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Vol. 10 Num. 11 January 2012

IOPS per what?

Disk capacity has been the sexy specification the majority of us have latched onto, but it’s time to start thinking about performance and power consumption. Back when he was at Xiotech (now XIO), Rob Peglar used to present a PowerPoint deck that included a slide depicting a butcher processing a large pile of ground beef. The unappealing image provided a memorable hook for Peglar’s point: for years, we’ve bought storage in a similar fashion, using the simple metric of dollars per pound. Interviewing disk drive makers a few years ago, I learned a different but related truth about disk. Many disk drive industry insiders observed that their biggest sales accrued based on “larger,” rather than “faster” or “smarter.” Customers saw bigger capacity as the improvement that meant the most. A 1 TB drive was better than a nimbler 250 GB drive, and a 2 TB drive yielded more sales than a fancy 500 GB flash/hard disk hybrid unit. Bigger is better made a certain kind of sense, of course. Knowing virtually nothing about data itself -- the ...

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