Professionals looking for storage solutions now have another option, courtesy of a new product from Sony Electronics. Sony has introduced optical storage technology that uses blue-violet lasers (aka blue lasers). The company is now shipping Professional Disc for DATA (PDD) media that takes advantage of blue-laser technology instead of using the traditional red lasers common in most optical solutions today. The new media features 23.3GB of storage capacity per disc and transfer speeds of 11MBps read and 9MBps write. Blue lasers have shorter wavelengths than red lasers, enabling storage of as much as four times more data on the same size media compared with red-laser-based CD-ROMs, DVDs, and magneto-optic (MO) technologies. "Blue laser optical storage technologies, such as Sony's Professional Disc for DATA format, overcome the capacity and performance limitations of current professional disc storage formats. The advanced imaging and editing requirements of broadcast and medical companies will particularly benefit from the 23GB capacity of Professional Disc for DATA." said Wolfgang Schlichting, research director for removable storage at IDC. 
   Sony aims to double the capacity and performance of PDD technology from each generation to the next. Second-generation PDD technology is scheduled to be released in 2005 and will feature 50GB of storage capacity on a single-sided, double-layer disc, with transfer rates that the company expects to reach 18MBps. In 2007, the third-generation PDD will reach 100GB by using double-sided media. Transfer rates should reach 36MBps.
   PDD uses technology similar to the emerging Blu-ray Disc storage technology, but PDD is targeted at businesses. In contrast, Blu-ray Disc is targeted at consumers and is currently available only in Japan. PDD and Blu-ray discs aren't interchangeable. PDD discs retail for about $45 and are available from Sony channel partners. PDD drives, autochangers, and libraries are also available.