Archiving information presents a rather unique problem in the digital age. Sure, everyday consumers not have the capability to store terabytes of information, photos, home movies, and much more in the comfort of their homes—but how do you save that data for posterity? If you’re thinking “burn it to DVD,” you might be out of luck: the National Archives and the Library of Congress say folks should expect home-burned DVDs to remain viable for only two to five years.
Washington-based Cranberry thinks it might have a solution to that problem with the Cranberry DiamonDisc, a stone-based DVD technology the company is exclusively licensing from Millenniata. Developed by researchers at Brigham Young University, the DiamonDisc claims to be the first backward-compatible DVD storage solution that can preserve data for centuries—instead of recording information with subtle changes to a dye layer in a standard recordable DVD, the DiamonDiscs record physical charges to rock-hard materials that can stand extreme temperatures and UV exposure. And weirdly, the DiamonDisc is transparent.
DiamonDiscs aren’t cheap: Cranberry is selling individual discs for $34.95, or $29.95 to folks who buy two or more, and a five-pack goes for $149.75. The discs can handle 4.7 GB of data.
The DiamonDisc can be read by most standard DVD players; however, writing to a DiamonDisc requires a specialized burner. And that burner is expensive: Cranberry is offering one for $4,995, but that comes with 150 blank DiamonDiscs. So Cranberry is offering to burn discs for its customers: users purchase their Cranberry discs online, upload their data to a secure site or send the data via postal mail, and Cranberry burns the disc and sends it to the customer.
The DiamonDisc may not be a perfect solution for everyone—after all, in 1,000 years what are the odds that anyone will be able to read a DVD?—but for archivists and other folks seriously concerned about preserving their digital data for the ages, the DiamonDisc probably beats home-brewed DVDs.