How does a hard disk organize data?
Hard disks manage the base-level media format that includes sectors and tracks. All the physical characteristics involved in reading and writing data are managed by the disk drives, also by tape drives by the way. The disk drive manages the bulk data structures -- in other words the way data is addressed.
Think about it this way: When you partition a disk, there has to be some way of knowing what is there to partition -- the disk drive provides that low level capability. The disk drive also keeps track of bad areas on disk and has the ability to provide substitute areas on media when others become unreliable. This is part of logical block addressing (LBA) in disk drives and it's why host algorithms to manipulate access by block location do not necessarily work any more.
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This was first published in September 2002