May 16, 2022

Data Storage: Sandia National Lab Storing Information Securely in DNA

From a Sandia National Labs News Release:

Experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider generate 15 million gigabytes of data per year. That is a lot of digital data to inscribe on hard drives or beam up to the “cloud.”


George Bachand, a Sandia National Laboratories bioengineer at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, is exploring a better, more permanent method for encrypting and storing sensitive data: DNA. Compared to digital and analog information storage, DNA is more compact and durable and never becomes obsolete. Readable DNA was extracted from the600,000-year-old remains of a horse found in the Yukon.

Tape- and disk-based data storage degrades and can become obsolete, requiring rewriting every decade or so. Cloud- or server-based storage requires a vast amount of electricity; in 2011Google’s server farms used enough electricity to power 200,000 U.S. homes. Furthermore, old-school methods require lots and lots of space. IBM estimated 1,000 gigabytes of information in book form would take up seven miles of bookshelves. In fact, Sandia recently completed a 15,000-square-foot building to store 35,000 boxes of inactive records and archival documents.

Learn More, Read the Complete News Release

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.