I heard about this last week but saw another notice today. Millenniata has made what they believe to be a DVD which has a 1000 year archive life they call the M-Disc .
I have written before about the lack of long term archives for digital data mostly focused on disappearing formants but this device if it works, has the potential to solve the other problem (discussed here) mainly that no storage media around today can last that long.
The new single layer DVD (4.7GB max) has a chemically stable, inorganic recording layer which is a heat resistant matrix of materials which can retain data while surviving temperatures of up to 500°C (932°F).
Unlike normal DVDs which record data using organic dyes within a DVD, M-Disc data is recorded on this stone-like layer embedded inside the DVD. By doing so, M-Disc have created the modern day equivalent of etching information in stone.
According to the vendor, M-Disc archive-ability was independently validated by the US DOD at their Church Lake facilities. While the DOD didn’t say the M-Disc DVD has a 1000 year life they did say that under their testing the M-Disc was the only DVD device which did not lose data. The DOD tested DVDs from Mitsubishi, Verbatum, Delkin, MAM-A and Taiyo Yuden (JVC) in addition to the M-Disc.
The other problems with long term archives involve data formats and program availability that could read such formats from long ago. Although Millenniata have no solution for this, something like a format repository with XML descriptions might provide the way forward to a solution.
Given the nature of their DVD recording surface, special purpose DVD writers, with lasers that are 5X the intensity of normal DVDs, need to be used. But once recorded any DVD reader is able to read the data off the disk.
Pricing for the media was suggested to be about equivalent per disk for archive quality DVDs. Pricing for the special DVD writers was not disclosed.
They did indicate they were working on a similar product for BluRay disks which would take the single layer capacity up to 26GBs.