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* Posts by Doug Siebert

3 posts • joined 16 Dec 2008

Seagate tells flash bigots to get real

Doug Siebert
Silver badge
FAIL

They are in self-serving denial

Pretty simple, really. The average storage shipped with a laptop increases over time because the smallest laptop drive is always getting bigger, and the cost penalty from one platter one head to two platters four heads is pretty minimal, so its a cheap way for vendors to make the laptops seem better when naive consumers are comparing them against each other.

Most people don't come close to filling up their laptops. Corporate laptops mainly use data on corporate servers, without a need for lots of local storage. A 32GB drive is probably plenty for most of those, with hard drives offered by corporate IT on an exception basis only. 32GB is probably fine for most consumers as well....maybe a bit larger to capture 90-95% of the market. For the rest, who are mainly DV enthusiasts or download/rip lots of video, spinning media will remain the way to go.

I would anticipate in the next couple years some changes in the laptop market. SSD vendors will probably come up with a standardized small form factor SSD - probably about the size of a mini-PCI card. Then laptop vendors will ship the bulk of their models without space for an internal hard drive, only that small form factor SSD. I wouldn't be surprised to see built in CD/DVD players to be left out on more models than currently as well - USB attached ones are fine for occasional users and lead to a smaller/lighter laptop the rest of the time.

Higher end laptops would be available with a 2.5" SATA bay for old fashioned hard drives for those who need the extra storage - in addition to the SSD they'd boot from.

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Storage experts: Does size matter?

Doug Siebert
Silver badge

Same arguments back in the 5.25" vs. 3.5" days...

And with the same result. 3.5" drives will be pretty scarce in a few years, not just in storage arrays but in PCs you buy and in consumer electronics. 2.5" drives take up less volume per gigabyte and use less power per gigabyte, and those are the only figures of merit that matter anymore for rotating media.

IOPS in rotating media are now pretty much irrelevant in the face of the orders of magnitude increase you get from SSDs, versus the tiny gains you get from spinning faster, using more power to get faster seeks, or using more efficient interfaces like SAS or FC.

I expect by the next generation of arrays we'll see only two types of storage, SSDs for the obvious I/O benefits, and 2.5" SATA drives for bulk storage. SAS and FC interfaces will disappear. 7200 rpm will be as fast as it gets, and I wouldn't be surprised if we don't even step back to 5400 rpm to get slightly better density and power characteristics. After all, all that hot data is going be living on the SSDs.

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NAND flash follow-on technology

Doug Siebert
Silver badge
Stop

Actually over 100x more dense

Feature size on a chip scales via square (i.e., you get 4x more transistors on a 45 nm chip than on a 90 nm chip, all else being equal) So its more like 100-400x as dense, not 10-20x.

However, I assume they are talking about the minimum size it could scale to, not the size of the first generation product. Either way, I'm sure a lot of development would be required to mass produce it. IBM's MRAM has been 'a few years away' for years now, it is starting to remind me of bubble memory, the next big thing back in the 80s. Hopefully this technology will not suffer the same fate, but time will tell.

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