Storage Turns a Corner

More than one terabyte on a single cartridge? It may be on its way.

An InPhase representative explained that initially the technology will be based on a write once, read many methodology—similar to a DVD-R or a CD-R. Its initial transfer rate will be 20MBps, comparable to a DVR copying at 16x speed. However, InPhase's H-ROM medium has a capacity of 300GB, compared to the DVD's approximately 4.5GB. The second generation of this HDS technology is expected to store 800GB at an 80MBps transfer rate, and the third generation is expected to store 1.6TB—equivalent to 340 DVDs—with a transfer rate of 120MBps.

The time it takes to access, read and write information with this technology will be far superior to current optical writing technology. Unfortunately, initially it will only be able to be written once and cannot be reused. This is not ideal for the CCTV industry, but a re-writeable drive is planned for 2007. Also, just like any technology, when it first comes out it will be expensive—$15,000—but the media cost is anticipated to be $.0004 per MB, and as time goes by the cost should drop.


A Work in Progress

In my opinion, the positives outweigh the negatives. The system will require no special conditioning to maintain the media or operate the optical drive. And with storage issues being less of a concern, manufacturers can work on technologies that will benefit the industry.

“Putting on my Carnac hat,” as Johnny Carson used to say, I see a lot of opportunities as HDS continues to be developed. If a terabyte of information can be placed on something as small as a postage stamp, we could distribute camera recordings at the camera. A terabyte of information will allow the mechanical and optical zoom mechanism to be replaced with a high-resolution picture that can be blown up.

Endless storage? We're getting there, but petabytes and exabytes will likely be the next step in our continuing saga.


Sean A. Ahrens, CPP is a senior security consultant with Schirmer Engineering and is a member of ASIS International. Mr. Ahrens can be reached at 847-272-8340 or