Archival Disc Format – Finally!

Archival Disc Format

Read a great piece today on the newly announced Archival Disc Format.

Move over, Blu-ray: Sony and Panasonic have just announced a new optical disc specification with even higher storage capacities. The new “Archival Disc” format promises to store between six and 20 times the data of a standard 50GB dual-layer Blu-ray disc. Unlike Blu-ray, this new format is intended primarily for professional, archival use. The companies first announced that they would be working on this then-nameless standard together in July of 2013.

“Optical discs have excellent properties to protect themselves against the environment, such as dust-resistance and water-resistance, and can also withstand changes in temperature and humidity when stored,” reads the release. “They also allow inter-generational compatibility between different formats, ensuring that data can continue to be read even as formats evolve. This makes them robust media for long-term storage of content.”

First-wave Archival Discs are slated to launch in summer of 2015 and will be able to hold up to 300GB of data. By comparison, the largest commonly available Blu-Ray discs use the 100GB and 128GB BDXL format. Archival Discs will apparently be double-sided, so this works out to 150GB of data per side. Future versions of the technology will improve storage density, increasing to 500GB (or 250GB per side) and 1TB (500GB per side) as the standard matures.

As a professional photographer,  this seems like nothing short of a godsend.   So far there has been no truly good way of archiving old work besides maintaining ever growing stacks of hard drives which need to be cloned and replaced as they age, burning multiple DVDs or BluRays per job which can be extremely time consuming,  as well as utilizing expensive cloud storage options to store multiple terabytes of raw photos.  This disc format could allow for a nice and simple way of archiving a lot of data in a short amount of time in a very small space.   Instead of going back and digging through a card catalog of DVDs, looking for DVD 3 of 8 of a certain job,  it could be much easier to simply find the 1TB archive disc that holds all of the work for a month,  or a quarter.  I’m looking forward to keeping a close eye on the development of this.

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