Current optical disc formats are less than ideal for archiving or backup purposes due to space constraints.
It is often not possible to back up your root partition to a single disc, and while it is possible to span the archive on multiple discs, it not only is inconvenient but also increases the chance of data failure.
Internal or external hard drives on the other hand offer Terabytes of space, which usually is enough to back up whatever you want to archive.
The problem here is that the method works fine for sporadic backups, but when you need to back up regularly, you will either have to buy lots of drives, or delete old backups regularly to make space for newer ones.
Business-specific archiving solutions such as tapes or cartridges offer high storage options (in the Terabyte range per cartridge) but come at a price.
Sony and Panasonic announced the Archival Disc format officially today. The next-generation optical disc format will launch in the summer of 2015 with a capacity of 300 Gigabyte.
Both companies plan to increase that size to 500 Gigabyte and 1 Terabyte in the future.
Blu-Ray Discs support a disc size of up to 128 GB, which means that the first iteration of the Archival Disc format increases that by nearly a factor of three.
The Archival Disc specification confirms that the new format uses a double-sided disc technology with three layers per side and a data bit length of 79.5 nanometers and a track pitch of 0.225 micrometers.
Sony and Panasonic emphasize that the new format has been specifically designed for "the market for long-term digital data storage". What the press release fails to address are the benefits of the new format in comparison to existing solutions.
For example, while we know the storage size of the optical discs, we do not know how long they will last, how fast the recording speed or read speed is, or how much recordable discs and writers will cost.
No information are provided whether the new standard supports re-writeable discs as well. The key specification lists write-once as the disc type only.
The new format competes against a number of solutions. First against existing local backup solutions such as tapes, cartridges or external drives, but also against growing remote backup services.
Sony and Panasonic target the professional market with the new format first and foremost according to the press release.
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