Call/Recall hopes to put optical storage on the enterprise map with new technology that squeezes 1TB on a single disk and offers transfer rates that compete with hard disk drives.
Call/Recall, a 20-year-old company with its roots in HPC storage, says its two‑photon 3D optical storage technology is the brainchild of company co-founder and chief technology officer Peter Rentzepis, a former head of Bell Laboratories who authored 85 patents and now boasts a half-dozen more.
The company's technology is now available for licensing. The company is in talks with laser and drive manufacturers and expects full systems to become available in 2009, said CEO Wayne Yamamoto.
Call/Recall boasts data transfer rates of 100-500 MB per second and a roadmap that includes as much as 5TB on a single disk. It expects the technology to be used by manufacturers of consumer electronics devices as well as large-scale enterprise and government customers.
Yamamoto said he expects the technology to compete well with tape, offering "longer life, greater reliability and easier care." He said he once broke a disk in half by accident and could still read it after gluing it back together.
The drives can also read CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray disks, giving it some promise for the consumer market. The technology could also give the nascent holographic storage market a run for its money.
Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Heidi Biggar called the technology "promising," but added: "The challenges will be commercializing the technology, executing, and getting users to think optical in the enterprise."
Biggar said ESG expects unstructured data to approach 20 petabytes by 2010, "and a lot of this data is being kept on primary disk even though it is infrequently accessed. Users need to get this data off costly primary disk and onto more appropriate tiers of storage. For years, tape has been the primary archival targets for cost and capacity reasons, but today SATA disk offers users new and more efficient options.
"Optical storage technologies have been used in niche markets over the years for archival purposes, but cost and capacity issues have limited its market penetration. But advances in optical technologies, which include significantly higher capacities, in some cases into the terabyte range and beyond, hold new promise for both backup and archive."
Biggar said she expects Call/Recall's disk capacity to reach 15TB eventually.
Call/Recall says its optical systems technology is based on "affordable, commercially available, off-the-shelf components," helping manufacturers extend their product roadmaps while maintaining backward compatibility and lowering production costs.
The company's optical storage technology uses a two-photon recording process to record bits in a three-dimensional volume on a disk. Multiple layers of information can be stored within the 3D volume with less than a 10-micron layer of separation.