Microsoft’s DNA storage tech may fit in an enterprise

Microsoft has apparently firmed up its plans for a DNA-based storage device that it expects to be commercially available within about three years.

The software giant originally unveiled its research into DNA as an archival storage medium last year; it described the technology being able to store the amount of data in “a big data center compressed into a few sugar cubes. Or all the publicly accessible data on the Internet slipped into a shoebox.

“That is the promise of DNA storage — once scientists are able to scale the technology and overcome a series of technical hurdles,” the company said in a 2016 blog post.

Tara Brown Photography/ University of Washington

Once endoded, the synthetic DNA is able to store 200MB of data in a space smaller thatn the tip of a pencil. Extrapolated, DNA storage could potentially store a data center’s worth of information in a space the size of a shoebox.

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment on the progress of its DNA storage research.

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