Humanity has a data storage problem. Now, researchers report that they’ve come up with a new way to encode digital data in DNA to create the highest-density large-scale data storage scheme ever invented and microsoft is implementing this.
Microsoft is now developing an apparatus that uses biology to replace tape drives, researchers at the company say. Internally, Microsoft harbors the even more ambitious goal of replacing tape drives, a common format used for archiving information.
The tech giant believes that its data center will contain a fully functional DNA storage system by the end of the decade, representing a potentially massive breakthrough in the tech industry battle to meet surging global demand for space-effective information storage solutions.
Employees of the Washington-based company confirmed these plans, which involve using the same molecules our genes are made of to store data, to the MIT Technology Review, adding that the device will be about the same size as a large, 1970s-era Xeros copier.
According to Doug Carmean, a partner architect at Microsoft Research — the aim is to build a “proto-commercial system in three years storing some amount of data on DNA in one of [Redmond’s] data centers, for at least a boutique application.” He describes the device as ‘the size of a large, 1970s-era Xerox copier’. They’re planning to brand it as ‘Your Storage with DNA’, and intend to eventually replace tape drives with it.
Microsoft will continue to work with San Francisco-based DNA manufacturing firm Twist Bioscience, which recently announced an additional sale of 10 million synthetic DNA strands to Microsoft, following the first ten million it sold last year (as part of the 200MB DNA storage breakthrough in July).