Small disks, big specs


This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download "Storage magazine: Using two midrange backup apps at once."

Download it now to read this article plus other related content.

Fibre Channel (FC) vs. SAS
"Parallel SCSI is at end of life," declares Black. Vendors have begun winding down conventional SCSI products in favor of SAS. The advent of 6Gb/sec SAS, also referred to as SAS 2 or wide SAS, dramatically changes the competitive landscape. At 3Gb/sec, SAS lagged FC's 4Gb/sec performance. "At 6Gb/sec, SAS is going to cannibalize FC market share pretty quickly," says Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst at StorageIO Group, a research firm in Stillwater, MN.

Hawaiian Electric isn't ready to abandon FC. The organization's Watanabe is comfortable with the performance and reliability of FC for now, but "something like 6Gb/sec SAS might get us to rethink FC," he says. It won't be the only company rethinking the situation. Market research firms Gartner Inc. and IDC see a strong shift from FC to SAS. IDC, for example, predicts that shipments of small form-factor enterprise drives going into enterprise solutions will outnumber 3.5-inch enterprise drive shipments by 2010.

Error protection and encryption
Rounding out the list of upcoming HDD goodies are drive-based encryption and enhanced error protection. Further out is object-based HDD.

"Encryption built into the drive will be a huge thing," predicts Joel Weiss, president at the International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association (IDEMA), a Milpitas, CA-based trade

Requires Free Membership to View

association for HDD makers. Ironically, drive-based encryption may be most appealing when the drive reaches end-of-life and gets retired. Vendors report amazement at the amount of data left intact on returned disks. With on-drive encryption that concern goes away; as soon as the drive is separated from the key, the data becomes unreadable. Seagate already offers an enterprise drive with encryption, and it's emerging as a must-have for laptop disk drives (see "Notebook storage," below).

Notebook storage
With newspaper reports of laptops disappearing regularly, disk encryption has emerged as a key feature of notebook drives. The current hard disk drive (HDD) standard for laptops is 2.5-inch SATA with some vendors pushing capacity as high as 500GB.

At one time, a 1-inch HDD was touted for laptops, but no longer. "The 1-inch drive is dead, given up to solid-state disk [SSD]," says Joel Weiss, president at the International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association (IDEMA) in Milpitas, CA.

But SSD isn't making much progress either. "Hardly anybody is using SSD [in their notebooks] and those that do are disappointed," says Avi Cohen, managing partner and head of research at Avian Securities LLC, a Boston-based research company. SSD makes minimal impact on battery life, maybe 5% to 7% savings, for a $900 price premium. There are also problems making an SSD's MLC NAND work correctly.

"Wear leveling doesn't make sense on a small amount of SSD. You need at least 200GB, and that's too expensive," adds Cohen. So at least for another year or two the 2.5-inch HDD will continue to reign in the laptop/notebook market.

This was first published in September 2008

There are Comments. Add yours.

TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: