Storage device manufacturer Plasmon has developed read-only back-up discs that allow companies to selectively destroy data while leaving the rest of the disc's contents intact.
The disc, designed to support regulatory compliance requirements, is able to retain a record to confirm that data has been destroyed, so managers can prove that the company has met its compliance requirements.
Claus Egge, programme director, European storage research at analyst firm IDC, said the discs were an industry first and would be suitable for the pharmaceutical, medical and legal industries, which are required to protect personal data and destroy it after use.
He added that the Data Protection Act required, for example, certain call centres to destroy client records after use.
The disc is based on Plasmon's UDO (Ultra Density Optical) format. UDO is a phase-change optical storage system, which stores data by physically changing the state of the disc's recording layer between amorphous and crystalline. With Plasmon's media, data is selectively destroyed by changing the entire state of an area occupied by a file into the crystalline state. The supplier calls this "data shredding".
Egge said, "The UDO-compliant write-once media is an implementation of evolving Worm [write once, read many] technology. This media offers the ability to selectively destroy individual records as retention periods expire. The addition of such a finite yet static data protection capability is an important development.
"Enabling data to be retained for the correct length of time will provide data protection and compliance officers with the necessary tools to deal with deletion as well as retention. IDC recommends that this functionality be supported in all major storage applications."
The Plasmon disc will have a capacity of 30Gbytes, which is similar to the write-once and rewritable versions of UDO discs. Pricing will be somewhere between the two, at about £35 a disc.
What is UDO?
UDO (Ultra Density Optical) is an optical media storage disc format based on blue-laser technology similar to that used in the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray formats. UDO discs are encased in cartridges similar to Magneto Optical discs. This means IT managers can mix and match Magneto Optical and UDO drives in the same library.