing an expensive $15,000.

The intention is supply the data archiving market. Its technology will be write-once and have a forecast 50-year life span.

Two media companies are testing the drives and disks, Pappas Broadcasting in Reno and Turner Broadcasting.

The current write speed of 20MB/sec means it will take up to 4 hours to write 300GB. This slow I/O rate will prevent holo storage taking over from tape for general purpose data archiving. It is hoped to increase the I/O speed.

Hitachi Maxell thinks that the size of the write/read laser used in holographic storage could be reduced further with a postage stamp-size unit holding 75-100GB of data. This would make current USB thumb drives anorexic in comparison. The company is also looking at both CD and credit card-size form factors with the consumer market in mind.

It could be that both HD-DVD and Blu-ray will be eclipsed in the enterprise storage market from 2008 onwards.