Microsoft have announced that research into using DNA for data storage in cooperation with the University of Washington is showing great progress. The latest research has seen 200MB of data stored onto DNA, as an early proof of the viability of using this technique for long term storage.
Magnetic tape media is currently considered the best long term storage, but after a decade or two will start to deteriorate, requiring regular data conversion to avoid the data becoming inaccessible. DNA promises to be much more reliable as a long term storage media, proved by DNA being extracted from organic material several thousands of years old.
The technology is currently too expensive to be viable replacement for current magnetic tape data storage, but it expected that the costs involved, such as acquiring the DNA will reduce. The timespan for commercial viability is uncertain.
The probable data density suggested is to be able to store approximately 20 data centres worth of information into a shoe box sized space. This technology promises to be the future of long term data storage, although there is still a vast amount of research to be completed before its commercial viability is assured.