Despite the rumors, it looks like optical media isn’t dead — at least not yet.
Broadcasting may have pushed physical media (DVD and Blu-ray) out of the limelight, into dollar stores and bargain buckets, but Folio Photonics, a startup. Covered Widely In 2022, to reverse the trend and open up a new optical media market: the enterprise.
Folio Photonics CEO Steve Santamaria revealed in an email with Folio Photonics TechRadar Pro stated that the company’s first disk initial capacity would be “above 1TB per disk capacity” with a target of 10TB+ by the end of the decade.
Which means you’ll only need a handful of them to back up to external hard drives or SSDs, which makes it a great complement to cloud storage.
The startup has already revealed for its part that the media will cost around $3 (around £2.40 / AU$4.30) per terabyte, which puts the price of a single disc at $3. Travis Johnston, Director of Market Strategy at Folio Photonics added, “While actual specifications have not yet been published, we believe this capacity and proposed price point is highly achievable due to our materials/manufacturing innovations.”
By comparison, a single blank 25GB recordable BD-R blu-ray media costs less than $0.40 when bought in a 50-baking box. That’s $16 per terabyte (about £13 / AU$23), or more than 5 times what Folio Photonics expects for its first generation of products.
Unfortunately, the Folio Photonics Optical Drive (ODD) will command a hefty premium in the $3,000 to $5,000 range at least initially. Like CD authors, then DVD and Blu-ray authors, cost efficiencies through economies of scale – with the adoption of Folio technology – and the reuse of existing supply chains will likely cut that by at least one order of magnitude if all goes. as planned.
The long road to success
30 years ago Philips introduced its desktop CD recorder system, the CDD521GN, which was $8,495 Four years later HP introduced its Surestore CD writer at a tenth of the price By the dawn of this century you can get a CD writer for less than $100 dollar.
Folio Photonics wants 10TB of media for less than $1 per terabyte by 2030, a token floor that neither LTO nor HDD can achieve in the same time frame. We’re still not quite there yet although commercial disk and drive availability is only expected by 2026 with the data center and hyperband market being potential customers for what Folio Photonics calls, “the first-ever enterprise-class optical data storage solution,” which Unlike the consumer market, much more profitable.
Cartridges, turntable tray and disc trays would allow for a low cost, low footprint, and high capacity footprint. Sony, one of the market leaders, launched a 5.5TB cartridge – the ODC5500R – of eleven 500GB disks (write once, read a lot) in 2019 and is the standard in the long-term cold storage/archiving market.
These sell for $275 or about $50 per terabyte with CD recorders priced much higher than what Folio Photonics suggests. In our interview, Mr. Santamaría confirmed that he was comfortable referring to comparable SONY ODA (Optical Disk Archive) benchmarks that – for the ODC5500R – reach 375MB/s and write speeds of 187.5MB/s.