Microsoft and Warner Bros Team Up to Unveil Futuristic Glass Disc Storage

Microsoft and Warner Bros Team Up to Unveil Futuristic Glass Disc Storage


Microsoft has come up with a proof of concept for storing data on the glass. The software giant has collaborated with Warner Bros. and archived 1978 iconic ‘Superman’ movie on a coaster size piece of glass. The movie has been stored on a coaster size glass using Redmond Company’s project silica storage solution.  Microsoft has invested a lot to create a glass storage tech built for the future of its Azure platform. The entire system has been essentially developed as a new cold storage system, said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Regular quartz glass has been used to build the new storage system. It has been boiled, scratched and baked to test its resilience.

The research project called Project Silica aims to store and preserve data for the longest time. It uses ultrafast laser optics and artificial intelligence to archive data on a quartz glass disc. The ultrafast laser creates layers of three-dimensional nanoscale gratings and deformation at various depths and angles. A 2 mm thick glass disc can hold 100 layers of these gratings, which are called voxels. Microsoft has used 74 voxels to store classic ‘Superman’ movie on the glass. Once the data is archived in this way, it can be accessed by throwing light through the glass disc and capturing it with a microscope like readers. Storing old ‘Superman’ movie on a glass disc is the first test case of the new storage technology. It is supposed to safeguard several Hollywood movies, TV shows, and many other forms of data in the future. The new glass-based storage technology is still in the proof of concept phase.

Warner Bros has teamed up with Microsoft to devise a method to archive its digital assets permanently and provide highly durable backups. Warner Bros. converts its digital copies into analog film and splits it into three-color components to reassign each into black and white film negative. Black and white film negative has more durability than color film. However, it is a quite complex and expensive process. If Project Silica succeeds, it is said to be the most cost-effective process for archiving data. Preserving data for the longest time has been challenging for decades. Researchers have been trying to fix this problem for at least five years.

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