Microsoft Unveils Holographic Storage Devices for Azure

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Microsoft Corp. is rethinking its cloud storage services and adding a new type of storage to hold millions of data in the Azure platform.

The company introduced holographic storage devices in an effort to boost and scale-up data storage in mobile phones and computers. What the tech giant calls the Project Holographic Storage Device (HSD), uses holographic storage to hold hundreds of kilobytes of data per crystal.

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This new technology difract a pulse of light and capture the result on camera, to be read what’s inside the hologram. According to Microsoft, this new technology can rack-up the scale of data centers, not only beneficial for consumer-friendly storage.

Holographic Storage Devices for Azure

Although the use of holograms is new in the tech world, it was a technology invented way back in the 1940s by physicist Dennis Gabor. What the tech company is doing is simply utilizing the material for a new storage mode in the 21st-century.

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As the digital content swells over the years, companies require massive storage. In Microsoft’s case, the Azure cloud storage platform needs to evolve to enhance customers’ experience. Using a holographic storage device, the skyrocketing needs for storage can be solved.

The Project HSD was introduced in Microsoft’s Ignite Conference last Sept. 22, 2020, and claims it’s 1.8x faster than other storage systems.

“Existing storage technologies do not provide a cost-effective solution for storing long-lived data. Operating at such scales in the cloud requires a fundamental re-thinking of how we build large-scale storage systems,” said CTO Mark Russinovich.

Russinovich added that the company is looking at the data stored in the holographic storage to see software computation advances. In addition to storage capabilities, Project HSD can also help the company in improving the optical technology in smartphone cameras.

HSD’s use of optical crystals allows reading and writing data, as well as storing an entire set of information in movable parts. It’s more superior to the existing hard drives that depend only on the movable parts.

“The hologram occupies a small volume inside the crystal, which we think of as a zone, and multiple pages can be recorded in the same physical volume or zone,” state the tech giant.

Microsoft hired multiple experts to look into the possibility of holographic storage devices to improve storage solutions in the Azure platform. Aside from engineers, the Project HSD comprises of experts in physics, optics, storage systems, and machine learning.

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