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3 Trends in Data Storage Technology You Should Be Watching

3 Trends in Data Storage Technology You Should Be Watching

Innovative data storage technologies are emerging at a record-setting rapid pace. We covered storage trends in February and another update is already needed. In just a few years, we’ve observed a massive shift from CDs to USB drives to massive external hard drives. Even our terminology around storage has grown. Zettabytes and even domegemegrottebytes (which equals 1,000 zettabytes) are no longer imaginary capacities of the future. As people create and store more data than ever before, the emergence of enormous capacity storage options couldn’t be better timed. Innovation breeds innovation and the by all accounts, the storage revolution has just begun. Here are 3 trends to watch:

1) DNA

In 2012, Harvard researchers encoded DNA with data. This feat in itself is remarkable. Even more impressive is the storage capacity and longevity of DNA. In just one gram of DNA, 2.2 petabytes of data can be stored. A DNA drive the size of a teaspoon could fit all of the world’s data. While many traditional hard drives don’t make it to the half-decade mark, DNA can outlast even harsh environments.

There are some downsides, of course, to DNA as a practical storage option. It’s a long, tedious, and scientific process to read and write data on DNA. Right now, the costs are astronomical. Researchers, however, are working to develop and encode artificial DNA, which holds the greatest immediate promise of offering yet another storage option for the future.

2) Crystals

Even closer to reality, crystal technology also promises mega-storage in small, long-lasting glass structures. These crystals don’t resemble sparkling geodes or anything else particularly magical. They are created with lasers, which encode data into microscopic nanostructures inside of quartz. An incredible amount of data can be encrypted into a small space because all five dimensions are utilized, height, length, width, position, and orientation. Scientists call this data storage breakthrough 5D because it leverages the capacity of each of these 5 dimensions. Crystal technology is also still in its beginning phases of development. Commercial partners aren’t yet known.

3) Blockchain

Decentralized blockchain storage may be the answer to cloud computing’s scalability concerns. Blockchain also offers cost-reducing benefits and they, too, are less subsceptible to damage caused by disaster. When networks are distributed, there are copies of data spread across several nodes. If one node is damaged or goes offline, a replica can be retrieved so the user can maintain access with no downtown. Blockchain technology is further along in its development than DNA or crystal storage technology, but it, too, is still considered in its infancy. Although blockchain offers a wide range of benefits, consumer adoption might be its largest barrier. Many consumers are just getting up to speed with cloud computer and more than a few will be reluctant to leave those investments on the table to pursue blockchain.

The SECUREDATA Inc. team remains committed to staying up-to-date on the latest storage technologies. If you have an emerging trend, you’d like us to follow, please leave a comment or tweet us @SecureData.

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