Thursday, 9 February 2012

Reloading the Winchester, and targeting the toes...

An article in ITProPortal today talks of a new heat-based recording method that could potentially allow hard disk write speeds in the terabytes per second range.

Here's what I wrote in reply:

Sorry, but I really couldn't care less. Any form of storage with moving parts is inherently power-hungry, and fragile in many different ways. We as an industry should be concentrating on solid-state persistent storage, specifically its price, density, reliability and speed, instead of maintaining the life support of a 1950s technology most of whose inventors will themselves now be pushing up daisies.

And I really mean it, too. Back in the late 80s, I was railing against moving-parts storage. It was slow, prone to errors and malfunctions, and one sharp tap whilst a disk was spinning would send the heads ploughing a trench across your company's vital data. So how did we do backups? Magnetic tape, whether massive reels of 1" tape, or little cartridge drives in your PC. More moving parts, and even more fragile media - fancy your chances of restoring from an 80s backup, even if you could find a working drive? I don't! Or perhaps floppy disks - worse even than tape!

Absolutely every moving-parts storage mechanism has had its failings - and its day - whether it be magnetic, optical, or even the good old-fashioned needle-and-groove vinyl record. We have the potential now for high-performance computing devices with not one moving part within, not even a CPU fan. For pity's sake, let's move forward without dragging the past on a long rope yoked to our shoulders.

1 comment:

  1. From yesterday's BBC News:

    BBC News - MPs warn over nuclear space bombs and solar flares