Ray Freeman, OSTA Facilitator

Mike Manuel / George Millington,
Walt & Company Communications


Leading Optical Storage Vendors Follow OSTA Roadmap

SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 10, 1996 -- Several leading optical disk drive and media manufacturers have announced new 5.25-inch (130 mm) rewritable optical storage devices with breakthrough capacities of 2.6 gigabytes (GB) per disk, confirming that the optical data storage industry is charting its course according to the roadmap issued by the Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA). The OSTA member companies, which supply more than 70 percent of all writable optical product shipments worldwide, see this capacity milestone as a major breakthrough in the continuing development of reliable high-density removable optical storage technology.

In bringing new 2.6 GB optical storage devices to market, these OSTA member companies -- including Hewlett Packard, Maxell, Maxoptix, MicroDesign International, Olympus, Sony, Teijin Ltd., 3M and Verbatim -- have overcome several technical challenges identified by OSTA, including development of shorter wavelength lasers and more efficient encoding techniques.

OSTA 2.6 GB Milestone Announcement

These developments contributed greatly to faster access times and data rates, as well as doubled storage capacities.

"We are pleased that these major manufacturers of optical storage devices have successfully crossed the 2.6 GB barrier for optical storage devices," said William E. Kopatich, chairman of OSTA's board of directors and vice president, optical storage products, Verbatim Corporation. "We fully expect that these new high-capacity, high-performance products will contribute enormously to the acceptance of optical storage technologies throughout the data storage market."

OSTA's 1996 milestone of 2.6 GB was determined based on the projections of manufacturers to achieve certain technical improvements by this date. The new capacity level is exactly four times the capacity of the first-generation, 650 megabyte (MB) optical disks -- thus the frequent reference to these devices as "4x" optical drives.

"When we announced our 5.25-inch 2.6 GB magneto-optical disk cartridge in January, it was a timely introduction because Hewlett-Packard was about to ship its 5.25-inch optical disk jukeboxes, and we wanted to be their first choice as a supplier," said Michael Stevens, director of 3M Optical Storage Solutions. "It is clear that OSTA is listening and responding to user needs with the roadmap that details product migration via technical specification. This reflects a strong confidence in the technical expertise available within OSTA."

"We have continued to focus on 5.25-inch optical disks on the OSTA migration path as we believe that the mainstream ISO-standard MO products classes endorsed by OSTA enjoy the widest industry and end user support," said Bob Burkhardt, product manager for optical products at Verbatim Corporation. "Verbatim has introduced 2.6 GB media in both rewritable and CC WORM formats to satisfy critical data storage and retrieval needs, especially as part of an optical jukebox system solution for document imaging applications."

In addition to defining a roadmap for the development of 5.25-inch optical storage product classes through the year 2000, OSTA has also developed migration paths for writable compact disks (CDs) and 3.5-inch writable optical storage product classes. As these roadmaps are realized, the computer, entertainment and information storage industries will all benefit from remarkable progress in storage technology over the next few years.

For example, while the roadmap shows first-generation writable CD capacity is 650 MB in 1996, second-generation CD-R and new high-density CD-E products are expected to boast capacities of more than 2 GB by 1998. Similarly, by the turn of the century, writable optical storage products in the 3.5-inch form factor will achieve 2.6 GB of capacity per disk and raw data rates of 5 to 10 MB per second. Writable optical storage products in the 5.25-inch form factor will reach capacities of 10.4 GB with raw data access rates approaching 15 MB/sec.

The Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA) was incorporated as an international trade association in 1992 to promote the use of writable optical technologies and products for storage of computer data. The organization's membership, comprising optical product manufacturers from three continents and representing more than 70 percent of worldwide writable optical product shipments, works to shape the future of the industry through regular meetings of CD-W, market development, planning and technical committees. Interested companies worldwide are invited to join the organization and participate in its programs by contacting an OSTA representative at 805/963-3853 or by addressing its Web site at http://www.osta.org.

Editors Note: Product and company names used here are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

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Editors Note: Product and company names used here are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.