Although it is not as glamorous as smart weapons or miniaturized sensors, data storage is emerging as an increasingly important issue in the U.S. military. As the services continue to move toward a networked force, U.S. Defense Department leaders are beginning to pay close attention to how and where to store the data and images that sophisticated technologies are gathering in enormous quantities. After all, it not only has to be kept somewhere, but it also must be readily accessible to be valuable.
From clay tablets to magnetic tape, civilizations have found ways to store important information; however, the silicon revolution has led to an overabundance of data. While existing electronic media have kept pace with this demand, new technologies could offer massive storage coupled with fast retrieval.
The increasingly heavy flow of data within organizational networks is driving the search for better methods to store actively used information and archives. Advances in optical-disc technology are producing greater versatility in multimedia hardware and software. As a result, consumers will soon achieve increased systems interoperability through a more refined focus on equipment compatibility.