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4/1/2008
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Terry Sweeney
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A Little Small-Mindedness

Who says old molecules can't be taught new tricks? Japanese researchers have concocted a new molecule that reverses cirrhosis damage -- at least in lab rats. So as you contemplate the wisdom of that next beer, let us marvel at other small-scale breakthroughs in storage.

Who says old molecules can't be taught new tricks? Japanese researchers have concocted a new molecule that reverses cirrhosis damage -- at least in lab rats. So as you contemplate the wisdom of that next beer, let us marvel at other small-scale breakthroughs in storage.LSI, working with its recently acquired Tarari unit, unveiled Monday a new chip that's a fraction the size of comparable chips with 2-Gbps throughput. Better yet, it's expected to cost about one-tenth as much as other products used for content inspection devices in security and threat management suites.

In other news, solid-state drive maker Super Talent expects to ship a 265-GB SSD in April, which, while not exactly tiny, is amazingly dense. Unlike the new LSI chips, don't look for any great price breaks where SSD is concerned.

They even awarded a Nobel last year for the discoveries behind this miniaturization trend. Now, Fujitsu, IBM, and Seagate -- and likely others -- are pursuing terabyte drives with unheard of RPMs in even smaller form factors than iPods and digital cameras.

But after considering all these different breakthroughs in small-scaled technology, I have to wonder how long it will take before nanotechnology and micron-level granularity make their way into the vanguard of enterprise storage. They can create molecular-sized vaccines, so why couldn't molecules be made to line up on platters (or some more appropriate storage medium) with so many bytes associated with them?

I'd like to see the economics of physical storage get re-written in my lifetime. That kind of big breakthrough wouldn't be any small wonder.

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