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New Storage Developments

Eweek has an article on a new 1TB Seagate drive. Most home users don’t have a need for 1TB of storage (the only way I’ve ever filled a 300G drive is by using it for multiple backups) and enterprise customers generally want small fast drives (with <100G drives still being sold for servers).

One interesting thing to note about this is the fact that the new drive is described as being able to sustain 105MB/s (although I suspect that is only for the first few zones of the disk – see my ZCAV results page for graphs of the performance of some typical disks). The previous disks that I have seen have topped out at about 90MB/s. However even if the drive could deliver 105MB/s over it’s entire capacity it would take almost 3 hours to perform a backup – increases in IO speeds have not been keeping up with capacity increases. Another interesting thing is the potential for using the same technology in low power 2.5 inch disks. While a 1TB disk isn’t going to be much use to me a 300G 2.5inch disk that uses less power will be very useful – and it might be possible to perform a backup of such a disk in a reasonable amount of time!

The latest trend in PCs seems to be small form factor (SFF) and low power machines that don’t have space for two drives. If you want RAID-1 on your home machines for reliability then that isn’t very convenient. But two 2.5 inch disks can fit in less space than a single 3.5 inch disk and therefore all the SATA based SFF machines that are currently being shipped with a single 3.5 inch disk can be upgraded to a pair of 2.5 inch disks – this will be convenient for me when those machines start going cheap at auction next year!

Even for servers the trend seems to be towards 2.5 inch disks. I recently bought a 2U HP server that supports up to 8 hot-swap SFF disks, I wonder how the performance of 8*SFF disks would compare to 4 of the bigger and faster disks.

The next thing we need is a method of backing up large volumes of data. The 650M data CD came out when a 150M disk was considered big. The 4.7G data DVD started to become popular when 45G disks were considered big. Now almost everyone has 300G disks and 1TB disks are becoming available yet the best commonly available backup method is a double-layer DVD at 9.4G – it seems that the vast majority of home users that make backups are using cheap IDE disks to do so. Fortunately there are some new technology developments that may improve the situation. Call/Recall has developed technology that may permit multiple terabytes of storage on an optical disk. It’s yet to be seen whether their technology lives up to the claims made about it, but we have to hope. The current storage situation is getting unmanagable.

1 comment to New Storage Developments

  • I keep code in SCM, either SVN or increasingly git.

    Mail is with an IMAP and Google. I do use offlineimap to backup mail from IMAP to disk. I still need to work Gmail’s pop to do the same, but I am a little worried they won’t play together nicely.

    As for my “multimedia”. I’ve recently bought myself a NSLU2. I plan to put as large a USB hard drive as possible on there and backup to it. As for backing that up, I hope LVM2 will suffice. Otherwise perhaps another similar setup with rsync.