Thursday, April 1, 2010

New Trends In Storage Technology: AFD

I have a passing interest in storage technology and trends so you can probably guess I got really excited after I read about a new kind of drive currently in development: Atomic Field Drives. These drives do away with traditional transistors in favor of using molecules which are capable of holding a charge. The presence (or absence) of a charge is used to indicate a binary 0 or 1 value; String a series of molecules together with a way to read and write the charge stored in each molecule and you've got a means of storing data - lots and lots of data. The idea behind this way of storing data is covered in United States Patent #6,674,121 B2 if you're interested in reading more.

Being based on electricity means no moving parts which makes AFDs as fast as Solid State Drives. However, because the storage mechanism for the drives is at the molecular level they are able to overcome the physical storage limitations that hamper SSDs today - we're talking about petabytes of storage on a single drive. Finally, because they utilize stable molecules which hold a charge indefinitely and do not degrade over time there is no write cycle lifetime, meaning these drives will last until the non-molecular components give out.

I'm really excited at the speed, lifetime, and savings in electricity costs that AFDs offer. So when will they be available? Unofficially I've heard that the military already has AFDs in their hands. At this point it's simply a matter of manufacturers figuring out how to reduce production costs and mass produce AFDs. I'm guessing within 5 years, but I'm hoping they arrive sooner than that.

By the way, Happy AFD … as in April Fool's Day! :-)