Sony Replacing Tape With Optical Disc Archive System

Sony announced on Monday that it is now working on a next-generation optical disc archive storage system that should be available in various solutions by Fall 2012. Called the ODS-D55U Optical Disc Archive Drive, it will handle Sony's upcoming Optical Disc Cartridges which contain 12 discs in one cartridge-like enclosure. Each cassette capacity will range from 300 GB to 1.5 TB, depending on the model (ODC1500R etc.).

"Sony’s new system will deliver superior long-term storage capabilities, which are enabled through the use of media built to withstand changes in temperature and humidity, and is dust and water resistance," the company said. "Furthermore, the new system provides guaranteed intergenerational compatibility and eliminates the need to re-archive copies of past archive data, offering a more user-friendly and dependable long-term storage solution."

After installing Sony's driver on a PC, users will be able to connect the ODS-D55U to a USB 3.0 port and use an Optical Disc Cartridge as a single large volume. The ODS-D55U will accept any type of data files just like other IT storage, Sony said, adding that it provides a quicker, more direct access to data than legacy linear data tape systems. Even more, robotics for the ODS-D55U is planned for the future.

According to the company, many manufacturers have already expressed an interest in the new Optical Disc Archive including ASG-Atempo, Dalet, Front Porch Digital, Harris, SGL, Square Box Systems Ltd, TDK Corporation and Vizrt. TDK has reportedly already announced both its full support of the Optical Disc Archive, and that it will begin manufacturing disc media under license from Sony.

On Tuesday Sony said that it is also organizing an Optical Disc Archive Advisory Group to promote the adoption of this new storage format. It's open to participation by media and entertainment companies from across the globe to further build the market for video image archive solutions.

"With this group, Sony will collaborate with partners to establish and maintain a solution and application software environment that advances optimum specifications and system architectures among other areas, while anticipating future trends and demand in the archive solutions segment," Sony said. "The broadcasters and motion picture companies listed below have already announced their participation in the Optical Disc Archive Advisory Group."

In addition to the commercial products, Sony will push for companies and consumers to transfer their video content stored on old-school linear tape to the company's new format. "The establishment of an open platform so that the valuable video content stored in tape media can be archived and passed on to the next generation in an optimal format will help industry move toward creating a new market for archive solutions," Sony said.

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  • jakjawagon
    how is this better than an external hard drive?
  • Anonymous
    Hi Jak,
    For commercial applications - this is a much better choice than a hard drive. For consumers, not nearly as important. Imagine a typical office use - an architectural office or games company. Huge amounts of data are added to the archives every day - and you need to be able to retrieve data from backups for particular days or weeks. EG - what state was project X in on tuesday last week, I think I've broken the engine/cad file etc. In other words you need lots of these disks (or tapes), not just one drive which is constantly overwritten. Also, hard drives are not nearly as robust as these optical disks - magnetics, temperature changes and flooding would kill a hard disk - but these would have a much better chance of surviving a catastrophe. Hard drives are so cheap these days that I can envisage a commercial backup solution using hard disks, but for all the other reasons I've listed, and more, optical or tape based backup storage is far more appropriate for an enterprise environment. For your home - stick with an external hard drive, as you suggest. Hope this helps explain the purpose of the above system jak :-)


    Robin Jubber
    Chief Technical Officer,
  • Collie147
    I disagree. Optical storage is generally BURNED, i.e. scorched organic material. Most of my original burned CDs are long gone and my DVDs are starting to go too. Although tapes are subject to magnetic interference, the built in error correction works fine. We have an enterprise system here where we backup and archive everything on a daily basis and send it for off-site storage in case of a building/citywide emergency and we can pull data back from 10 or 15 years ago. Unless I'm mistaken or sony/TDK have found a better organic material to burn into, I dont see these discs lasting indefinitely. I'm aware that tapes do not last indefinitely either but long term I see tapes lasting longer, I can still read floppy discs from 20 years ago without any special storage techniques.