Posts Tagged 'storage'

SSD News

What do you get when you mix optical drives with NAND technology? Hitachi‘s latest press release. Hitachi dabbles with a hard drive hybrid. However Seagate’s attempt at mixing the technology did not turn out so great. Slower performance, less than stellar number crunching but still Hitachi plods on. Boasting a caching performance boost, boot times, application speed, and capacity. Wait and see what price they put on it.

Intel’s 3rd gen SSD looks to be promising. Based on the previous postville design there have been a number of improvements. Boosted write speeds and drive size (from 160GB to 600GB) Intel looks to lock up the enterprise market. Full disk AES encryption also promoting data security for state secrets. The X25-m is set for first quarter launch.

Not enough storage

If you are a data whore you probably already own a NAS where you store all of your home made porn. Well this begs the question what do you do if you have a lot of porn? 2 TB NAS not good enough. 8 TB still not good enough. Heck why not build your own 16 TB NAS from scratch? All you need is some handy welding tools, 8 x 2 TB WD hard drives, ATOM N270 processor and board, and some free time to watch the video. Performance times should look something like 88MB/sec (write) and 266MB/sec (read) rivaling that of most current top end SSD’s. Enjoy!

Perhaps the DIY is not for you. Well meet the new lineup of Seagate’s GoFlex external hard drives. Basically the idea behind this is they are flexible (hence the name). Got a drive with a USB 2.0 connection and have a computer with USB 3.0? No need to buy a new drive with these drives. Simply buy the USB 3.0 adapter/cable and voila, that Seagate GoFlex magically works with whatever connection you require. eSata, Firewire, tv connection, wifi, whatever you need. Expect the other hard drive manufacturers to follow suit.

Seagate 3 TB hard drives will require new motherboards. Should be coming out later this year so hold off on buying those 1.5 TB and 2 TB drives if you can.

Data Center Usage

Probably one of the largest expenditures companies are making these days involve data storage in one way or another. Storing corporate data, user, and customer information securely is becoming a priority at the company board meeting. A couple of problems arise: keeping costs low, and developing a scalable solution.

Given the recent economic troubles Dell decided not to spend more money on servers and simply make better use of what they had. While 65% of their customers had outgrown their storage capacities there certainly was a need for off site solutions. Going to a virtualization model Dell saw it’s 12% server usage go to 42%. Increasing the workload without having to spend another dime. Making use of the resources at hand.

Proposed efficiency requirements have raised the ire of technology companies in this predicament. Placing an outdated standard on current technology would seriously hamper future innovation, not to mention force large expenditures on infrastructure. One thing is certain, the cost of storing data is going up.

Data Storage for a Billion Years

Yes, a BILLION years. Sound far fetched? Futuristic technology? Not quite. Scientific researchers have been able to demonstrate data storage memory utilzing carbon nano tubes. The technology can store, in theory, a trillion bits of data per square inch for a billion years. The technology potentially will be available in 2 years. It uses crystalline iron nano particles inside a specialized carbon tube to work it’s magic. To put that in perspective the particles are a fraction of the width of a human hair, that’s damn tiny. On top of that it’s low voltage and energy efficient.

Perhaps the days of hard drive crashes will soon be over. No more headaches, no more data recovery issues to deal with. It’s all smoke and mirrors at this point with little or no consumer level application but maybe it will show up in a secret government labs somewhere. There has always been a big gap between theory and real world application.

Flash Storage: The End Is Near

All good things come to an end … yes, even digital storage capacity. According to a SanDisk executive the countdown is about 5 years when we run out of electrons. Flash storage capacity has doubled 14 times in the last 19 years. However flash storage seems to have a unique problem, one is electrons and the other is age. Eventually the technology used to control the billions of electrons simply breaks down and become less exact. That “1” should have actually been a “0”. Multiply the errors and the data you stored on that little 256GB USB key is suddenly useless.

That’s what R&D is for. Come on crack scientists! Develop a new way to control those feisty electrons or build a better flash storage cell. So is SSD at it’s end or the beginning? Are early adopters regretting their choice in data storage? In my mind flash is still temporary while hard drives are 3 – 5 years, and DVD/CDs are 10 – 15 years. Which reminds me, I should probably start going through those old CDs to see if the data is still good. I guess it’s true, more data, more problems.

MLC NAND technology to put SSDs in every household

MLC (multiple level cell) NAND technology allows for higher density of data storage capacity. This could greatly lower costs for data centers by up to 4 times. There are still some performance, reliability, and endurance issues to work out but the technology looks to make solid state drives a household product.

SLC (single level cell) NAND memory can store 1 bit per cell. This allows for higher read/write speeds and up to 100,000 write cycles. MLC NAND memory is capable of 2,000 to 10,000 write cycles but can store multiple bits per cell meaning more storage capacity. As well in order for MLC to function properly complicated firmware is required to handle data allocation and organization. (link)

The main problem with SSDs has been write performance. The fixed block sizes forces inefficient handling of data storage. Data is spread out evenly across the flash memory but slows access time and increases wear and tear. Adding RAM buffers can speed up read/write times.

WTF is RAID?

Often terms get thrown around the office that aren’t always apparently clear. When it comes to technology it’s hard to always be on top of the ball. However the term “RAID” is definitely one you should get to know. Gizmodo has done a great writeup on the what a RAID is and the various types of set ups. For the most part you only need to be concerned with RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 5 as these are the most common forms you will run into in the wild. Mirror, span, striped, parity, redundancy, just do a Google search and read up on your tech already.

Feeling a bit more adventurous? How about setting up your own RAID at home? Go to Lifehacker and just do it. Your spouse just might thank you when that crusty old hard drive decides to crap out and the RAID you set up saves the day. OR you can be really lazy and go to the local electronics store and pick up a little NAS box to do the job for you. Man, you really are lazy!


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