Project HSD: Holographic Storage Device for the Cloud

Our interdisciplinary team comprises experts in physics, optics, machine learning, and storage systemsThe enormous growth in demand for cloud storage has highlighted the need to rethink our storage systems from the media up. NAND flash and spinning hard disk drives are the mainstays of today’s warm cloud storage but are no longer improving capacity exponentially; in addition they face  reliability and performance challenges due to the mechanical moving parts in hard disk drives and the declining endurance of flash cells.

Project HSD is a collaboration between Microsoft Research Cambridge and Microsoft Azure to re-imagine an old idea – holographic storage – as a cloud-first design. We are capitalizing on the recent exponential improvement and commoditization in optical technologies such as smartphone cameras, as well as the unique opportunity to design at cloud scale.

Our interdisciplinary team comprises experts in physics, optics, machine learning, and storage systems; and our mission is to design mechanical-movement free, high-endurance cloud storage that is both performant and cost-effective. This has led to new research challenges and breakthroughs in areas ranging from materials to machine learning.

Project HSD was publicly announced at Ignite 2020 by Mark Russinovich, CTO of Azure. See Mark talk about HSD and show a demo of it (watch from 1h25 to 1h30) and read the related blog post for more details on HSD.

Project HSD is part of the broader Optics for the Cloud group at MSR Cambridge, which explores the future of cloud infrastructure at the intersection of optics and computer science.



Project Team

Portrait of Kyriaki Margarita Bintsi

Kyriaki Margarita Bintsi


Portrait of Grace Brennan

Grace Brennan


Portrait of Nathanael Cheriere

Nathanael Cheriere

Senior researcher

Portrait of Jiaqi Chu

Jiaqi Chu

Senior Researcher

Portrait of Jannes Gladrow

Jannes Gladrow

Senior RSDE

Portrait of Doug Kelly

Doug Kelly

Senior researcher

Portrait of Joowon Lim

Joowon Lim


Portrait of Dushyanth Narayanan

Dushyanth Narayanan

Senior Principal Researcher

Portrait of Sebastian Nowozin

Sebastian Nowozin

Partner Research Manager

Portrait of Greg O'Shea

Greg O'Shea

Principal RSDE

Portrait of Ant Rowstron

Ant Rowstron

Distinguished Engineer / Deputy Lab Director

Portrait of Benn Thomsen

Benn Thomsen

Senior Principal Researcher

Portrait of Xingbo Wu

Xingbo Wu

Senior Researcher

Portrait of Mengyang Yang

Mengyang Yang

Senior Holographic Scientist

Portrait of Pedro da Costa

Pedro da Costa



Portrait of Pashmina Cameron

Pashmina Cameron

Principal Scientist

Portrait of Sarah Lewis

Sarah Lewis

AI Resident

Portrait of Tony Mason

Tony Mason


Portrait of Soujanya Ponnapalli

Soujanya Ponnapalli


Portrait of Michael Rudow

Michael Rudow