HDD articles & news from the home page of SSDs...SSD news
cost of SSDs
hybrid storage drives
hybrid storage systems
after all flash
arrays - what's the next box?
History of Enterprise Disk
to Disk Backup
20K RPM? -
how SSDs stopped hard drives spinning faster
Data Storage - 1940's to 1990's by an IBM alumni (pdf)
How will the hard
drive market fare... in a solid state storage world?
an SSD view of
past, present and future boom bust cycles in the memory market
HDD not done and dusted yet|
|Editor:- March 22, 2016 - Infinidat was
founded in 2011
and markets petabyte storage appliances for the enterprise. So you might be
surprised that their storage boxes still include 50 to 1 ratios of HDD to SSD
Evidently they still see value and a future for hard
I asked them to explain their thinking on the HDD SSD issue and
the predicted demise of HDD in enterprise storage.
to the SSD
Bookmarks Series Infinidat cited Google as an authority re the customer
value of storage media.
This set of reading matter includes links to
some future classic articles - including Google's proposals for new form
factors and designs of HDDs which are more array-friendly denizens of cloud
infrastructure than traditional drives. ...read the
|revisiting an old new hard
|Editor:- August 20, 2014 - From time to time I
get an email from a new (to me) company which really grabs my attention.
Here's one such which arrived this morning.|
"We now have the WORM
hard disk you refer to in your article in StorageSearch.com (Introducing WORM Hard Disk
Drives - February 28, 2005).
"It was developed for the Department of Justice, and is now in
use, by GreenTec-USA, Inc. in conjunction with Seagate. Can we send you some
information? Would love to hear from you!" - Bob Waligunda,
VP of Sales at GreenTec-USA.
comments:- I haven't spoken to Bob yet - because of the time difference. But
here's some info I got from GreenTec's web site:-
The interesting thing for me is it shows that
innovation in the hard
drive market hasn't stopped completely. And GreenTec's 3TB (for now) WORM
drives are also available as arrays in micro cloud blocks.
WORM whitepaper (pdf) - "Organizations today have demanding needs to
ensure that their sensitive data is protected. Considerable damage could be done
if critical or sensitive files are deleted or altered either accidentally or
I had almost
forgotten about my 9 year old WORM HDD (market needs this) article. I'll update
it later with this note.
Linking this back to SSDs - there have been
several companies in recent quarters who have announced physical write-disable
switches into embedded SSDs - including:-
also:- SSD security,
| If you can't beat them -
Seagate acquires LSI's SSD business.
|SSD news - May 29,
| Although areal density
growth in HDDs is expected to slow down in the period 2014 to 2017 - another
possible way to increase drive capacity (within similar form factor
constraints) may be to use helium sealed drives - such as the
family from HGST - which cuts down the disturbances caused by adjacent
heads - in comparison to air - and therefore enables more heads and disks to
operate reliably within the same volumetric space constraints. |
- taking heads to new heights (pdf) - November 2013|
|"On average, SSDs show
2.5x higher cost-per-performance, a gap far narrower than the 50x difference in
Truth About MapReduce Performance on SSDs - which compared SSDs and HDDs
having similar throughput capabilities (and interfaces) in large scale disk
arrays - when used in cloud related operations. (March 2014)|
also:- inside SSD
|hdd / hard disk drive news (EOL)|
|average Seagate hard drive
capacity will exceed terabyte|
Editor:- January 28, 2014 - Seagate said in its
earnings conference call
it expects the average capacity of the
hard drives it ships in
2014 will exceed 1TB per drive (up a little from
/ drive already in the recent quarter.)
what changed in SSD year 2013?
Editor:- December 18,
2013 - unlike the hard drive market where the basic ideas haven't changed much
in recent decades - the important ideas in the SSD market seem to change nearly
To avoid making bad decisions you not only have to learn
new SSD ideas each year - but you also need to identify which old SSD ideas to
forget because they're no longer helpful.
Reviewing what those
ideas are - (which to assimilate and which to forget) is the theme of my
home page blog.
new ORG founded to ensure future of rotating magnetic storage
August 13, 2013 - Today a new storage org was
to conserve and nurture the interests of rotating magnetic hard drives and
hybrids. Founder members of the
Association are HGST,
other things - the
SPA's faqs page
says "the SPA will seek to clarify how hard drive technology, solid-state
technology and variations of these technologies may be combined to effectively
meet the needs of a growing storage requirement."
How will hard
drives fare in an SSD world?,
directory of past storage ORGs
Stec to be acquired by WD
Editor:- June 24, 2013 -
it has agreed to buy Stec
for approximately $340 million. Stec will be acquired by WD's subsidiary HGST.
iSuppli predicts 239 million SSDs shipped in 2016
January 23, 2013 - iSuppli
that worldwide SSD shipments this year will rise to 83 million units this year,
up from 39 million in 2012.
iSuppli also said it anticipates that in
2016 - SSD shipment volume could be 239 million units - equivalent to 40% the
size of the hard drive
How will the hard drive market be impacted in a solid state
Editor:- November 14, 2012 - in the past 7 years
the topic of
how the SSD
market will affect the HDD market has changed in character.
longer true that both markets can continue growing side by side in edgy harmony
with some localized border skirmishes and minor exchanges of territory.
Investors in hard drive storage companies have been contacting me throughout the
past year - because they're starting to worry about
what will happen
to hard drives in a solid state storage world?
HGST - a WD company
Editor:- March 8, 2012 - after
waiting a year for regulatory clearances etc - WD has
its acquisition of HGST
- which will retain its brand identity and operate as a wholly subsidiary.
satisfy the regulators - a part of HGST's business (which makes 3.5" HDDs)
will be sold to Toshiba.
HDD warranties to be cut
Editor:- December 20, 2011
- The warranties offered on many new
hard drives will be
reduced next year - according to an article in
In a duopolistic market there's no need to make claims which are any
better than they need to be. The regulators should have seen this coming.
the true cost of hard drive vulnerabilities
August 23, 2011 - the problems caused by
sand blowing into hard drives in
the context of a desert war - is the subject of a recent blog by Mark Flournoy,
VP of Government & Defense at STEC.
other things this article shows the consequences of data storage failures. It's
the best blog I've seen so far on STEC's previously anemic SSD blog site.
...read the article - I wish I had an
SSD in Iraq. See also:-
fast purge SSDs
Pushing data reliability up hard drive hill
July 4, 2011 - Why didn't
hard drives get more
Enterprise users are still replacing hard drives according to cycles that have
haven't changed much since RAID
became common in the 1990s. So why didn't HDD makers do something to make their
Error correction code inventor Phil White -
founder of ECC
Technologies has recently published a
/ blog in which he describes the 25 years of rejections he's had from
leading HDD makers - and the reaons they said they didn't want to use his
patented algorithm - which he says could increase data integrity and the life
of hard drives (and maybe SSDs too.) It makes interesting reading for any other
wannabe inventors out there too. ...read
Phil White's article
But I think another reason for past
rejections might simply have been market economics.
versus the cost of HDDs has improved so much throughout that period - and at
the same time data capacity needs have grown - maybe the user value proposition
didn't make sense.
If you (RAID user) find that all your 5 year old
drives are still working (instead of being replaced) - how much is that really
worth? By now those 5 year old drives might only represent 3% to
10% of the new storage capacity you need anyway. (The reliability
value proposition is different outside service engineer frequented zone - but I
don't want to get side-tracked into
Looking ahead at the future of the HDD market my own
view is that whatever the industry does with respect to reliability won't tip
the balance against
in the enterprise.
The best bet for the future of hard drive
makers is in consumer products where fashion ranks higher up the reason to
buy list than longevity. Most people I know replace their notebook pcs, tvs
and phones not because the old ones have stopped working - but because the new
ones have lifestyle features which make them more desirable.
|Editor's comments:- in
my 2010 article - this
way to the Petabyte SSD - I explained that one of my assumptions was that
designers would start to put dedupe, compression and library management
features inside SSDs. Although Lortu's product is aimed at the
HDD market - it's one
step along the way to a new class of bulk storage devices.|
page on StorageSearch.com
includes archived news pages from 20 plus years of publishing. But if you're
only interested in the hard drive story rather than seeing news about all the
different major storage technologies mixed up together - you can see more
details of filtered hard drive market history in these archived pages - which
captured past editions of the HDD page you're now seeing.
These resources go back to 1999. For the
samples 10,500 RPM SAS hard drives|
|Editor:- December 19, 2017 - I thought this was a
joke at first. But it's for real. Toshiba today
it is sampling the AL15SE - a 2.5" SAS HDD with 10,500 RPM spin
This is the first time there has been a new
speed since the 1990s although it falls between the previous two fastest
Now I guess that rotating
experts can start worrying about whether the new frequency drives will create
subtle reliability reducing resonances if they are mixed in the cabinet with
Seriously though - the combination of 12Gbs SAS in
the new hard drives and the almost imperceptible improvement in latency (hard to
notice when it's so slow compare to SSDs) shows that the storage industry which
has been desperately seeking more SSDs than it could get or afford in 2017 has
become receptive to any new nuanced device which can store data in an array
better than what came before.
shipped HDD capacity averages 1.7TB|
|Editor:- October 11, 2016 -
the average capacity of hard
drives shipped by Seagate
in the quarter ended September 30, 2016 was 1.7TB according to a preliminary
from the company today.|
|HDD failure rates analyzed
|Editor:- May 27, 2015 - The reliability of
hard drives in a
cloud related business
(online backup) is revealed in a new report -
Reliability Stats by Backblaze
which includes results for over 42,000 drives analyzed across 21 drive
The failure distribution in the recent quarter is model
and age specific rather than manufacturer specific - which is to say that you
can't say that Seagate is always better or worse than Western Digital. The table
also gives you insights into drive improvements for this type of application.
Failure rates in the quarter were:-
The data seems to fit in with the
bath tub curve model - with high infant mortality, high failures at the end and
best reliability in the in between periods. ...read the article
- upto 1 year old- worst model - 13%
- 2-3 years - worst model - 27%
- 3 - 4 years -worst model - 3%
- 5 years - -worst model - 32%
availability SSD systems
| "There is no amount
of flash that can even address one tenth of one percent of that (projected
storage demand in 2020). People get locked in to this view at a device level.
Yes, you could have some number of units that are serviced by flash. Let's hope
so. In fact, my bigger concern is that the flash guys can't figure out how to
keep delivering the performance and costs that they've been able to as they get
to sub-21 nanometers, than it is that somehow they're going to replace HDDs. Not
without literally $500 billion of investment in fabs they're not. And
even then they'd only be scraping the surface."|
J. Luczo, CEO, Seagate
- April 2012|
CEO Luczo On Drives, Zettabytes, Flash
See later:- How less
flash might be needed than you'd think -
meet Ken and the
enterprise SSD software event horizon
architectures will remain complicated|
with several classes of SSDs
being optimized for
different roles. A key difference, however, will be
the only spinning devices in the storage cabinets will be
editor - StorageSearch.com
in the article -
future of data storage? published in Broadcast Engineering
magazine (January 1, 2011).|
change the way computer products are designed - so that by 2015 nearly all
products will be designed to be SSD-centric - instead of HDD-centric as they
have been for over 50 years."|
|what's the big
picture message re SSDs? - June 2010|
|The long and the short of
it is that every month the fastest SSDs get better - while the fastest hard
drives remain exactly as fast as they already were.|
So the HDD versus
SSD random IOPS gap gets wider. We haven't learned anything new!
|Calling for an
End to Unrealistic SSD vs HDD IOPS Comparisons - May 2008|
|"Thanks for the offer,
we don't want to deploy any new hard drive arrays.
Not even if you're giving them to us free!"
|This classic article described the pivotal
future storage market climate in which enterprise users will cease to regard
hard drive arrays attractive or usable - even if the cost of buying a new hard
drive array drops away to ZERO! -
this way to the
|2.5" HDDs more
recoverable than 3.5"|
|Editor:- Did you know that
2.5" hard drives
are more recoverable than 3.5" drives? - I didn't.|
blog written by David
Foster, General Manager of Memofix revealed this
curious fact and explained why it's not the other way round. You'd expect that
so called "enterprise" 3.5" HDDs would be better.
doesn't matter most of the time because in the enterprise data is protected
against small numbers of hard drive failures by
|What impact will the fast
growing solid state disk market have on the overall hard disk market? - is a
question I've been asked a lot recently. |
Most of the articles
published here on StorageSearch.com are written from the SSD perspective.
Is SSDs' gain really HDs' loss? - In some segments yes. But it's not a zero sum
To begin with, I'd like you to think about the image of a hard disk
as a "tape on a plate". That's not a very flattering image - but it
gives you a clear picture of the roots and limitations of hard disks...
|Hard road ahead
for hard drives? - 2007|
|Nibble - Re:
Hard Disk Drives|
invented disk storage and shipped the first HDD in
a 24" diameter it stored 5M bytes.
Until the late 1990s hard
drives were commonly called "Winchester" drives - named after the city
where the original hard disk designers were based.
Hard disks use
magnetic recording media on one or more spinning disks (also called platters).
That's where the magnet allusion in our
HDD Megabyte image
A read write head moves in a straight line along one half of the
platter similar in concept to (pre CD era) linear audio (vinyl) record
The seek / access time of the disk is determined by the
rotation speed. That can take as long as 1 complete revolution of the disk.
The hard disk capacity depends on how many platters there are, whether data is
on both sides, how big they are (diameter) and the current state of the art
regarding megabytes stored per inch.
The throughput of the disk
depends on the spin speed, recording density and where the head is on the
surface of the disk. On the outer edge the data throughput is higher than on the
inner edge. Drives with multiple heads and platters can deliver more
throughput - but the added mechanical complexity and heat reduces reliability.
90% of the disk drive manufacturers which
in the 1990's have gone bust, or merged , or have been
acquired by other disk
The number of HDD oems shrank to a low point at the turn
of the millenium, and overall HDD market revenue was on a downward slide for
many years. That's because the cost of an average hard drive was reducing at a
faster rate than the growth of drive shipments. Improved technology and
competition was shrinking the value of the industry.
But since about
2004 new high growth markets have emerged for HDDs (both inside and outside
the traditional PC and server markets) which reversed the revenue slide.
The prospects of multi-billion dollar segments with double digit
revenue growth within the hard disk market has attracted new entrants and new
competition from products like solid
state disks and hybrid drives.
In 2008 the worldwide hard disk
market revenue grew to over $35 billion.
In 2008 the
highest capacity shipping drives were:-
- 3.5" - 1.5TB - from Seagate
- 2.5" - 500GB - from various oems
- 1.8" - 250GB - from Toshiba
|Eventually all storage will
be solid state - but not because solid state storage media hits cost parity with
magnetic media. It will happen even if hard disk storage is given away free -
because hard drives won't be able to deliver the application performance or the
densities needed in future systems.
|magneto flash wars -
2005 to 2010||
|Megabyte discovered that
a magnet could come in really handy for a hungry explorer|
|...when new generations of
software, systems and architecture converge in multi-tiered, memory-intensive
infrastructures in which fossilized RW assumptions about rotating storage (being
an important limiting characteristic against which data transfers are timed)
will have been almost entirely expunged from the software stack.|
|Top SSD Companies in Q3
|revisiting animal brands in
|Editor:- July 19, 2016 - a
release today from Seagate
about new hard drives
isn't something I would have mentioned here were it not for its abundance of
animal brands which include:-BarraCuda, IronWolf and SkyHawk.|
me looking at 2 lists which I compiled a long time ago on this theme,
As I've often said
before - all the best animals have been taken. But it's interesting to look at
the 3 in today's news story.
press release today acknowledges that the BarraCuda was a well known brand
which it had used before. But what about the others?
had a wolf before - as a tape
library from StorageTek.
But the new IronWolf brand - as a
marketing construct - cleverly combines several different metaphors
- wolf - as in the animal metaphor
I haven't seen SkyHawk used
for an HDD before - but it was used as the brand for a
launched by Skyera in August 2012. Skyera was later acquired by
Western Digital which
could have made it a problematic choice for a storage related product. Except
that differences between HDDs and SSDs are now well understood and WDC EOLed
that product line so Seagate's SkyHawk and WDC's SkyHawk aren't circling in the
same marketing skies at the same time.
But even if they were - the
general principle is you can't exclusively trademark such common words.
The main exception to this being a well known fruit which appears in the same
scene as a serpent in the Book of Genesis.
SSDs are already cheaper than HDDs|
|Editor:- July 3, 2015 -
HDDs is only a one part of the
SSD story - but a useful market milestone can be found in a recent blog -
and the Retreat of Hard Disk Drives by Brian Cox, Senior
Director of Outbound Marketing - SanDisk.
- Re consumer SSDs
- Brian says - "We are already seeing consumer 128GB SATA SSDs drop below
the prices for the lowest priced consumer HDDs this year. 256GB SSDs will soon
be there, too."
comments:- These market milestones are confirmations of the "floor
cost" based flash adoption tipping points which Jim Handy founder of Objective Analysis
predicetd 10 years ago in his classic article -
Flash Memory vs. HDDs -
Which Will Win?
- Re SAS drives
- Brian says - "Lenovo is now publishing the list price of SanDisk's
Optimus MAX SAS SSD that they use in their servers at a $/GB price that is lower
than their 300GB 15K RPM SAS SSD list pricing."
of Early Hard Drives|
|Editor:- there were a great
many stories published in 2006 related to the 50th anniversary of the
hard disk drive.
But here's one with a different spin - about the dangers
posed by early mass storage devices. It came from my brother in law
"In 1964 I was a programmer / operator at
Pilkington Glass in St
Helens. At that time Pilkington had one of the largest commercial computer
installations in the UK. It included
computers, countless card punches and readers,
Ampex tape drives, and, I think,
"One night in the main computer room I witnessed the
internal cylinder of a hard drive break out of its cabinet. It was several
feet in diameter and spinning at high speed.
It bounced when it hit
the floor, then as if deciding which way to go, it hovered and raced through
the glass partition, and sped along until it hit the solid wall of the
building at which point it exploded. The computer room was sprayed with glass,
but luckily it was safety glass and I wasn't hurt.
I couldn't help
thinking that if it had come for me it would have killed me. One thing I'm not
sure about is why it bounced when it first hit the floor and only exploded when
it hit the concrete wall. There was a lot of energy in the cylinder - and it had
a horizontal spindle."
|Hitachi Celebrates 50 Years
of Hard Disks |
| In April 2006 - Hitachi published
some historic reminiscences and market data to celebrate 50 years of the hard
disk drive market.|
Hitachi holds the privilege of preserving the legacy
and upholding the innovation heritage of the hard drive, having acquired the IBM
hard drive business in
2003. IBM invented the
hard drive in San Jose, California and brought it to market in 1956 as the RAMAC
(Random Access Method of Accounting and Control).
- Over the past 50 years, areal density - the
measurement of how many data bits can be stored on an inch of disk space - has
increased 50 million times.
- RAMAC, the first hard drive - delivered on
September 13, 1956 - stored 5 megabytes of data. Today, the highest-capacity
hard drive holds 500 gigabytes.
- In 1956, the RAMAC cost $50,000 or $10,000 per
megabyte. Today, a gigabyte of storage on a 3.5-inch hard drive can cost less
than 50 cents.
The demand for hard drives is expected to
increase multiple-fold. In a recent paper, the University of California at
Berkeley projected the worldwide data stored on magnetic media to be 99.5
exabytes in 2005, as compared to 7 exabytes in 2000. (An Exabyte = 1,024 x 1,024
x 1,024 x Gigabytes = just over 1 billion Gigabytes. - from
- Today, 92% of all new data created reside on
magnetic media, primarily hard
Today Hitachi also announced two new 3.5" hard
drives. The Deskstar T7K500 and Deskstar 7K160 feature 7,200 RPM spin speeds and
3Gb/s SATA interfaces
for high-performance PCs, gaming systems and low duty cycle servers. The new
drives use 160GB+ per platter technology to deliver up to 500GB of storage
capacity in a one-, two- and three-disk design.
also:- - article:- Hard
Disks - on Wikipedia®
timeline:- 5 Decades of Disk
Drive Industry Firsts - on DISK/TREND
Hard Drisk Market Chronicle - Upto
reviews (1998 to 2001) - on StorageReview.com