Sony keeps optical discs alive with storage startup acquisition

Sony has acquired Optical Archive in a bid to get businesses to put 'cold storage' data on optical discs

Sony's push to get enterprise users to store data on optical discs has received added momentum with its acquisition of a Facebook-linked startup focused on optical storage.

Led by former Facebook executive Frank Frankovsky, Optical Archive in California will develop new optical disc library systems for corporate clients' "cold storage," which hold data that aren't accessed often but are preserved for a long time. Examples of such data are photos on social media sites and regulatory or legal documents.

The move marks the entry of Sony, which developed the Blu-ray disc over a decade ago, into data center storage, a market it has shied away from partly due to the limited capacity of its optical discs amid the explosion of cloud-based storage.

The struggling electronics maker wants to convince enterprise users to move from tape storage and hard drives to optical disc libraries by emphasizing that discs feature longer lifetimes, higher data throughput rates and lower cost.

The move reflects the view of companies like Sony, Facebook and Panasonic that optical media like Blu-ray discs have a future in business applications even as consumers turn away from them in favor of content streamed over the Internet. A 2014 report from Generator Research, however, predicted that revenue from DVD and Blu-ray sales will likely drop by 38 percent over the next four years.

Frankovsky is known for heading Facebook's Open Compute Project Foundation, a group focused on sharing designs for data center hardware. He left his job as vice president of hardware design and supply chain operations at the social network last year to set up Optical Archive. He will remain CEO, a Sony spokeswoman said.

Last year, Facebook said it had built a cold storage system from 10,000 Blu-ray discs. The system holds a petabyte of data and cuts costs by 50 percent and energy use by 80 percent compared to a Facebook cold storage system that uses hard disk drives.

The movement toward optical storage comes as Sony and Panasonic announced a new optical disc called the Archival Disc. With the same dimensions as Blu-ray discs and geared to enterprise storage, it's designed to have a lifetime of 50 years, with initial capacity of 300GB, and later 500GB and 1TB.

The new discs, scheduled to be launched this summer, do not need a special storage environment with constant temperature or humidity and do not require air conditioning, offering lower power consumption over linear tape-open technology (LTO), a magnetic tape storage format.

Tim Hornyak covers Japan and emerging technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Tim on Twitter at @robotopia.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags internetFacebooksonystoragePanasonicInternet-based applications and services

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Hornyak

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?