Microsoft “glass hard drive”: 2mm, can store 75.8G data

Microsoft partnered with Warner Bros. to launch a portable “glass hard drive.” 7.5 cm square, thickness of only 2 mm glass can store 75.8G data, without fear of wind and rain, knife fire and roast, life may be as long as 1000 years. Is this the future of massive data storage and data centers? A cup cushion-sized piece of glass could be the future of massive data storage technology.

Microsoft and Warner Bros. have partnered to conduct a conceptual test of a new long-term information storage technology. Researchers at both companies successfully loaded the 1978 film “Superman” into a cup cushion-sized silicon dioxide glass sheet and read it. This new medium stores for centuries and can withstand unbearable damage to film or magnetic drives.

The quartz glass slides used by the researchers were 75 x 75 mm in size and only 2 mm thick, but could safely store 75.6 GB of data with room for storing incorrect redundancy codes. Although the glass sheets may sound fragile, tests have shown that they are also very “robust and resistant”.

The team exposed it to a variety of harsh environments – submerged in water, heated in a microwave oven, degaussed, boiled in water, rubbed with a steel wool, and then baked in an oven at 260 degrees Celsius. After various “baptisms”, the internal data is still readable.

Experiments have shown that these media are not as susceptible to fire, flood, earthquake, power outages or electromagnetic interference as conventional storage devices. They don’t need that much energy to achieve optimal storage conditions. Today, data centers around the world need a lot of energy to cool it down, and these glass pieces of storage may be working. Moreover, they take up much less physical space than traditional storage devices.

Warner Bros.’s Brad Collar (left) and Vicky Colf (right) compared the difference between storing data of the same size on a film and a slide-carrying disc

Perhaps most importantly, their service life can be 1,000 years or more. Even under ideal conditions, magnetic storage devices can degrade within a decade. To solve this problem, many companies preemptively transfer data to newer devices every few years, an expensive and time-consuming process.

Project Silica is not targeted at the consumer market, given long-term demand and durability requirements, and its target customers are companies with significant data archiving needs.

“We’re not building devices that can be placed indoors, we’re not using them to play movies, ” says Ant Rowstron, deputy director of the Cambridge Lab at Microsoft Research. “We’re building storage at the cloud level. One of the big issues to address today is the amount of time it takes to transfer and rewrite data to next-generation media. We really want to be able to store something for 50 or 100 years, or even 1000 years. ”

Studios like Warner Bros. are needing to store nearly 100 years of movies, television, animated shorts, radio shows and other material. Now, the two companies have teamed up to store the 1970s Superman films on glass and successfully read them, proving the feasibility of the technology.

The data is written to the glass medium by a short pulse of a femelet laser, and the infrared signal encodes the data in a nano-scale 3D version of the pixel, called voxels. Each carodop is shaped like an inverted teardrop, storing different data by arranging the size and placement angle of different “carnomes”. Currently, researchers can stack more than 100 layers of “carnousls” into glass that is only 2 mm thick.

When data needs to be read, you can use a computer-controlled microscope to examine the glass sheet with another beam of laser. Depending on the arrangement direction of the carnouser, the light is reflected back to the camera in different colors, and the intensity of the reflected light varies depending on the size of the carnouspress. You can use machine learning algorithms to analyze this information and the layer it is in, and quickly decode the raw data.

“If you’re a little older now, you’re sure to look back on the days when you used cassette rewinds and transcripts of songs, it might take some time to find the part you want,” said Richard Black, Microsoft’s chief research software engineer. In contrast, reading from glass media is very fast because it can be found on three dimensions at the same time. ”

Quartz glass storage is not the only new data storage technology for the project. Other durable storage technologies that researchers are testing are also being tested, including high-density storage media (DNA storage) that exist in nature itself, and organic molecular and bacterial genome storage.

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