Another holographic storage wannabee has popped up. Akonia Holographics has bought some of the assets of doomed holographic storage firm InPhase and moved into its old offices. Is this for real or just another 3D holo fantasy in waiting?
Holographic storage is a minefield where technology companies invent ways of storing data as holograms on Blu-Ray disks holding tens of terabytes of data for 50-plus years - but with random access instead of sequential access as with a tape drive. They all look for partnerships with media companies and they all fail because the market for deep archives with better-than-tape media storage reliability is quite niche, because access speeds are slow and, let's face it, because the darn technology involved in creating a read/write drive is just so hard to do.
Read the history of InPhase here to understand more of this.
It was founded by three PhDs: CEO Ken Anderson, chief technology officer Mark Ayres, and Fred Askham, materials development VP. The firm claims to have $10m worth of media manufacturing capability, with the website stating:
Akonia Holographics has developed the most advanced holographic photopolymer media in the world. With over $10m in media manufacturing equipment, Akonia is well positioned as the world’s leading supplier of holographic media for data storage applications.
The report says it has an $11m investment from VC Acadia Woods Partners. This is ironic as Acadia is one of the two original funders of InPhase; the other was Signal Lake. There were severe disagreements between them as InPhase crashed and burned, with Signal Lake fending off Acadia for control of the assets. It looks as if Acadia Woods has struck back and Signal Lake is getting out of the scene.
Akonia is looking to partner with a Japanese optical storage media company. To us at the El REg storage desk, it looks like they have to demonstrate they have a working, manufacturable product technology; the issue that sank InPhase.
Come on Akonia, show us your holo storage product manufacturing creds. Do that and partners may step forward and spend co-development money. If you fail at it then prepare to become toast. ®
* Please peruse our story links below for a broad outline of the companies that had big plans for holographic storage from 2001 onwards.