Microsoft’s Project Silica to develop storage for cloud computing

glass might be the future of data storage

Over the past decade, cloud technology has become a part of daily life. Services such as Dropbox, iCloud, and Google photos have become the talk of the town. Yet maintaining the data centers to store information is far from effortless. Now Microsoft is building vast facilities to store the required data with glass.

Microsoft is now declaring a breakthrough in an entirely new storage format through Project Silica. Unlike tape or a hard drive, glass storage could last for hundreds or thousands of years. It also doesn’t degrade and is resistant to data corruption which is known as the “bit rot” from heat, floods, or even solar flares which at times affect the magnetic storage.

Project Silica is developed by Microsoft Research in Cambridge in partnership with the University of Southampton which is a three-year-old attempt to develop storage for the requirements of cloud computing services than the personal devices.“If we start from scratch and find something suitable for the cloud you can think about everything on a completely different scale,” said Ant Rowstron, principal researcher and deputy lab director at Microsoft Research Cambridge.

This technology is only starting to become possible today thanks to improvements in infrared lasers. So-called “femtosecond” lasers, similar to those used in laser eye surgery, are much faster and more precise. The entire team is confident that in the coming years, Silica will eventually turn into a durable new form of storage.