DNA storage technologies for cheaper and more compact data centers

Every day humans produce an enormous amount of data with emails, photos, tweets, and software, as much as 2.5 million gigabytes. All of this information is stored in big data centers, called exabyte data centers (one exabyte is 1 billion gigabytes) that can be many football fields in size and cost up to one billion dollars to build and maintain.

Over the next decade, the quantity of data that has to be kept will increase to the exabyte range due to streaming data, video, machine learning, artificial intelligence, IoT, and other factors. Additionally, as AI intelligence grows, so does the amount of training data needed. The storage challenge is a fair trade for organizations that take advantage of superior analytics and big data prospects to outperform the competition.

To solve storage challenges, the industry is improving existing magnetic and optical technologies as well as innovative technologies that are inherently more dense, such as DNA molecules. With DNA we can store 2.2 petabytes of data per gram. A DNA hard drive about the size of a teaspoon could hold all of the world’s data.

DNA is stable, durable,and dense. Key technological advancements in biochemistry (how to store the 0s and 1s with DNA), and in the readout interface (how the DNA is read) will advance this technology to be a perfect choice for cold data storage.

Image credit: Braňo

You can read more about the enablers that will lead to this by watching our webinar: The Future of Data Storage, DNA, and Biological Solutions.