Japanese technology companies Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp. have jointly developed a new optical disc than can store up to 300 Gigabytes of data and remain readable for up to 50 years.
The product, called Archival Disc, is scheduled for release in 2015 and is aimed at the long-term digital data storage market. The product is meant for professional archiving purposes. There are no current plans to market the product in the consumer space.
Panasonic and Sony have further plans to a series of products that have 500 GB and 1 Terabyte capacities in the near future. The two companies will sell the discs separately under their own brands.
The product has three layers per side and is able to store larger amounts of data by using a high-order partial response maximum likelihood (PRML) signal-processing technology, according to Sony and Panasonic.
Archival Disc also uses a crosstalk cancellation technology for higher playback quality.
Furthermore, the disk can be stored without the need for constant temperature and humidity control such as those currently required by other data storage media.
With maximum capacities reaching up to 3 TB, current linear tape open (LTO) cartridges can store more data than the Archival Disc. However, LTO cartridges usually last only up to 30 years.
Hard drives have an even shorter shelf life with a life expectancy of about four to five years before they start failing.