I have to say that I am impressed by 3D Holographic storage. A few months ago, it was still labelled as vapourware, a term used to label technology long promised but never delivered. You can get a brief summary of the technology here.
Bell Labs spinoff, InPhase Technologies, has already started advertising its new Holographic drive AND media. The HDS 300A drive resembles a UPS and the media comes encased in a cartridge that reminds me of the DVD-RAM or Pinnacle Systems.
The specifications are truly impressive; the HDS-300A can record data at 20MBps, which is still not on par with the best hard disk drives, but is far better than competing tape technology like DLT or DAT, which barely achieve 10MB/s. The HDS-300A is also superior as far as capacity is concerned; current InPhase technology offers 300GB of uncompressed storage compared to 160GB for tape.
Roadmaps have shown that next year 800GB models will prevail with 1.6TB coming up in 2009. This rise in capacity will also witness significant improvements in transfer rates, quadrupling next year to reach 80MB per second and then moving to 120MB/sec in 2009 which is almost the speed of today's fastest hard disk drives.
InPhase is not the only actor in the Holographic Market - Optware, Fuji Photo, Maxwell and Aprilis are all pushing forward Holographic storage through the HVD (Holographic Versatile) Alliance. In the end, HD DVD and Blu Ray might be fighting a losing battle as HVD steams forward