When it comes to storage, SSD’s are gaining traction at an incredible speed. With SSD prices sinking closer to HDDs, there are very few reasons why people would avoid the large speed advantage that upgrading your drives can have. Fixstars wants to move that advantage to a whole new market, with a 13TB SSD drive titled Olive.
Fixstars’ Olive isn’t just a 13TB SSD drive, with it essentially packing the abilities of a server into the 2.5 inch SSD drive. This advantage comes courtesy of an FPGA (field programmable gate array), something which enables you to reprogram the Olive to perform certain tasks. With the ability to share and spread movies, or even collect information from a selection of devices, the Olive doesn’t just have a lot of storage space.
The downside with FPGA’s is that while they can be fast, you have to program any tasks directly onto the hardware, something which isn’t a very common skill in the industry and is limited to just the tasks that are embedded within the FPGA. Thanks to its size though the FPGA could be used for anything you might normally use a server for, such as quickly backing up a system or even acting as an independent server should one of yours fail.
Currently, the Olive only runs 32-bit Linux, with 512MB of RAM and an ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, although it has been suggested that it could be modified to speed up the Olive and enable 64-bit computing in the future.
Still experimental, the Olive hasn’t got a price yet while Fixstars evaluate feedback and decide if there is a market for something so unique.
Samsung is one of the key companies when it comes to providing memory to everything from your phone to your PC. With their latest revelation being the creation of a 256GB flash memory chip, it was only a matter of time before they made the news again. Today they’ve done just that by releasing to the public the 15.36TB SSD.
Stored within a 2.5-inch enclosure, the latest evolution of the SSD means all that more trouble for traditional hard drives which have slowly been losing out to the SSD’s, winning only on cost per GB (something that solid state technology has been catching up on quickly).
While it would be amazing to plug this drive into your computer or laptop, it may be a while before your everyday device can deal with this drive as it requires a 12Gbps SAS interface, with sequential read and write speeds going up to 1,200 MBps.
While it is currently being released with memory choices going from 960GB to the 15.36TB version, a 480GB version is expected to be released later in the year for those needing a little less storage.
Do you use an SSD? What would you store on an SSD of this size? With no price detailed yet, what do you expect this monster will set you back?
Mechanical or SSD? This argument has gone on many times in my own and many of my friends minds, the added speed of the SSD or the capacity of an mechanical drive. Both of these drives have their advantages and more than often it comes down to the things you wish to do. If you want to quickly load your game and have your computer awake within seconds it’s an SSD, but if you are storing your family photos and music you tend to care about not spending hundreds for storing something you will only ever access at Christmas or to embarrass someone on their birthday, you want mechanical. The advantage both of these devices have over different memory storage methods is they are ‘non-volatile’, meaning that they don’t require constant power to store the information, although researchers now hope to give you a third option for a super fast, light-based storage device.
Unlike SSD’s or mechanical drives which are limited in speed because of the heat and resistance they generate while being used, the ‘nano-photonic’ chips are not limited and can, therefore, operate at much higher speeds. By using the same material that CD’s and DVD’s use, called GST, the researchers have managed to change the structure of the alloy (comprised of Germanium, Tellurium and Antimony) in such a way that they were able to store 8 bits of data in any one location. Let’s just take that in, at the moment, electronic memory can only store binary information (1’s or 0’s). Meaning that they can store four times as much information in a single space, but it is still far from perfect.
Currently the chips are several sizes larger than the media everyone uses today to store data, but the researchers are hopeful that they could soon have you working on computers up to 100 times faster than your current desktop and no doubt with much greater capacities.
Following the announcement a few weeks back that Seagate had quietly launched a 5TB enterprise level drive on to the market, the announcement a few days ago that they had then made a massive breakthrough to bring a 6TB drive to the market without the need for helium as found in Western Digital’s 6TB drive certainly through Seagate into a class leading position on the Enterprise level of the market.
With super high-capacity hard drives now become more of a common feature in the market and the demand for servers and network storage arrays with higher volume levels growing on a near day-to-day basis, Thecus have announced that their entire product range is now fully compatible with Seagate’s 5TB drives. With this announcement, Thecus has brought themselves back into the lead in the storage market with their products able to pack the highest storage densities at this moment in time.
Taking their 16bay N16000PRO into account and then packing it to the rafters with 5TB drives will leave this system alone capable of holding up to 80TB of RAW data. This is not where the story ends though as, like many systems now, Thecus NAS’ are capable of daisy-chaining multiple systems together and by adding an additional four D16000 expansion units to a single N16000Pro will leave you with an array capable of holding 400TB altogether.
Just when you thought this was enough storage to work with, Thecus have not stopped there. A single N16000Pro setup as a master system is capable of linking together eight of the 400TB arrays together which in total builds up a storage array with 3.125PB – that’s 3200TB or 3276800GB of storage to work with. Whilst this may seem a massive volume of data; and to be honest it is massive when you break things down to consumer levels, this is what the enterprise market is in high demand of and as hard drive capacities continue to rise, so will the volumes of storage arrays such as that seen above.
Way back in 1980, storage manufacturer Seagate (formerly Shugart Technology) released their first hard drive, the ST-506 which packed a whopping 5MB of storage in its 5.25inch frame. The drive proved to be a huge success and seen a 10MB version was released. The success of these drives was to be shown as they featured as sole OEM drive supplier for the worlds first personal computer to contain a hard drive from IBM.
Move forward a few years and Seagate have achieved numerous milestones including the introduction of the first drive with a 7200RPM spindle speed back in 1991 (still the standard today) and later in mid 1993, the company celebrated the shipping of 50 million drives.
Later on in 1996 Seagate came out with another industry first with a 10,000 RPM drive, a speed that again is still used today. Moving past the 250 million mark in 1999 and through to the next century, technology has come a long way and in huge leaps as well, Seagate took the speed factor to the next step with their 15k RPM drive and over the next five years they would go on to sell over 10 million of these units.
Moving into more recent times, and with data becoming more and more critical for not just businesses, but also home users alike, we’ve seen a boom in drive capacity, with current drives now rolling out with 4TB of storage – that’s 838860 times the capacity of the companies first drive way back in 1980. But to go one step further, the rate at which drives are having to be made has has to increase substantially and since Seagate passed the one billionth shipment back in 2009, the rate of sales has rocketed and in the last four years alone, sales have been for an additional one billion units, putting another milestone on the companies roadmap.
Seagate estimate that the rate of data consumption is going to continue to grow at an exponential rate and for users that continuously use 1TB of data per month are in the next two years expected to be generating twenty times the amount that they currently do. Thanks to research that Seagate announced last year, with the possibility of drive data density to become greater and greater as they demonstrate a unit with 1TB/square inch, with the chance of scaling this to 60TB in the next 15 years or so, we should still see the humble hard drive a critical part of our day to day life even as solid state storage stands to take priority in the modern tech environment.