With the expectation that the archive market will continue to grow, alongside the demand for much larger volumes of storage, Sony and Panasonic have announced that they will be joining forces to develop next-gen optical discs for professional use. The first target is an optical disc with recording capacity of at least 300GB by the end of 2015.
The purpose of the agreement is of course to improve development efficiency based on the know-how held by each company. Sony already has a file-based optical disc archive system that houses 12 optical discs (each 25GB) within a cartridge as a single, high-capacity storage solution. Panasonic on the other hand has an LB-DM9 series of optical disc storage devices that house more than 1,000 100GB optical discs. So you can imagine the amount of storage next-gen optical disc archive systems are able to offer if the 300GB optical disc target is achieved.
With its dust and water-resistant properties, and inter-generational compatibility between different formats, both companies clearly think the optical disc is still very much the answer for long-term digital data storage in the future.