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Beyond Nobel, Hard Drives Get Smart

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the paging-mr.-adams-mr.-adams-to-the-security-shoe dept.

Data Storage 156

mattnyc99 writes "Giant magnetoresistance got its day in the sun when it won the Nobel Prize in physics last week—and when Hitachi rode that spotlight by announcing they'd have a 4-terabyte desktop hard drive by 2011. It's about time says Glenn Derene over at Popular Mechanics, in what amounts to an ode to the rise and future of super hard drive capacity. From his great accompanying interview with data storage visionary and computer science legend Mark Kryder: 'To get to 10 Tbits per square inch will require a drastic change in recording technology ... Hitachi, Seagate, Western Digital and Samsung ... are currently working on this 10-terabits-per-square-inch goal, which would enable a 40-terabyte hard drive.'"

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156 comments

Steady March of Progress (1)

powerpants (1030280) | more than 6 years ago | (#21016721)

I'd like to know which factors have allowed (forced?) the disk storage industry to continue to advance at such a steady pace. I am well aware of Moore's Law and Kryder's Law [wikipedia.org] , but these are just observations, not explanations.

Why haven't we seen similar improvements in fuel efficiency or internet bandwidth (in the US at least)?

Re:Steady March of Progress (1)

raeb (1041430) | more than 6 years ago | (#21016755)

I agree with you and also am curious about access times. I've got the space, I'd rather they focus a little more on how to access all the info faster. But either way this is awesome.

Hybrid drives (5, Insightful)

nojayuk (567177) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017035)

I believe the higher capacity drives will force a rethink on how data is stored and accessed on standalone machines like laptops and desktops. I've only got a couple of terabytes of data on this machine and doing a file search over the five (I think, I can't actually remember how many drives I've got fitted in this thing) disks is already pretty time-consuming. The solution will be to add intelligence to the disk interface so that data indexing is done pre-emptively and the results cached on the fly.

The first generation of hybrid drives are already here but they're only at the beginning of their development cycle. HDD recording densities will increase as will flash RAM densities and that will improve access times but only for the most commonly accessed data.

Imagine a 10Tb HDD built in the classic 3.5" wide form factor, with 256Gb of 1024-bit-wide 150MWord/sec flash memory or MRAM on the controller board acting as cache. The spinning disk becomes a backing store for the flash where data is kept "fresh" by a smart algorithm. The drive spins down intelligently when not needed, saving power and reducing heat dissipation.

Higher recording densities are only one part of the future of disk drive technology.

Re:Flamebait (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21017511)

Windows, osx and most linux distributions come with file index utilities. If you turn it on while installing and leave it on, they work rather well for indexing tons and tons of files/GBs. And if you don't have them running, then you pay for it with having to wait to find stuff. It is a compromise, you are trading computer and cache space for access time. This is used throughout computing, why you think this shouldn't still hold, i dunno.

Re:Flamebait (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21019817)

This is used throughout computing, why you think this shouldn't still hold, i dunno.

Because it's a kludge that chews CPU and disk cycles.

Microsoft was trying to develop WinFS for a reason, and Sun's ZFS is already available. This sort of data management is more efficiently done at filesystem level.

Re:Hybrid drives (3, Interesting)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017773)

Imagine a 10Tb HDD built in the classic 3.5" wide form factor, with 256Gb of 1024-bit-wide 150MWord/sec flash memory or MRAM on the controller board acting as cache. The spinning disk becomes a backing store for the flash where data is kept "fresh" by a smart algorithm. The drive spins down intelligently when not needed, saving power and reducing heat dissipation.

I'd rather they be broken into separate drives. I'd like a flash based drive for my OS and maybe a few commonly used applications and a spinning HDD for all my data and backups.

Re:Hybrid drives (2, Informative)

Jake73 (306340) | more than 6 years ago | (#21018829)

You know, this is a pretty interesting point.

Perhaps it would be better to have two drives available to the OS with rated latencies and bandwidths. Then, the OS can make software-based decisions based on the usage profile of the machine (server, workstation, media, etc).

Alternatively, some rating could be given to each file installed by software installation programs. Things like help databases, samples, aux tools, uninstallers, etc could be thrown on lower-latency spin disks. The critical items like programs, DLLs, etc could be installed on the fast disks.

Re:Hybrid drives (1)

DarkAxi0m (928088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21019545)

Sounds a bit like what vista its trying to do with using flash memory cards for the page files ect

Partitions (2, Interesting)

Walzmyn (913748) | more than 6 years ago | (#21019893)

What I want to know is if these new larger drives are going to come with new restrictions on partitioning the drives. I would love to be able to test drive a dozen or so different Linux distros, see what BSD is like, have a safe (somewhat) place to stick my /home while I upgrade - but I am limited by the number of partitions (got one taken up with winders).I know you can work it all around and do it with just 4 primaries, but it would really be nice to set up 15 or so partitions. Especialy if the drive has 4 terabites. Good Lord, I can't even fathom that much space.

Progress in new directions (3, Interesting)

mollog (841386) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017301)

When I see headlines about 1TB drives, I immediately think of losing 1TB of data.

How about they put a RAID 1 array in a 3.5" form factor? Two separate platters, two head/arm assemblies, two SATA connectors.

Re:Progress in new directions (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017705)

Because you could just buy two 3.5" drives and run them in RAID1 yourself? It only costs money.

Re:Progress in new directions (1)

Mahjub Sa'aden (1100387) | more than 6 years ago | (#21019913)

Because you could just buy two 3.5" drives and run them in RAID1 yourself? It only costs money.
I think you're missing the point. You have to do that yourself, it takes money, and most importantly it takes up space and electricity.

Put two hard drives in a 3.5" enclosure and have them run a seamless RAID 1. The user doesn't have to be involved in that.

Then if one part of the array fails, sure, you have to replace the array, but you don't lose your data. That's the most important thing. Hard drive costs pale in comparison to the cost of replacing data.

Re:Steady March of Progress (1)

cnettel (836611) | more than 6 years ago | (#21018403)

7200 RPM gives you a hard wall. Faster rotation is a pain, and arm movement is not (generally) the limiting factor. The only thing I can imagine is putting two heads there, right opposite each other. That creates a nice scheduling problem, but I guess it would be doable. You wouldn't only get RAID 0, because, with two heads free, you could actually cut the time before the right sector is under either head in half. One thing that comes to mind is whether a construction with two arms would be much more (i.e. more than twice as) susceptible to a head crash; if a disc currently actually sometimes tilts ever so slightly, and wouldn't be able to do so with a two-arm arrangement. But, again, that's just wild speculation.

Re:Steady March of Progress (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21018813)

WREN did this in their WRENiii series ESDI drives. For the time those drives were fast. Rather than a radial axis for the drive heads they used a linear actuator where the head stacks could move independently of each other. Worked like a champ. I would still use them but the controller is VLB (and no MB these days supports that on P4's and up), and the drives were only 160 meg (and 5-1/4" full height beasts).

-nB

Re:Steady March of Progress (3, Insightful)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 6 years ago | (#21016775)

I'd like to know which factors have allowed (forced?) the disk storage industry to continue to advance at such a steady pace.
Easy pr0n, somebody should calculate how much disk space is required given mpeg2 compression to ensure that someone would have the equivalent of 60+ years of pr0n, that is how big hard disks will get.

Re:Steady March of Progress (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21018235)

60 years isn't enough. I seek through most of my porn looking for the kinks I like. I probably only watch 2 minutes of porn in a 30 minute video.

Re:Steady March of Progress (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21016815)

Systems with feedback (technology helps you make more and better technology) often go exponential until they ram into some kind of saturation limit. (Put bacteria in a dish with a food provided at a fixed rate, and the population will grow exponentially until it hits the resource limit and flatten out.) Some technologies have already passed their exponential stage and flattened out, whereas we've been fortunate with computer technology. Atomic scales pretty much set the limit there, and we're getting close, but haven't yet reached, that scale.

Re:Steady March of Progress (2, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | more than 6 years ago | (#21016831)

Yeah! And why haven't they cured cancer yet? And why does it still cost $9 for a small soda at the movie theater? Lazy-ass researchers.

The reason that fuel efficiency and internet bandwidth haven't "increased" as much as hard drive space is because they are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PROBLEMS with COMPLETELY DIFFERENT solutions.

Re:Steady March of Progress (1)

Kazrath (822492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21016937)

I think the question was not literal but more of a general "Why has humanity advanced so far in different aspects but have fallen short on others". We are all aware they are different issues, however it would be nice if other aspects of computing such as bandwidth kept up with hard-drive growth.

When DSL/Cable started becoming wide-spread the bandwidth was tremendous and we could fill up our massive 10/20 GB HDD in an evening and was always hurting for storage. To compensate I would rip stuff off to cd's for archival. Now I have around 2 TB of storage and use maybe 1/4 of it. It would be nice if we could fill up a TB or two in an evening.

Re:Steady March of Progress (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#21019941)

I think the question was not literal but more of a general "Why has humanity advanced so far in different aspects but have fallen short on others". We are all aware they are different issues, however it would be nice if other aspects of computing such as bandwidth kept up with hard-drive growth.

Issues can be broken up into three categories: technical, economical, and political.

How problems are solved, and how quickly they can be solved, depends greatly on which category said problem is in.

Re:Steady March of Progress (1)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 6 years ago | (#21016875)

Fuel efficiency: We have made strides forward, but American consumers seem to prefer using the added efficiency to improve acceleration rather than gas mileage. (For example, I've heard that even a 2007 Civic has significantly better acceleration and handling than the powerful muscle cars from the 50s.)

Internet bandwidth: Huh? Ten years ago, almost everyone outside of a university was on dialup, if they had internet access at all; now, over 90% of residences have access to some kind of broadband. Sounds like a big stride forward to me...

Disclaimer: all statistics noted in this thread are things I vaguely recall hearing at some point or possibly imagined entirely.

Re:Steady March of Progress (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017247)

Here's my stab at it, though I'm not really an expert:
  • fuel efficiency: Not knowing too much about it, I would assume that part of the problem is actual energy requirements. In order to move an object from point A to point B, you're going to need a certain amount of energy no matter what. So, if there's X amount of energy in 1 gallon of gasoline, and it takes X amount of energy to move a car Y miles, than 1 gallon of gasoline will never move a car more than Y miles. So right now, we're getting (Y-Z) miles per gallon with our cars, and the real questions are, how small is Z right now, and how small can we realistically make Z. Of course, some of Z is just energy used by changing velocity (cars don't move in a straight line at a constant rate), and other unavoidable things. It probably isn't as easy as it sounds. The only way to make Y higher is to make our cars lighter, and otherwise you'd never get more than Y miles per gallon.
  • internet bandwidth: Notice the problem isn't "network bandwidth", which in most businesses is up to 1Gbps and in some cases 10Gbps. The problem is not that we're unable to build faster networks technologically, but that we aren't willing to invest in developing the correct infrastructure. It's a money problem, not a technology problem.

Re:Steady March of Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21017523)

Basic physics states that there is no theoretical minimum energy to move a car between two points at the same altitude. The reason it takes energy to get from point A to point B on level ground is because of friction and drivetrain losses, neither of which has any lower bound. There's nothing that says it's theoretically impossible for a car to drive across the country on a gallon of gas.

Re:Steady March of Progress (1)

BootNinja (743040) | more than 6 years ago | (#21018377)

You are also not taking into account that current internal combustion engines operate at about 25-50 percent efficiency when converting the stored energy in gasoline into kinetic energy in the pistons. This is where the limited gains in mpg have come from in the last 50 years. They have improved the conversion efficiency. Who's to say that they couldn't improve it more?

Re:Steady March of Progress (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21019155)

Well, my attempt to answer fails to do a very good job of taking many things into account, but I'm specifically talking about the engine inefficiency. In a nutshell, I was saying that you can make cars lighter and more aerodynamic and things like that, but that you're really talking about engine efficiency when you're talking about the value "Z". And although 50% could probably be improved on, it's probably not simple. It's not like engineers can just say, "Oh, right, I should just make my engine 100% efficient!" They've probably thought of that, but you're never going to get 100% efficiency, and even getting close would be quite a feat of engineering.

Re:Steady March of Progress (1)

cnettel (836611) | more than 6 years ago | (#21018445)

In order to move an object from point A to point B, both placed on equal height, you need no energy at all (or, well, you need to borrow some, but you can pay most of it back when you're done). Evacuated tunnels are maybe not a realistic option, but this shows that aerodynamics and surface contact is everything. And then we haven't even started discussing the actual engine.

Re:Steady March of Progress (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21019099)

Well, yeah, sort of. My answer isn't exactly perfect, but there's something to it. Energy=work. Work can't be done without some sort of energy being done. Therefore, an object cannot be moved from point A to point B without expending energy.

So, yeah, I guess theoretically the amount of energy needed to move an object depends on how massive it is and how fast you want to move it. Which means, in that sense, the distance doesn't matter. Right? But it takes energy to move it there at 50 MPH.

But then, realistically, you have to deal with some level of friction and inefficiencies of the engine, stopping and starting again, turning, going up and down hills, wind, and all sorts of other crap. So all that is the reason why distance matters.

Re:Steady March of Progress (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017257)

Why haven't we seen similar improvements in fuel efficiency

With regard to vehicle fuel efficiency there are other considerations in a practical everyday vehicle other than fuel efficiency. It has long been known for example that some very complex concept cars, when maintained meticulously by teams of engineers and employing technologies which are either extremely expensive, high maintenance, or impractical or all of the above, have achieved very high fuel efficiencies on the order of 70+ miles per gallon. However, this technology is not reliable enough to be used in consumer vehicles where reliability, even at the expense of some fuel efficiency, is of top importance. Would you rather have a car that achieved 70+ miles per gallon, but broke down frequently if it was not meticulously maintained with frequent and cumbersome procedures and precisely calibrated OR would you be willing to trade some of that mileage for a vehicle which broke down only rarely and was highly reliable? The choice for most people is pretty clear. If you are asking, "Can we do better here in America" then the answer is probably yes, provided that you are willing to trade off some other features, namely performance, safety, and reliability. Many Americans, for a variety of reasons, are not willing to make those trade offs so the market produces what the consumers are willing to buy, not necessarily what the government or the environmentalists say that they should want.

Re:Steady March of Progress (1)

Bane1998 (894327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21018159)

I'd argue internet bandwidth is ahead of storage technology. I can easily fill up my local storage downloading things. I'll hit my storage cap before I wish I had more bandwidth. Not saying we couldn't use more bandwidth, everyone wants a faster fatter internet. Just saying that storage should be well ahead of what we can easily fill up by now.

Re:Steady March of Progress (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 6 years ago | (#21019533)

"Why haven't we seen similar improvements in fuel efficiency or internet bandwidth (in the US at least)?"

Money and special interests.

And of course this means.... (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 6 years ago | (#21016739)

that video cards will get better, games will get much larger, and of course - we'll all be fighting over which format the game will be on and complain if its blue-ray and we have HD-DVD, and vise versa.

Re:And of course this means.... (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017833)

No. HD-DVD/Blueray will likely be the last generation of physical media.

Oh, there'll be media offcourse, you need to store stuff -somewhere-, but bundling the data, which is what you pay for, and the storage-medium is no longer interesting, makes about as much sense as selling water, and insist it only be stored in YELLOW bottles, not BLUE ones damnit.

Music, Movies, Software, these are all just data. Where I want to -store- my data is up to me, I will choose based on price/performance/convenience, but my choice is my choice, the people making movies, music, software shouldn't concern themselves with that.

It'll take a -little- bit more time, but not all that much. Music and software first, movies last, since they're largest and the infrastructure needed is most rare as of yet.

HD-DVD vs. BlueRay ? Pfff ! (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21018405)

we'll all be fighting over which format the game will be on and complain if its blue-ray and we have HD-DVD, and vise versa.


Complain ?
Why complain ?
By then, most users and all /. will have no-name korean multi-format burner that will handle both HDDVD and BlueRay.

HDDVD and BlueRay is no real format war and has nothing to do with the old VHS vs. BetaMax stuff. It's closer to the DVD "plus" vs. "minus", because with disc, multi-format are easily doable.

And are actually already done, several companies have anounced multi format readers and burners.

Don't panic. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21016793)

Windows Future XP Gee Whiz Penultimate Enterprise Edition®© will have no problem filling those drives.

Re:Don't panic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21017161)

vista. it's called vista.

When is it going to stop? (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 6 years ago | (#21016801)

When are they going to stop to push down their latest technology innovations down the consumer's throat? Most households don't need a frigging TB of HDD space.

They should direct their sales to the server and business market.

Re:When is it going to stop? (2, Funny)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#21016897)

In other words: "1TB ought to be enough for anybody"

We know how that ended ;)

Re:When is it going to stop? (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017087)

The average household's needs don't change that much. Can you honestly say they fill even a 160 GB HDD? Most households just browse the Internet, occasionally saving some file.

Look at how we always get better compression to store the same movies in the same space with better quality. Needed storage doesn't grow that much.

The 640k quote is about something entirely different.

Re:When is it going to stop? (1)

mosch (204) | more than 6 years ago | (#21018597)

The average household's needs don't change that much. Can you honestly say they fill even a 160 GB HDD?

Lots of average households fill more than that with nothing more than an HD DVR, without even getting into movies, home videos, photos or music.

Re:When is it going to stop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21019949)

The average household's needs don't change that much. Can you honestly say they fill even a 160 GB HDD?

Lots of average households fill more than that with nothing more than an HD DVR, without even getting into movies, home videos, photos or music.
Actually very few average houses have an HD DVR.

Re:When is it going to stop? (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21016915)

Your not thinking like a marketer! Most households also don't not need a frigging TB of HDD space. We're providing a value-add edge over competitive products while maintaining sales figures consistent with current products for a win-win solution to all parties! We're selling the new models at the price of the old model while the old model gets cheap/fades away and the customer gets extra space.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go erode some pillars with my head (gets that awful marketing after-thought out of my head.)

Re:When is it going to stop? (1)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017069)

Well 'm not sure why you're concerned. A 500G hard drive now costs far less than a 100G hard drive was 2 years ago, and probably less than the 40G hard drive you're happy with. They make them larger for that price because it wouldn't be fiscally possible for them to sell a new 40G drive for the $8 it would now need to be priced at ($100/500G)

Re:When is it going to stop? (2, Insightful)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017469)

It just seems stupid to me to buy a HDD larger than you need. They should focus more on performance and reliability instead of size.

By the way, my non-development PC that I use most has a 6.2 GB HDD, which is currently barely 1.5 GB full.

Re:When is it going to stop? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#21018307)

Reliability and performance? Build the disk with three platters, each with independent head control on both sides. RAID in a box. You'd get the performance advantages of RAID without the inherent disadvantage of having n times as many spindles to develop bearing problems. I'd certainly buy a terabyte disk with built-in RAID 5+1. That would rock.

Re:When is it going to stop? (1)

Adradis (1160201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21019433)

Then, when one drive kicks the bucket, now what? You've now got an irreplaceable FAILED drive within a RAID array. Sounds good, no?

Re:When is it going to stop? (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017733)

"Most households don't need a frigging TB of HDD space."

Just like how 640K of ram was "enough for everybody"... hmmm. Just like how supereme commander doesn't need 64-bit memory addressing... either way, the thing is we'll find ways to use it and the consumer is not the only customer of hard drive technology don't forget. The medical and scientific community need enormous amounts of storage for the volume of data that is being generated for research purposes.

I'm already filling up over 2 terabytes of hard disk space, so speak for yourself. I can store many more high resolution photos without having to burn them to disk. My photos that come off my camera are between 3MB each, and I take doubles or more of everything to make sure I have more then enough to choose from in case something didn't come out right.

Re:When is it going to stop? (1)

frieko (855745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017997)

Coming up with an improved product and then marketing it? Oh noes!! Seriously though, better high end products lead to better or cheaper low end products. Those that don't need a "frigging TB" can pick up a 64 meg flash drive is $4. That should do the trick.

2-Way Wrist HD (3, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21016829)

this 10-terabits-per-square-inch goal, which would enable a 40-terabyte hard drive.'

It could also enable a 750-gigabyte 1" radius HD, if they're really clever. Which could serve the Bluetooth wristphone/player we've all been waiting for. So we can stop referring to that mobile multimedia terminal as a "phone", and again more accurately as a "watch".

Re:2-Way Wrist HD (1)

thewiz (24994) | more than 6 years ago | (#21016885)

It's sad to think we're going to need drives this size just to install Ubuntu in 2011.

And you thought I was going to say Windows!

Re:2-Way Wrist HD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21016993)

The comment is stupid no matter which OS you slot in there.

Re:2-Way Wrist HD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21017173)

There's a far more important reason for building everything into a watch. I just want to be able to run down the road shouting "I need you buddy" into my watch like Michael Knight used to do. Jack Bauer and his omnipresent smartphone are so passé these days.

Seems like things are slowing down (1)

Rhett (141440) | more than 6 years ago | (#21016877)

4 TB by 2011 means doubling every 2 years. Isn't that a bit slower than the past few years?

For the average person (2, Insightful)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 6 years ago | (#21016931)

The biggest part of our hard disks are spent on movies, music and games.

Most of these are on thousands of computers.

Wouldn't a good sharing/streaming protocol/project be the solution for storage for the average person?

Re:For the average person (2, Insightful)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017003)

For now and probably for quite a while disk space is cheaper then bandwidth.

Re:For the average person (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017335)

Of course, the problem with that is the idea of "copyright". If we were most concerned with conservation of resources, reliability of backups, and easy distribution, we probably would have made a huge shared filesystem using methods similar to bittorrent, and all movies/music would be stored online and made readily available to anyone with an internet connection. Storing this stuff on your local hard drive would be only necessary for the purpose of caching it so you could listen offline.

Still, big hard drives would be useful for businesses. Also, high storage density would be useful for getting decent amounts of data on small things. So in no case would these developments fail to be helpful.

I have an idea.. (1)

EvenClevererNickName (1172663) | more than 6 years ago | (#21016969)

How about devoting some of that space to more built-in redundancy - as an option, more bits devoted as failsafe backup, so when the damn things fail we have a better chance of getting the data back, rather than just a terabyte-pissing competition..

Apart from using RAID, which isnt useful for laptops anyway..

Otherwise, good work, but where is my flying car?

Re:I have an idea.. (1)

Tacobowl8 (1175465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017047)

One definite backup I would like to see is duplicating the boot sectors... I've had it happen several times where the boot sectors got corrupted (or something) and had to reinstall.

Re:I have an idea.. (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017623)

That won't help. Most hard drives fail catastrophically when they fail. If you have just a few sectors going bad, SMART will tell you before you actually try to read the data if you have background scanning turned on.

40-terabyte hard drive (3, Funny)

Nonillion (266505) | more than 6 years ago | (#21016999)

Yeah, in 10 years well be bitching because we wont have enough space for a decent Windows xx or Linux xx install. I must be getting old, because I remember asking how on earth could you fill a 40 Megabyte hard drive.

Re:40-terabyte hard drive (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#21018391)

It was always easy if you were into audio recording. Digital video has, of course, compounded this a lot, but I've wished I could increase the size of my storage for about as long as I can remember. Even for plain old text, 40 megabytes isn't a lot. Are you telling me you didn't have more than 50 3.5" floppies?

Re:40-terabyte hard drive (1)

matt21811 (830841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21019759)

40 Meg drive had a huge 10 year life span from about 1984 to 1994.
So 13 to 23 years ago.

Given that many Slashdoters had their first computer at 10 years old, its entirely posible for you to be only 23 which for many people isnt old at all.

If you ever want to put a date on a hard drive you can use my page here:
http://www.mattscomputertrends.com/harddiskdata.html [mattscomputertrends.com]

Re:40-terabyte hard drive (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#21019981)

I'm 24, and I remember running Windows 3.0 on my CompuAdd 386 back in the day. Kids these days don't appreciate how far Windows has come (and technology in general) ;)

G3t 0ff my l4wn

Filesystem Checking (2, Funny)

rhoder (690061) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017065)

this filesystem has been mounted 32 time, checking filesystem.
634 Hours Remaining.

Re:Filesystem Checking (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017107)

There are plenty filesystems that don't do that, which are included with any kernel released in the last few years.

Re:Filesystem Checking (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017745)

I'm not sure I understand.

As I know, you want the ability to check your file system in case of a dirty shutdown. For example, if you still have data in RAM pending write-backs to the drive and have a power failure; it would be a good idea to check the partition for data corruption. Luckily most modern file systems are "journaling" which helps prevent against corruption. Either the data has been committed, or it hasn't.

Re:Filesystem Checking (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 6 years ago | (#21018153)

Luckily most modern file systems are "journaling" which helps prevent against corruption. Either the data has been committed, or it hasn't.


My point exactly. Any kernel made in the last few years supports a journalling filesystem which recovers in seconds from a dirty shutdown. It probably even recovers faster on larger disks as the journal is usually of a fixed size, and bigger disks are usually faster than smaller ones.

The grandparent is talking about what would happen if you used ext2 for a drive with a size in the terabytes range. But no current distribution I know uses ext2 by default, so this isn't really a problem.

Re:Filesystem Checking (1)

emjoi_gently (812227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21019245)

But it does bring up a serious issue.
The capacity is growing hugely, but the data transfer speeds aren't really speeding up all that much.

It's like a giant dam of water with a tiny backyard tap attached at the bottom.
It makes copying and checking quite time consuming.

I would like focus on quality (1)

Kojiro Ganryu Sasaki (895364) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017109)

And not quantity. Basically something that has a bit more longevity and preferably less moving parts. Or in case the moving parts break, you could just replace them while keeping the "pieces" that store the actual data.

I want quantity (1)

tknd (979052) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017657)

The hope in increasing storage capacity is that at some point you'll hit a magic number that will basically mean "unlimited" for your needs. One example is documents. It used to be in the old days you could easily fill up a floppy disk with documents so you started fiddling around with multiple floppies to store your crap. The same was true to some extent for CDs. Once people started burning CDs. Suddenly you had collections of CDs filled with audio and data because each disk simply did not have enough capacity for all your crap. Now we're to ipods and portable external hard disks, which people are still filling, but much slower than the old removable media.

So assume for a second that the growth rate of customer's data is much slower than that of the growth rate of purchasable storage mediums. If that is true, at some point you will be able to buy a virtually unlimited storage medium for your needs. Purchase multiple storage mediums and now you can store all of your data with redundancy. To a degree, this is possible. With compression technology, we've actually been able to "shrink" data while providing similar quality.

The other problem you have to consider is how fast technology gets out dated. It is currently getting harder and harder to find a computer that can read floppy disks as well as people that still own working VCRs. That means that all data left behind on floppies and VCR tapes will at some point be unreadable and lost forever. So if you have a technology that is highly reliable, at some point, the interfaces to use that technology will be deprecated. So while the floppy or VCR may still work, perhaps computers and TVs will stop shipping with the legacy connections to save on cost. So you will find that if you want to keep reading your data, you will have to keep transferring it to new storage mediums. Once that happens, the old storage medium is basically useless. So whether it works or not for a really long time starts to become more of a novelty than a necessity.

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21017149)

Something isn't right here...

Where are the p0rn jokes?

How do you back it up? (2, Interesting)

HonkyLips (654494) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017223)

I work in animation & video production and a single project can take up a terabyte... I'm all for storage increases but I have no idea how to back it all up... It's all very well for the Blu-Ray and HD-DVD club to go on about storing 30/50 gig on a disc but when your drive holds 4 terabytes (and you just know it will fill up quickly) the backup problems just get bigger too...

Re:How do you back it up? (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017449)

Backing up is essentially straightforward....use more hard drives.

The real problem is that the transfer rate is not keeping up with the capacity increases, so the amount of time it takes to fully duplicate a drive keeps going up. Maybe it's time for multiple heads per platter, kind of like the 72X CDROM drive from a while back.

Re:How do you back it up? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017533)

mirror.

High performance tape library.

Keep peoples works local and on a central server.

There are solutions. I get 550 an hour to consult, let me know if you need any work done.

Why Not Even Bigger? (3, Interesting)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017383)

If you can get a TB on 1 inch drive, why not build a drive with the same density that's LOTS bigger? I imagine warping might be a problem, but I remember 10" winchester drives!

A 2.4cm drive has an area (just for this thought experiment) of (1.2 x 1.2)pi, or roughly,4.52 sq cm. now, a 10 inch drive (24cm) has an area of 45.2 sq cm.

So, that would make it a 45 TB drive. Data retrieval might be kind of slow, but: if you have massive RAM caching, it could be of great use. Imagine a home theatre with something like this.

Imagine buying a drive like this that comes pre-installed with every song ever produced by WEA or EMI or Sony/Columbia. Say, everything from 1925 onward. How much would you pay for such a drive?

Or, ALL the movies ever made by (name your favourite) movie studio between (date x) and (date y).

I'd pay some serious green for that. All the classic movies. All the great songs of history.

That's what we're facing, very very soon: the trivialisation of media technology.

And eventually, that 25cm drive holding 45TB becomes a 2 inch drive holding 90TB.

We should be able to predict the arrival of the $500 2 inch exabyte drive.

The entire collection of world culture, audio in mp3, film in mp4, and images in jpg. Japanese, chinese, American, canadian, English, French, Italian, Russian, etc etc etc. on one or maybe two drives, or even one for audio, one for video, and one for images.

what then? with all of audio and visual culture at your fingertips, what will we do with it? what will a society in the future (assuming it doesn't implode with the loss of petroleum, or vapourise itself fighting over it) DO with that much data commonly available. to anyone?

Will it be possible to write a new melody? Will it be possible to tell a new story? Will it be possible to make an image that matters? Some would argue that imaging is dead - eaten alive by advertising. some would argue that film is dead as all the stories are told, and now we're in a grid of "1 from column A, two from column B" kind of mix and match story telling. And some say that even music itself has run its course - washed up on the blandishments of pop, the inaccessibility of the academy, and the dumbed-down rumbling of a sold before it was born hiphop, and an inchoate melange of world music that mimics and fights the imperial culture.

When it's ALL on your drive, who cares? will culture just gradually wither away?

Maybe we will do better when the oil runs out, and the machines stop working. We'll have to sing to each other, and tell stories to each other by the fire, instead of the sitting around having the fire tell stories to us.

RS

Re:Why Not Even Bigger? (2, Informative)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017547)

A 2.4cm drive has an area (just for this thought experiment) of (1.2 x 1.2)pi, or roughly,4.52 sq cm. now, a 10 inch drive (24cm) has an area of 45.2 sq cm.


Math error. 452 cm^2. Remember, you're squaring that 10.

Re:Why Not Even Bigger? (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#21019809)

dig. thanks. But that makes the point even bigger - then it's nearly half a petabyte...

That's a lot of storage...

HW

Re:Why Not Even Bigger? (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017989)

Yeah, true, pretty soon you'll be able to store all human culture on your wristwatch. Well, except for whatever is made in the last decade, because offcourse the bandwith of media will keep going up with storage. (a Blueray disk takes more space than a DVD. Whatever we have in 20 years for movies will take more space than blueray does)

Re:Why Not Even Bigger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21018855)

>> Imagine buying a drive like this that comes pre-installed with every song ever produced by WEA or EMI or Sony/Columbia. Say, everything from 1925 onward. How much would you pay for such a drive?

Maybe $225,000... but only if I got caught :)

Re:Why Not Even Bigger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21019959)

I think that there will be a ideological battle over content on demand from the internet and massive storage. I'd rather have a 1 TB computer that accesses a online database of every movie ever made (www.tv-links.co.uk) than have to administer a 1 PB drive.

How about transfer speeds? (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017485)

The real problem that I see is that drive bandwidth has not been increasing at the same rate as drive capacity, which means that the time to read/write an entire disk keeps going up.

Maybe it's time that manufacturers start using multiple heads per platter to cut down on seek times and increase bandwidth. I'm sure there are people that would pay for double the bandwidth...why hasn't anyone done this yet?

Re:How about transfer speeds? (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017845)

Transfer rate is limited by the bandwidth of the electronics (preamps and channel.) After all, you have to pick up microvolts, amplify them to usable amplitudes with low noise, and then do A/D sampling and some fairly complex filtering on them. Today's drives transfer at around a Gb/s; that is not going to increase much. Nobody will want to pay for or cool GaAs read channels. And there's no reason to expect that seek times can be reduced much. Latency could be reduced further in exchange for higher power consumption and lower density.

More than one head is a non-starter. Has been tried and the cost/benefit ratio is awful.
Run two drives in RAID 0 if you need higher throughput.

I'm not thinking what you're thinking. (1)

Dr. Shim (576902) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017517)

Forty terabytes? Oh wow, I cannot wait for the terrible piece of software that'll consume two terabytes just to function properly. More space and speed equates to sloppier software.

super capacity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21017717)

an ode to the rise and future of super hard drive capacity

Actually, we've already achieved "super hard drive capacity".

If you took one of today's 1TB hard disks back in time to 1985, it would certainly have been called "super capacity".

In fact, almost every new hard drive is "super capacity" if you just take it back in time 10 years.

The term "super capacity" is thoroughly meaningless. What does it mean? 10TB? 1PB? 1EB? 1ZB? 1YB?

Yeah, but... (3, Insightful)

unitron (5733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017847)

That's great and all, but will we still be limited to 4 primary partitions?

Re:Yeah, but... (1)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 6 years ago | (#21019703)

I'd hope we're going to see BIOS support for GPT [wikipedia.org] partitions before too long. One more doubling and we're right flat against the limit on MBR partition sizes, so.. what, a year to go?

Usually slow after a Nobel Prize (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21018911)

Progress will probably be slow. Einstein got a Nobel prize in 1905 for helping to invent the Laser Printer and it took them ages to turn that into a commercial product.

Danger! (3, Funny)

RowanS (1049078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21019103)

Giant magnetoresistance got its day in the sun when it won the Nobel Prize in physics last week--and when Hitachi rode that spotlight by announcing they'd have a 4-terabyte desktop hard drive by 2011.
Oh my god! Four terabytes of sentences like that would contain over 6 x 10^10 mixed metaphors. Crammed into a single 3.5" drive bay the figurative density would be so great that the drive would collapse into a metaphorical black hole, sucking in all nearby figures of speech, similes and allusions. Somebody stop them!

How much would it cost? (1)

crf00 (1048098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21019473)

500GB is sold at $170, 1TB is sold at $350, will 2TB sold at $700 and 4TB sold at $1400? The capacity has increased, but the price hasn't drop much over the years. Harddisk price is making me bankrupt.
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