Feeds

Hybrid hard drives: what's not to like?

A flash stash for little cash

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Flash-based SSD drives may be bloody fast, but they're also bloody expensive. For some road warriors, price is immaterial, but for most mortals — or for their employers — price is everything.

This is where hybrid hard drives come into their own, delivering better performance than traditional hard drives, but for only a small premium.

At today's cash-per-gigabyte prices, MLC-based NAND flash is priced at a whopping 22.3X premium compared with a 320GB 2.5-inch mobile hard disk drive, according to Aaron Rakers, an enterprise hardware analyst at Stifel Nicolaus.

There's no disputing that a flash-based notebook screams. A 2.4GHz MacBook Pro fitted with a Mercury Extreme Pro SSD from Other World Computing, for example, booted and loaded Adobe's CS5 in 28 seconds while a 2.6GHz MacBook Pro fitted with a hard drive took almost 70 seconds: its faster CPU was defeated by flash.

But OWC suggests you fit the SSD as a system and application load drive, and keep your bulk data on an externally-attached hard drive. The reason is simple: it's too expensive to replace all those hundreds of gigabytes of hard drive capacity with flash.

Money talks

An OWC 240GB Mercury Extreme Pro solid state drive is $649.99. You can buy a 250GB Seagate 2.5-inch, 7200rpm hard drive at OWC for $62.99, a tenth of the price. You really do have to be loaded to rip out the hard drive and replace it completely with flash.

But — and this is a big but — the main point of a notebook on the road is that you have everything in a single case. You are compromising your mobility if you travel with an SSD set up only for booting and loading applications. For your data, you'd need to lug an external drive and cable.

So let's turn to hybrid hard drives — Seagate's Momentus XT is a good example. This sticks a 4GB flash drive into a 2.5-inch Momentus hard drive's enclosure. It's enough, Seagate says, to get system boot time down to within a few seconds of a flash boot drive and at a cost that's only $20 or so above the ordinary hard drive cost.

Replace your flash-less hard drive with this hybrid and you'll get a much faster-loading notebook at a much more reasonable price than with a flash boot drive, and you can take it on the road without additional cables and an external drive. What's not to like? ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
Want to STUFF Facebook with blatant ADVERTISING? Fine! But you must PAY
Pony up or push off, Zuck tells social marketeers
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.