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posted by martyb on Saturday November 10 2018, @09:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the Better-than-NAND? dept.

Sony Releases Quad-Layer 128 GB BD-R XL Media

Sony is about to start selling the industry's first 128 GB write-once BD-R XL optical media. The discs will also be the first quad-layer BDXL media formally aimed at consumers, but bringing benefits to professionals that use BDXL today.

Although the general BDXL specifications were announced back in 2010 for multi-layered write-once discs with 25 GB and 33.4 GB layers, only triple-layer BDXL discs with a 100 GB capacity (generally aimed at broadcasting, medical, and document imaging industries) have been made available so far. By contrast, quad-layer 128 GB media has never seen the light of day until now.

As it turns out, increasing the per-layer capacity of Blu-ray discs (BDs) to 33.4 GB via a technology called MLSE (Maximum Likelihood Sequence Estimation) was not a big problem, and most of today's BD players and optical drives support the BDXL standard. However, increasing the layer count to four while ensuring a broad compatibility, signal quality across four layers, yields, and some other factors slow downed release of 128 GB BDXL essentially by eight years.

Related: Ultra HD Blu-Ray Specification Completed

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  • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Sunday November 11 2018, @01:40AM (1 child)

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <> on Sunday November 11 2018, @01:40AM (#760540) Homepage Journal

    Those people won't be buying just one disc.

    What's the price for a thousand terabytes of BD-ROM versus a thousand terabytes of flash?

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by TheRaven on Sunday November 11 2018, @10:49AM

    by TheRaven (270) on Sunday November 11 2018, @10:49AM (#760615) Journal

    Most people don't have a few thousand TBs of data to store. The economics of storage have also been changed a lot by cloud providers. I back up my laptops to a FreeBSD NAS and then use zfsbackup-go to store the data in Azure (encrypted using PGP). That costs $10/TB/month for cold storage, a bit under $2.5/TB/month for archive storage (archive storage may take a few hours for recovery). Azure can provide such cheap storage because they buy really, really cheap disk drives with high failure rates and put error correcting codes across devices []. You need a lot of independent drives to be able to do that kind of reliability above the device level and so that's hard for anyone to compete with locally. Companies like AWS and Backblaze are constantly trying to push their costs down to compete and that helps keep the cost low for the entire market.

    Optical disks have failed as backup media for the last few generations for a few reasons. The first is that the CD-R was the last optical disk that, at launch time, could back up an entire consumer hard disk. When DVD was announced, about 20GB was larger than most hard disks but by the time DVD-R (and the three competing kinds of rewriteable DVD) were released they were initially single-sided, single layer (4.7GB) and hard disks had grown to around 40GB. Blue Ray launched at 25GB/side when disks were hundreds of GBs upwards. I actually bought a BD-RE drive and a little stack of disks for it almost 10 years ago - I've never even got the disks out of the pack because nothing I want to back up fits on a single disk and the effort of doing something like par2 archives spanning multiple disks is too high.

    The second thing that hurts optical disks is the high cost of the drives. BD-RE is now pretty cheap, but at launch time the drives typically cost about the same amount as a decent-sized disk. This means that you need to be storing at least 2-3 disks worth of data for it to make sense to buy a writeable optical drive. CD and DVD readers helped get economies of scale up by having a useful second function: being able to play audio CDs and video DVDs on a computer. BD screwed this up by putting such insane licensing restrictions around their broken DRM scheme that hardly anyone ever bothered. If it had been easy to play and rip BD disks then this might have been different. This is exactly the same problem that tape has had: the drives are so expensive that they don't make economic sense for small users, which means that they never get the economies of scale, and that keeps the costs high for the entire lifetime of the device.

    These disks are costing a bit over $10 each. That gives me 128GB of backups, but with no redundancy. If you want off-site backups, you need to find somewhere else to store them and, realistically, if you care about your data then you're going to want to store either multiple copies or error correcting codes. If you're storing them off site, then the recovery time includes the time to get them back from wherever they're stored, so archive storage is a similar latency, so they're competing with $2/TB/month. That means that the cost of the disk (alone, not including the cost of the drive) would buy you about 3 years of cloud storage for the same data. You can write to the cloud storage from any number of devices independently, you don't have to change disks, the redundancy is handled for you (and you can pay for more if you're paranoid - I don't, because the probability of Azure losing data at the same time as the RAID-Z setup in my NAS dies seems vanishingly small - the main threat model that I care about is a thief breaking into my house and stealing everything that looks like a computer), and the physical storage is handled for you.

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