Given the growing demand for data storage, technology is moving to improve the performance offered by holographic data. The goal is to be able to keep as much data as possible, without affecting its quality.
Stop for a moment to think about the amount of digital data which are processed every day. From social media posts, to work emails, to advertisements, to photos, each of our digital actions produces data.
A world of data
In turn, each of these data must be stored and remembered. The current number of data around the world is truly impressive, and it seems to be increasing day by day.
It is estimated that around 2025 we will reach 200 zettabytes, a truly incredible amount of information. Still, technology and i archiving methods do not seem able to meet the growing demand.
Cloud storage is increasingly in demand, because it allows you to record and store your data directly online (without physical media). But, even then, the ability to please the public is slowly running out.
We are getting to the point where the need of storage grows faster than the capacity of storage. Researchers have to think of something, and holographic data seems like the smartest solution at the moment.
Ant Rowstron, a researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge, began collaborating with Microsoft Azure, proposing a holographic storage model.
Holographic data to save memory
Before delving into Rowstron's proposal, it is right to clarify what holographic storage is and how it works.
I holographic data are recorded in a lower case hologram, located inside a cube-shaped crystal. Instead of using a “rigid” support, we rely on an incredibly innovative system.
In order to enter the hologram, the data exploits the light - in particular a laser beam - which allows it to move in space. Each block of data is called pages, and contains up to a hundred kilobytes of data, which is quite easy to recover.
In fact, it is sufficient to transmit a pulse of light to the hologram, which is subsequently captured by a camera. The combined action of the two elements allows to reconstruct the data page, bringing the information back to reality.
Faster, more sustainable
Second Benn Thomsen, a researcher at Microsoft Research, one of the main strengths of the project concerns the speed of access to data. Compared to a hard drive, access to the Cloud is extremely faster.
In addition to being faster, archiving via holographic data is also greener sustainable. Since it does not need physical parts, the storage system has the potential to resist indefinitely, without polluting or damaging the environment.
We are therefore talking about a functional and extremely positive method, which could revolutionize the data storage service forever.
How long will that take? A little bit'. It will take several years before we can see a reliable holographic data system built, but it appears more of a "when" than an "if".