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Compliance Hoists Holograph Hopes

Holographic data storage, which uses beams of light to copy and store data on optical disks, may be the future of data archiving, according to a handful of startups claiming support from the U.S. government and a range of top storage suppliers.

One company, InPhase Technologies Inc., for example, says the need to comply with new government regulations is driving SAN and NAS vendors to seek new methods of storing data that are even faster than disk. "It's been our biggest area of focus over the last nine months," says InPhase spokesman Chris Pfaff.

The company's Website says regulatory compliance represents a $12 billion potential annual market (presumably worldwide). OEMs interested in using InPhase's holographic products for compliance offerings include server vendors as well as SAN suppliers. Holographic storage "is the next-generation, high-capacity, secure, removeable media," Pfaff says.

While not naming the SAN OEMs, the startup, whose board includes Mike Gustafson, the former exec from McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA) who now heads up BlueArc Corp. (see Gustafson Leads Exec Carousel), claims the first data storage library system based on its holographic drives and media will be available through partner Asaca/Shibasoku Corp. of America (ASA) within the next year.

InPhase, which spun out of Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) in 2000, says its holographic disks hold 200 Gbytes of data and support throughput rates of 20 Mbytes/second. The media will sell for about $40 (less than $0.25 per Gbyte), acoording to Pfaff.

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