Microsoft knows a thing or two about data storage and, as well as having thought of cloud storage for videos, images and documents that are placed in storage units on servers located in different data centers, the company has now come up with a new solution.
Microsoft is currently working on Project Silica, a new storage technology that uses glass plates to store tons of data inside.
The Silica project has a page explaining exactly how this technology works, which they believe is more sustainable than current methods and more respectful of the environment.
Storing data for thousands of years | Microsoft Project Silica
These glass plates would be managed by small robots and stored in a series of data centers.
“Data is stored in the glass in a four-step process: written using an ultrafast femtosecond laser, read using a computer-controlled microscope, decoded and finally stored in a library. The library is passive, with no storage units powered by electricity. The complexity lies in the robots, which charge themselves while idle inside the laboratory and wake up when data is required. They go to the shelves, pick up the glass and then return to the reader.
This data is stored on small glass plates that could last up to 10,000 years, glass plates stored on huge data servers and managed solely by small robots that would pick up these plates for later reading by specialized machines.
For the moment, this technology is being tested for storing music on glass plates, which are environmentally friendly and resistant to electromagnetic impulses.
It’s a storage technology we won’t be seeing in the short term, as it’s not commercially viable. Researchers say it will take another three or four stages of development before it reaches the commercial level.
If they continue to improve this technology, we could see the Silica project in Azure centers storing our photos, videos, audios and all sorts of documents.