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4/22/2008
02:47 AM
Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney
Commentary
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Crank Up The Volume

If storage were an audio receiver, we'd be flirting with that "9" or "10" mark on that big black dial. But we're talking capacity here (and maybe speed), as vendors appear to bend the rules of physics by cramming more bytes than any space or drive should be able to accommodate.

If storage were an audio receiver, we'd be flirting with that "9" or "10" mark on that big black dial. But we're talking capacity here (and maybe speed), as vendors appear to bend the rules of physics by cramming more bytes than any space or drive should be able to accommodate.Western Digital says its new 2.5-inch drive has twice the capacity and a 35% performance increase over the last generation of hard drives. Gotta do something about the name, though: VelociRaptor, an homage, I guess, to those rapacious, avian reptiles from Jurassic Park. ("We tear your bytes to bits!") Powerful visual, maybe not such a nice outcome ... another parallel to the movie.

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies also got into the volume act with enterprise-class hard drives and its Ultrastar 15K450 which taps perpendicular magnetic recording for 450 GB of storage.

Average seek times on the new Ultrastar are alleged to be as low as 3.3 milliseconds, and average latency as low as 2 milliseconds, perfect for critical data center applications, online transaction processing, and multiuser applications, the vendor said. The new Ultrastars come with either 3-Gbps serial attached SCSI or a 4-Gbps Fibre Channel interfaces. But if speed is all, why not goose 'em up to 8-Gbps Fibre Channel?

And it's not a perfect analog where volume or capacity is concerned, but a bit of holographic storage is getting ready for its debut next month. Storage Mojo reports InPhase is taking the wraps off optical storage that's been eight years in the making.

With 300-GB capacity and 20-MB per second transfer speeds, the pricey media is apparently aimed at those who need 50-year archiving guarantees. We'll see if it escapes the niche-ification that plagues so much other storage pioneering.

In the meantime, storage buyers will keep their hands on the volume dial -- unlike decibels, you can never have too much storage capacity overhead. Whether you can actually afford it is another matter.

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