Folio Photonics Announces Multilayer Optical Disc Storage Technology

SOLON, Ohio, August 30, 2022 — Folio Photonics, a leading pioneer in nonvolatile active storage, today announced that it has achieved a significant breakthrough in multilayer optical disk storage technology that will enable an unprecedented level of cost, security and sustainability advantage. Leveraging proprietary advances in materials science, Folio Photonics has developed the first economically viable enterprise-scale optical storage drives with dynamic multi-layer write/read capabilities that will enable the development of radically low-cost/high-capacity disk storage.

“Folio Photonics is on the way to creating much greater data density than was thought possible a few years ago,” said John Monroe, principal analyst at Furthur Market Research and former vice president analyst in the data center infrastructure group at Gartner . “Using next-generation materials, proprietary polymer extrusion and film-based disc construction processes (other than conventional optical lamination), combined with custom optical pickup units (OPUs), Folio Photonics looks poised to deliver a new optical technology that enables eight or 16 film layers per disc side, as opposed to just three optical layers per disc side for today’s archival discs, with a roadmap for adding additional layers over time.”

Data growth is overwhelming existing storage technologies, and today’s legacy enterprise storage technologies fail to address three key pain points of cost, cybersecurity, and resiliency. The high cost of storage is unsustainable with explosive data growth, cyber threats continue to escalate, and data centers are a major contributor to energy/water and CO consumption2 emissions. The current roadmaps for hard disk drives (HDDs) and LTO tapes reflect insufficient technological advances to meet consumer needs and desired price points in the future.

Folio’s technology milestone proves the feasibility of its materials, manufacturing and optics and moves the company from the research phase to product development. With drive availability targeted for 2024, Folio’s multilayer drive capacities are expected to start at 10TB per cartridge (1TB per drive) with an aggressive roadmap to multi-TB capacities. The roadmap is enabled by the additional layers due to the easily scalable polymer coextrusion process, as well as a significant increase in capacity per layer.

“Our talented engineering team—led by founder and CIO Dr. Kenneth Singer—is pioneering a new approach to optical storage that overcomes historical limitations and delivers unheard-of benefits for cost, cybersecurity and sustainability,” said Stephen Santamaria, Folio Photonics CEO. “With these advantages, Folio Photonics is poised to change the trajectory of archival storage.”

Folio Photonics optical drives will provide a powerful combination of game-changing features that make data backups ACTIVE:

Folio Photonics is well positioned to be a leader in the projected $10 billion + archive storage market12.68+2 Zettabytes in 2025 Plans to start with adoption in the use case of immutable active archive and expand to become the standard for all archived data. Folio’s manufacturing advantages enable significant channel/partner margin and profitability and position the company for sustainable growth and continued investment in the business.

“Data in archival storage accounts for up to 80 percent of all data according to industry estimates, and Folio Photonics is strongly positioned to be a leading player in this large, fast-growing market,” said Fred Moore, president of Horison Information Strategies. “Archived data is typically immutable, represents ‘write once’ and requires immutability. At the same time, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and big data analytics are increasing activity and availability requirements for archive storage systems. As a result, demand for immutable active backups will only increase as immutability and higher performance demands change the exploding secondary storage paradigm.”

Unlike tape, Folio Photonics ACTIVE archive storage will provide random access to archives to ensure efficient data retrieval. Unlike HDD, its ACTIVE backup storage is immutable by design and offers 5x lower cost of acquisition – approximately $25/TB for hard drives and less than $5/TB for Folio. Folio Photonics drives are very durable and will provide 80 percent energy savings compared to HDDs. In addition, its ACTIVE archive storage is not vulnerable to electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks, offers an air gap to ensure cyber security and provides a media life of 100 years.

“Folio’s next-generation storage media will radically reduce up-front costs and TCO while making data archives active, cyber-secure and resilient – ​​an ideal combination for data center and hyperscale customers.” We believe it will disrupt and re-energize the multi-billion dollar data storage industry with its breakthrough in financial aspects and sustainability,” added Santamaria.


1 Folio Photonics projection based on Fred Moore’s report, Horizon Information Strategies, Reinventing Archival Storage2021
2 Folio Photonics projection based on John Monroe report Additional market research, The escalating challenge of preserving enterprise data2022

About Folio Photonics

Folio Photonics is re-energizing storage media innovation with a first-of-its-kind enterprise-scale permanent active backup solution that delivers breakthrough cost, margin and sustainability benefits. Leveraging game-changing advances in materials science to create dynamic multilayer read/write capabilities, Folio’s technology overcomes historical optical limitations to change the trajectory of archival storage. Ideal for data center and hyperscale customers, Folio’s next-generation storage media radically reduces upfront costs and TCO while making data archives active, cyber-secure and resilient.

Folio Photonics and its licensed technology were spun off from Case Western Reserve University and its National Science Center for Layered Polymer Systems by Dr. Singer. Current investors include Material Impact, Refinery Ventures, Early Stage Partners, Pavey Investments and JobsOhio Growth Capital Fund.

To learn more, visit the Folio Photonics website.

Source: Folio Photonics

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