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Categories: Enterprise Storage Microsoft

#Microsoft says DNA could be a better way to store data for the long term than the magnetic tape companies rely on today.

It looks like a test tube with dried salt at the bottom, but Microsoft says it could be the future of data storage. The company reported today that it had written roughly 200 megabytes of data, including War and Peace and 99 other literary classics, into DNA.

Researchers have demonstrated that digital data can be stored in DNA before, but Microsoft says none have written so much of it into DNA at once.

DNA is a good storage medium because data can be written into molecules more densely than the basic elements of conventional storage technologies can pack it in, says Karin Strauss, Microsoft’s lead researcher on the project, which also involves researchers from the University of Washington. Right now the technique is expensive and finicky, but the company hopes to piggyback on the plunging costs of tools for creating and reading out DNA driven by the biotech industry. DNA is seen as a potential replacement for magnetic tape, which is the standard mechanism for long-term data stores today.

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