Tech | May 23, 2017 3:17 pm

Microsoft Has Plans for Storing Data on DNA

Can the universe's densest data medium solve the looming storage problem?

Microsoft has a plan for DNA Data Storage (Getty Images)
Microsoft has a plan for DNA Data Storage (Getty Images)

Some companies have more data than they can handle, but one tech giant is turning to biology to solve that problem.

Microsoft is developing a storage system based on DNA and hopes to have it working in three years. The goal is to replace tape drives, a common device used in archival data.

MIT Technology Review reports that Microsoft’s goal is to develop the technology so it can run a commercial data storage center formatted in DNA using a machine the size of “1970s-era Xerox copier.” The service would be called “Your Storage with DNA.”

Based on the company’s early research with movies and documents, the concept would revolutionize data storage given that genetic material is the densest form of storage ever known. If every film in existence was saved on DNA, for example, the data would take up less space than a sugar cube.

Microsoft announced last summer that it had saved 200 megabytes of data on DNA, a record-setting amount.

High costs remain the biggest barrier for the technology being widely adopted.