Let's take it from the top. Optical storage, which uses light to record and read data, has historically been used by organizations that need a method of preserving information for long periods of time. The chief advantage of optical storage over other techniques has been its WORM (write once / read many) capabilities. As an archive technology, optical storage has faster access times than tape and is cheaper than magnetic disk.
Now that there's simply more data to store, optical storage is enjoying an uptick. IDC forecasts that approximately 30,000 UDO and PDD drives will ship this year, rising to just over 40,000 by 2007.
Within the last few weeks, several vendors have rolled out optical storage products based on the emerging Ultra Density Optical (UDO) format. Plasmon plcs UDO and Sony Corp.s (NYSE: SNE) Professional Disc for Data (PDD) formats give optical even more of a boost, by using blue laser technology to improve capacity and lower the cost of magneto optical (MO) drives.
Thanks to the sharper focus of the blue laser that reads and writes UDO and PDD drives, those drives store much more capacity than older optical technology. UDO disks hold 30 Gbytes, and PDD disks store 23.3 Gbytes. MO, which uses a red laser, maxes out at 9.1 Gbytes per disk.