Microsoft is looking beyond flash storage and hard drives to handle the seemingly unstoppable demand for cloud storage. Yesterday at its Ignite conference, the company announced Project HSD (via ZDNet), a new research initiative that’s exploring how holographic storage could eventually be used for the cloud. And while it may sound far-fetched, the notion of holographic storage has been around since the 1960’s. But now, Microsoft thinks it may be possible to use the medium effectively thanks to the rise of smartphone cameras.
As the video above explains, holographic storage works by writing and reading data from an optical crystal. Since it’s a three-dimensional storage medium, it allows you to store a large variety of data sets within one crystal. Afterwards, it can be wiped clean with UV light and reused. Technically, this is a better solution than flash storage, which has limited read and write capabilities, and hard drives which are prone to mechanical failure.