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The Future of Data Storage

Remember how cool it was when the floppy disk was invented? You could take your files anywhere you went. Back then, you probably weren’t thinking about what was next – it would have been hard to conceive the USB stick, much less the cloud. But today, we’ve got a much better idea of what’s to come.

Capacity, performance, and portability are the things we’re always trying to improve when it comes to our data storage. Considering the outright massive scale of the data we can store today, it’s difficult to comprehend what we’ll be able to do in ten years, but it’s really exciting to think about. Let’s look at some of the emerging trends.

The Helium Drive
Its name is quite literal – the helium drive is a hard drive full of helium, while a normal hard-drive is typically full of, well, air. Using helium allows the hard drive to spin its disks with less energy usage thanks to less resistance. This keeps them cooler and means that they can store more disks at a time without overheating. As of right now, they’re still quite expensive, but with technological advances they’ll likely get cheaper and you might be seeing more of them soon.

Shingled Magnetic Recording
This new recording technology, otherwise known as SMR, is another way of increasing capacity on hard drives. It layers tracks like shingles on a roof, rather than side-by-side, meaning more tracks and more data that can be written in the same space. The more data that is recorded, the more the tracks are trimmed (shingled), and with a smaller reader element, this data can still be easily read reliably. As of right now, SMR hard drives are able to improve hard drive density by 25%. They’re not prohibitively expensive, but they still need some power adjustments before they become regularly used.

DNA
This one might be the most difficult for you to believe, but believe it: DNA, the molecule that stores our genetic information, could also be used to store other kinds of data. In 2012, researchers at Harvard realized that they were able to encode DNA with digital information – words in HTML, JPEG images, and a JavaScript program, to be exact. DNA is able to store about 2.2 petabytes of information per gram, which is an astronomical amount – we’d be able to store all of the information in the world in a hard drive the size of a teaspoon if we can continue to capitalize on this advancement. It’s also incredibly resilient. As of right now, it takes a long time to read and write upon, so it’s still a bit too expensive to use, but in the future…who knows?

Nicole Yeager

About Nicole Yeager

Nicole is the Marketing Manager for Broadview Networks, now part of Windstream, where she enjoys marketing the latest technologies businesses can leverage to maximize productivity, improve security and reduce costs.

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