PLM, DNA and Long Term Information Storage

plm-dna-storage

Storage of information is a big deal. The amount of data around us is growing faster than we can even think. Nobody speaks about Gigabytes and Terabytes any more. We are moving to Yottabytes. Maybe you had a chance to read my write up – Will PLM data size reach Yottabytes. Even if PLM data is not as big as Facebook picture store or Twitter history stream, the situation is not getting better within time. However, if Twitter can limit historical storage of tweets, many manufacturing companies have no such luxury. For most of aero/auto/defense companies to store data for 15-20 years is an absolute need. Sometimes it can go up to 50 years. Extensive regulation development is increasing the need to track data about products, suppliers, design, changes and many other things. The long term data retention – this is a problem PLM companies are trying to solve – take a look on some of my very old posts PLM: How to enable long term retention of your product data?

An interesting CloudTimes article caught my attention earlier today – DNA: The New Big Data Storage Solution of the 21st Century? Have a read – I found some invention and ideas quite amazing. Article speaks about the ability to store data. Read the following passage:

According to scientists, the molecules can be a reliable carrier of information, especially in cases where it is necessary for a long time to hold a large amount of data. The dimensions of the molecules can create data banks, which will not need a huge room and the whole building as it is today. For example, European particle-physics lab in Switzerland (CERN) holds about 90 petabytes of big data information on about 100 tape drives, but the same volume of data could be held in 41 grams of DNA.

It sounds like we will be able to store the information about airplane design with all history, changes, configuration, manufacturing data using just using few lbs of DNA. Another aspect is related to longevity of storage and energy needs. The new type of data storage has actually very low power requirements.

Besides the ability to store lots of information in a small space, the DNA has another advantage – it consumes no electricity. Think of the huge data centers, these data storage centers that consume huge quantities of energy, charges for maintenance of large libraries and we immediately see the benefits that certain information might be stored in DNA.

What is my conclusion? We live at the time lots of fundamental assumptions of how we create, manage and retrieve data will be challenged. Physical storage will stop be a challenge. We will be able to store huge amount of data with no electricity and in a very compact way. The next challenge will become a logical access to data. Understanding of data, dependencies, semantics will become a next place to innovate. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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