High-density optical discs may change data backup

The next generation of high-density optical media may store as much as 300 GB on a single disc, allowing it to accommodate 4K video and movies and complex video games. Additionally, this higher capacity, coupled with the relatively low price of individual discs, will make optical storage an increasingly feasible option for persons and companies who already use a Blu-ray burner or USB optical drive to create backups. For parties that opt for other backup and archiving solutions, the internal optical drives on their laptops can often easily be replaced with additional  SSD drives.

Right now, a standard single-layer Blu-ray disc can hold 25 GB of data, with multi-layered discs featuring greater capacities, and it is excellent for storing uncompressed and HD video, as well as simpler photos and files. By 2015, professionals may have additional storage options once Sony and Panasonic introduce a new higher density standard, according to a report from IDG Creative Lab's Carter McCoy.

These new discs may be useful for small businesses with surging data needs. Alongside cloud solutions, optical media can provide cost-effective storage whose contents can be easily distributed and shared.

"Optical discs are also a good medium for distributing applications or information to users, or sharing data with others," wrote McCoy. "They provide a disposable, one-time option for sharing data, making it so that you don't have to let go of your hard drive in the process."

However, he noted that the price for next-generation discs would be a key determinant of their success in business. Organizations may instead focus most of their energy on data archiving solutions that can handle large volumes of information and ensure operational continuity.

Installing an additional SSD
PCs that can read and write to 300 GB discs are still a ways off. On current hardware, users can diversify their storage options by swapping out the optical drive for an SSD and then attaching an external DVD drive in order to retain disc-reading functionality.

Typically, an optical drive connects to the computer via a SATA, meaning that its slot can be filled by an aftermarket SSD, according to Notebook​Review's Charles Jefferies. Adding the new drive may require the use of a supplemental conversion tool, as SSD and optical drive SATA connectors often differ in size and cannot be aligned as is. If users go this route, however, they will be able to bolster the performance of their workstations considerably.

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