The world is full of data and that volume just keeps on growing. As more devices are needing to store data and files are growing larger, scientists are working hard to find better ways of storing our data. This doesn’t just mean the capacity of the storage, but also for how long and how reliably it can be held.
We all know about things like hard drives, memory sticks and SD cards. These are storage technologies that have been around for a long time. But what are some technologies being researched right now that could be the future solution? Let’s have a look at ways we could be storing our data in the future, both in the physical device and the location.
Underwater data centres
As an experiment, Microsoft enclosed data servers in a massive, 38000-pound steel container and then sunk it beneath the water in the Pacific Ocean. Of course, said capsule was entirely waterproof – and considering it contained the computing power of 300 desktops, you’d want it to be! After two months they then brought the container back to the surface, happy to discover that everything inside was completely dry and functional. Microsoft said they don’t currently have any plans to install underwater data centres, but now have the knowledge that it could be explored as a serious possibility in the future.
Quartz glass disc
This one might sound like it comes from the future, but Hitachi actually produced a quartz glass disc capable of storage back in 2012. They managed to get 40 megabytes of data into a square inch piece of quartz glass. They achieved this using binary code and each square, about two millimetres thick each, is capable of storing the same amount of data as a CD. It can also withstand temperatures up to 1832°F and contact with water and chemicals. Retrieval of the data is managed through an optical microscope. And a cool touch? No matter how much data is on the glass, it remains completely transparent.
This is a design concept that won third place in the 2016 eVolo Skyscraper competition, but whether it ever comes to fruition remains to be seen. Nevertheless, it’s a neat idea. The skyscraper was imagined to be located in Iceland, with the building essentially being a giant motherboard with a hollow centre, thus allowing for the natural air to keep the data servers cool. The renewable energy infrastructure of Iceland would also mean that the tower would be completely energy clean.
Abandoned limestone mines
While these are all new methods to storing data, some researchers are looking at existing locations that can be best used as data servers. One suggestion is that abandoned limestone mines could be turned into underground data centres. Cool temperatures and a good humidity levels are the two great benefits that being underground bring. Callsion, an architectural firm, have converted a former mine in the Northeast United States into a data centre already, though the exact location is being kept a secret.
Futuristic Storage Technologies That Could Become Reality
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