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What Will Records Management Be Like In 100 Years? Part 3

DNA, an organic data storage technology.


Having discussed holographic data storage and quantum storage in the first two parts of our, “What Will Records Management Be Like In 100 Years?” series, we come to perhaps the most radical future data storage technology.


DNA Data Storage

If you were to look at the progress technology has made in the last 50 years then perhaps it is not much of a stretch to imagine records management companies using DNA in 50 or 100 years’ time as a data storage medium.

In fact, DNA could be said to be the first storage medium. Of course, DNA does not store jpegs or mp5 video, Word documents or PDFs. Yet this does not mean DNA cannot store these files. Indeed a team of scientists¹ have successfully stored a jpeg, an mp3 audio file, a PDF and Shakespearean sonnets on DNA. While the amount of data was not significant, only 739KB – and a little DNA repair work was required – the data was retrieved with an accuracy of 100%.

DNA as a storage medium would allow records management companies to store important archives for hundreds, if not, thousands of years. Now a few issues would require some work. Namely, DNA is not rewritable and it does not allow random access, meaning you would have to decode the entire file before you can read a part of it.

So, DNA Storage is not going to replace hard drives and magnetic tape any time soon. Nonetheless, it cannot be discarded as a possibility. At the rate at which data is created today coupled with the advances in technology and the decreased costs that accompany technology as it improves, DNA Data Storage may very well become a viable technology.


Iron Mountain is one of Southern Africa’s leading Records and Information Management companies. To find out more about Iron Mountain’s state-of-the-art facilities, and how we can secure your valuable company records, contact us today.


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