Microsoft Teams Up with Warner Bros. for Glass Data Storage

Microsoft recently partnered with Warner Bros. to unveil the small glass data storage facility which housed the 1978 film, Superman. The tech giant officially launched its product during the Ignite 2019 conference held in Orlando, Florida.

A report released by the tech firm in its Innovation Stories blog detailed its approach to the new creation. It made use of a “laser [which] encodes data in glass by creating layers of three-dimensional nanoscale gratings and deformations.” The new technology also uses laser optics and gratings by approaching the subject through different depths and angles.

Project Silica Glass Data Storage

Data Storage Specs

The glass storage unveiled by Microsoft is roughly the size of a coaster, measuring 75 x 75 x 2 millimeters. With room for data for error redundancy codes, the glass reportedly contained a whopping 75.6 gigabyte of data, says Variety.


Microsoft opted to use regular quartz glass to store the Warner Bros. Superman film. To test its durability, the tech company reportedly boiled, baked, and scratched the surface, notes The Verge.

Along with the University of Southampton Optoelectronics Research Centre, Microsoft spearheaded the initiative named Project Silica. Under this venture, the team aimed to find a new type of storage facility that is geared towards cold data. This means data stored on this type of system can be preserved and kept safe after years of no use.

Project Silica’s reach for a new medium is one that seeks to provide accessible storage solutions. In particular, it was geared towards creating a medium that would be readily used and stored without being corrupted.

To use, the medium is passed under a special polarized light. This type of light passes through the glass, which decodes and reads information embedded within the system, notes Tech Radar.

In total, Tech Radar reports the system has the capacity to store 100 layers of gratings, also known as voxels.


Why Glass

Principal researcher for the project Ant Rowston said “glass has a very, very long lifetime. Thousands of years.” Because of its lifespan and resilience, this particular material was chosen to carry out Microsoft’s new storage technology.

Warner Bros. Involvement

The support given by Warner Bros. to the technology corporation provides numerous opportunities in the industry. In the event Microsoft gains success in the venture, it can provide services to other industry members as well.

Chief technology officer for Warner Bros. Vicky Colf said this is helpful for other similar sectors of the film industry. “If it works… we firmly believe that this will …benefit …anyone who wants to preserve and archive content,” says Colf.