Microsoft to store data on a DNA-based archival Storage System

The amount of unstructured data for large enterprises continues to grow. As such, there is a need for them to deploy more storage setups that can preserve data for the long haul while also providing rapid access and performance. The existing optical media and disk-based data storage systems are incapable of curbing data storage capacity demand so; the concept of DNA-based archival storage system is gathering force.

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DNA-based archival Storage System

Software giant – Microsoft has partnered with a U.S genetics startup named Twist Bioscience on a project which intends to test the feasibility of creating a data storage system based on synthetic DNA.

Employing DNA for archiving data is a different approach since, DNA has characteristics like being extremely dense, with a raw limit of 1 exabyte per cubic millimeter, and long-lasting, with observed half-life of over 500 years.

A team of researchers from the University of Washington, coupled with some experienced researchers from Microsoft, published a new paper that argues the existing optical media and disk-based data storage systems are not keeping up with the exponential growth in demand. However, DNA archiving has the potential for long-term mass storage.

According to Twist Bioscience’s website, Microsoft will purchase 10 million synthetic DNA molecules from the startup to explore the possibility of using them for long-term mass storage. The two companies joined hands for a joint venture project on Wednesday, April 27.

Today, the vast majority of digital data is stored on media that has a finite shelf life and periodically needs to be re-encoded. DNA is a promising storage media, as it has a known shelf life of several thousand years, offers a permanent storage format and can be read for continuously decreasing costs,” commented Emily M. Leproust, Ph.D., CEO of Twist Bioscience.

“Our silicon-based DNA synthesis platform offers unmatched scale and product quality that vastly accelerates the ability to write DNA at a cost enabling data storage. We are thrilled to work with Microsoft, and University of Washington researchers, to address the growing challenge of digital data storage.” She adds further.

Twist Biosciences has expertise is accelerating science and innovation by leveraging the power of scale. The company already has added to its credit, the design of a proprietary semiconductor-based synthetic DNA manufacturing process featuring a 10,000-well silicon platform capable of producing synthetic biology tools.

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The author Hemant Saxena is a post-graduate in technology and has an immense interest in following Microsoft and other technology developments around the world. Quiet by nature, he is an avid Lacrosse player.