New Millenniata Optical Disc Promises Permanent Data Storage

Monday Aug 8th 2011 by Thor Olavsrud
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The new optical disc company says its new M-DISC storage technology will last a thousand years.

Millenniata, a newcomer on the optical disc scene, wants to revolutionize the way small businesses and government institutions approach archival media and data storage. The company, based in American Fork, Utah, today unveiled its new storage technology, which allows users to etch data upon an optical disc made from a stone-like substance that never degrades.

"The fact is that digital information was born 40 or 50 years ago, and there has never been a way for us to save it permanently," said Scott Shumway, chief executive officer of Millenniata. "It's still a fact that in our world, the most permanent way to record something is paper and pencil. We're the digital equivalent of paper. Once it's put on the disc, it will last forever because it's actually etched into stone."

Millenniata has dubbed its new small business storage technology M-DISC. M-DISCs are translucent and weigh about the same as other types of DVDs. But whereas other DVDs use organic dyes -- that are known to fade and degrade over time -- to hold data, M-DISC technology uses a laser to etch data onto the rock-like material of the disc.

Shumway said M-DISCs are the perfect medium for storing business records, data protection, permanent data backup, data security, medical imaging, and government files and archives, because the data will not degrade over time and is usable on a daily basis.

He explained that M-DISCs are covalently bonded using heat and light rather than the glue used to bond most DVDs. The end result is that M-DISCs are extremely durable. While they can be broken by hand or melted if a fire gets hot enough, they are extremely forgiving of light, heat and humidity.

"[Millenniata's scientists] designed out all the things that degrade," Shumway said. What degrades in an optical disc, for example, is the dye in the write layer of the disc. What accelerates that degradation is heat or light or humidity."

Military Testing

Shumway noted that the U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at China Lake, Calif., recently tested five brands of archival-quality DVD discs -- including the Millenniata M-DISC -- for data longevity and reliability. The test found that the M-DISC was the only disc that suffered no degradation or data loss. All the other discs failed the test.

Like traditional DVDs, M-DISCs each have 4.7 GB of capacity, allowing each one to hold more than 100,000 documents. The discs must be written by an M-compatible DVD drive, but can be read by any existing DVD drive.

"It has to be able to be read on the existing technology, so we're not trying to plow that ground too," Shumway explained.

He noted that in order to make M-DISCs accessible to individuals and small business owners, Millenniata will sell them in one-packs, five-packs and 10-packs in addition to larger quantities. Millenniata also plans to sell M-DISCs at a price point slightly below the price of other archival discs.

A single M-DISC has an MSRP of $2.99. Millenniata has given five-packs an MSRP of $13.89 and 10-packs an MSRP of $26.59.

Together with the M-DISC announcement, Millenniata also announced a manufacturing and marketing partnership with Hitachi-LG Data Storage to manufacture M-DISC compatible DVD drives and market them through its sales channels. Under the partnership, Hitachi-LG will manufacture M-READY DVD drives and market and sell them to its U.S. and international retail channels under its DVD brands.

Shumway explained that within several months, all models manufactured by Hitachi-LG will be M-DISC compatible.

"There will be no price increase for this upgrade," he said. "They see this as a market differentiator. They've been looking at our technology for about a year and a half."

"Millenniata's technology has been tested and proven to provide long-lasting data storage," said Sang Hun Kim, deputy CMO of the sales and marketing division at Hitachi-LG Data Storage. "We are pleased to partner with Millenniata to provide true permanent storage DVD technology that can stand the test of time."

Shumway noted that Millenniata is currently working on the creation of a Blu-RAY version of its M-DISC technology, but is not yet ready to announce when that version of the technology will be available.

M-DISC will be available on Millenniata's Web site beginning Sept. 1 and will become available through retail in October.

Thor Olavsrud is a contributor to SmallBusinessComputing.com and a former senior editor at InternetNews.com. He covers operating systems, standards and security, among other technologies.

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