Sony and Panasonic have announced that they have signed a basic agreement with the objective of jointly developing a next-generation standard for professional-use optical discs, with the objective of expanding their archive business for long-term digital data storage. Both companies aim to improve their development efficiency based on the technologies held by each respective company, and will target the development of an optical disc with recording capacity of at least 300GB by the end of 2015. Going forward, Sony and Panasonic will continue to hold discussions regarding the specifications and other items relating to the development of this new standard.
Optical discs have excellent properties to protect them against the environment, such as dust-resistance and water-resistance, and can also withstand changes in temperature and humidity when stored. They also allow inter-generational compatibility between different formats, ensuring that data can continue to be read even as formats evolve. This makes them a robust medium for long-term storage of content. Both companies have previously developed products based on the Blu-ray Disk format, leveraging the strengths of optical discs. However, both Sony and Panasonic recognized that optical discs will need to accommodate much larger volumes of storage in years to come given the expected future growth in the archive market, and responded by formulating this agreement.
Sony previously commercialized a file-based optical disc archive system in September, 2012. Based on optical disc technology that Sony cultivated for its XDCAM series of professional broadcasting products, this system houses twelve optical discs within a compact cartridge as a single, high-capacity storage solution. Each disc within the cartridge holds 25GB capacity, offering a total range of storage capacities from 300GB to 1.5TB.
In July this year, Panasonic launched its ‘LB-DM9 series’ of optical disc storage devices. This series uses a dedicated magazine of just 20.8mm thickness to house twelve 100GB optical discs. A maximum of 90 magazines can be stored, providing a total storage capacity of 180TB. In addition, Panasonic adopted a newly-developed changer system together with RAID technology to offer rapid data transfer performance of up to 216MB/s, while also ensuring high reliability by protecting data from unforeseen faults.
In recent years, there has been an increasing need for archive capabilities, not only from video production industries, such as motion pictures and broadcasting, but also from cloud data centers that handle increasingly large volumes of data following the evolution in network services. Both Sony and Panasonic have a proven track record in developing Blu-ray Disc format technologies, and by actively promoting the adoption of a new standard for next-generation high-capacity optical discs, they intend to offer solutions that preserve valuable data for future generations.