Articles about Disk Drive

google's custom Tensor Processing Unit

CONFIRMED: Google bakes custom data centre chips

Google's long-rumoured efforts to build its own silicon have come to fruition. The Alphabet subsidiary today revealed it has baked a custom ASIC it calls a “Tensor Processing Unit” (TPU) and has been using them for a year for the machine learning applications that fuel many of its services. “TPU is tailored to machine …
Simon Sharwood, 18 May 2016
Doomsday clock

Super-slow RAID rebuilds: Gone in a flash?

Analysis RAID rebuilds are too slow with 4, 6 and 8 and 10TB drives. So erasure coding is coming in to shorten the failed disk data rebuild time and also use less capacity overhead. What happens when SSDs are used instead of disk drives? Will RAID be more or less acceptable than with disk drives? Intuitively we expect a flash array to …
Chris Mellor, 13 May 2016
hdd_head_stack_648

Seagate ready for the HAMR blow: First drives out in 2017

Seagate is reducing its manufacturing capacity while still focusing on high-capacity disk drives for cloud and hyper-scale storage of unstructured data. This means it needs higher capacity drives, requiring new read-write head technology. It is a high-technology, nano-scale, clean room manufacturing process, and drive read- …
Chris Mellor, 12 May 2016
A partially-eaten langos

China says yes to SanDisk

China’s MOFCOM trade regulator has said it’s OK for Western Digital to buy SanDisk. WD wants to buy SanDisk and its flash foundry chips-to-SSDs business for around $16bn. The MOFCOM approval completes the worldwide regulatory body approvals process and the deal is expected to close on May 12. WD and SanDisk shareholders have …
Chris Mellor, 10 May 2016
Job cuts jpeg

Lost little X-IO lays off ~75 staff in Colorado as it shutters factory

X-IO sent a formal letter on April 29 to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, saying it intended to close its Colorado Springs manufacturing operation, and warning that up to 107 people could lose their jobs. In the event 70-80 employees were laid off, with some 50 employees remaining. Potential job rescue, IP …
Chris Mellor, 05 May 2016

Jobs in Ireland may be vulnerable at post merger Dell Technologies

When Dell completes its acquisition of EMC and its subsidiary VMware, the combined Dell Technologies will become one of the largest technology employers in Ireland. But with role duplication almost inevitably raising the spectre of job losses as the firms integrate, the elimination of product overlaps will also have a job …
Chris Mellor, 05 May 2016
Seagate logo

If you work on Seagate's performance drives, time to find another job

+Comment As expected, Seagate's revenues totaled $2.6bn in the three months to April 1, the third quarter [PDF] in its fiscal 2016, down 21 per cent year-on-year. And as anticipated, it made a $21m loss – its first loss in many many quarters and way down from the year-ago's $291m profit. On Friday, as the results for Q3 were published …
Chris Mellor, 30 Apr 2016
Small truck skids towards side of road as wheel comes loose. Photo by shutterstock

WD’s revenue wheels have fallen off. Profits are sinking, too

WD is experiencing global disk drive cooling as the slowing PC jetstream and flash El Nino jointly disrupt the HDD environment. But that's enough in the meteorological metaphor line. WD revenues fell 21 per cent year-on-year to $2.8bn in WD’s third fiscal 2016 quarter, which closed April 1. The quarter-on-quarter compare …
Chris Mellor, 29 Apr 2016
WD RE4 Enterprise disk drive

Trouble at t'spinning rust mill: Disk drive production is about to head south

+Comment A sea change is looming in the disk drive industry as drive spindle motor maker Nidec reduces its total disk drive demand number. Nidec is a Japanese company and has the largest market share of any such manufacturer. It foresees demand for about 400 million units in 2016, down 13 per cent from its previous October 2015 …
Chris Mellor, 26 Apr 2016
Terry_Pratchett_disk_world

Amazon tips spinning rust into its Elastic Block Store offering

Cloud king Amazon has added two disk-drive-based storage options to its EBS (Elastic Block Store). There is a Throughput-Optimised HDD (st1) volume and a Cost HDD (sc1) volume. The sc1 volume is for low access workloads, coldish data, with a price of $0.025/GB/month while the st1 volume is for frequent data access to Big Data …
Chris Mellor, 25 Apr 2016
man crying, image via Shutterstock

What the world needs now is... not disk drives

Analysis Flash goes the PC and notebook disk drive. Dramatic and persistent disk drive sales declines heralds changes at WD and Seagate as their disk drive job engine slows down. With PC sales falling and notebook/tablet flash use climbing the outlook for disk drive manufacturers on the desktop, sofa and kitchen table is looking bleak …
Chris Mellor, 22 Apr 2016
K2

Dell looking at higher debt mountain to buy EMC

Dell is facing its EMC acquisition debt mountain growing yet higher because the Wall St bond market will need higher interest payments to fund the deal. That could highlight product overlap costs to ex-money man David Goulden who will run the new Enterprise Systems Group, covering its servers, storage, networking, converged …
Chris Mellor, 22 Apr 2016
Man loads in blanket into the washing machine. Photo by Shutterstock

EMC results: It'll all come out in the post-Dell deal wash

+Comment EMC saw many pockets of growth in its first fiscal 2016 quarter’s results but overall revenues declined because core legacy product revenues fell, as did RSA and the enterprise content business. These declines more than offset the impressive growth rates of newer products. In the EMC earnings call, CEO and chairman Joe Tucci …
Chris Mellor, 21 Apr 2016
3d_XPOint_structure

Storage with the speed of memory? XPoint, XPoint, that's our plan

Analysis Since the virtual dawn of computing, storage – where data puts its feet up when it's at home – has been massively slower than memory, where data puts on its trainers and goes for a quick run. That massive access speed gap has been getting narrower and narrower with each storage technology advance: paper tape, magnetic tape, …
Chris Mellor, 21 Apr 2016
L200_Slim

Toshiba notebook disk drive slims down. You like that, gamers?

Toshiba has thinned is L200 500GB internal drive, shaving off 26 per cent of its thickness, so it takes up less space in notebooks and gaming consoles. The L200 Slim, with its 7mm z-height, has the same 500GB capacity as the thicker L200 with its 9.5mm z-height. It also sports the same 92g weight, but it only has an 8MB buffer …
Chris Mellor, 20 Apr 2016
WDC_Golds

WD rust-proofs spinners with Gold offering

WD has set up a new data centre nearline disk drive brand, Gold, with three drive capacities matching and topping the Re brand’s capacities. The spinning rust folk have released 4, 6 and 8TB, 3.5-inch Gold drives with a mix of technologies. The 8TB Gold drive is a helium-filled drive for example, while other two are air- …
Chris Mellor, 20 Apr 2016

Seagate revenue numbers rain on cloud after market misses

+Comment Seagate has issued an early warning that its third fy2016 quarter revenue will be off by $100m from its forecast of $2.7bn. The company expects to report revenue of approximately $2.6bn and non-GAAP gross margin of approximately 23 per cent, for the quarter which ended April 1 – no, this is not a late April Fool joke. The …
Chris Mellor, 15 Apr 2016
An eraser

Filer upstart Qumulo rubs out mirroring, slots in erasure coding

Scale-out filer startup Qumulo has replaced mirroring with erasure coding in v2.0 of its Core OS to deliver a 33 per cent gain in usable capacity. It's also added real-time analytics, adopted HGST helium-filled disk drive technology and has three new appliances using HGST drives. Qumulo delivers its technology as software- …
Chris Mellor, 13 Apr 2016
Analyse_this

Speedier Splunk-ing: NetApp SANtricity eases your analytics flow

NetApp says the latest version of its E-Series all-flash and disk arrays, along with its SANTricity operating software, makes data analytics apps such as Splunk run faster. Hadoop and NoSQL database apps are accelerated, quite dramatically under certain circumstances, in the new release as well. The E-Series disk drive and EF …
Chris Mellor, 29 Mar 2016

Build or buy: A tale of two all-flash strategies

Guest column Ever since flash was first added to traditional storage arrays back in 2008, there has been vigorous debate on the best approach to storage architectures for all-flash systems. There are a number of opposing camps, each with their own perception of the right way forward. Some vendors chose to use existing hardware and amend it …
Chris Evans, 28 Mar 2016
LTO-2 tape cartridge

Riddle me this: What grows as it shrinks? Answer: LTO tape

The LTO (linear tape-open) organization has released a tape shipment report showing capacity shipped grew almost 18 per cent from 2014 to 2015, while unit shipments have been declining since 2008. The LTO organization basically looks after the LTO format and represents the interests of the LTO Program Technology Provider …
Chris Mellor, 24 Mar 2016
WD RE4 Enterprise disk drive

Google's call for cloudier, taller disks is a tall order says analyst

Storage analyst firm Trend Focus says Google's call for the storage industry to make more cloud-friendly disks is a tall order. Google recently threw down the gauntlet to disk-makers, asking for taller, denser and smarter disks that would help it to lower costs and scale its storage rigs to even greater heights. Trend Focus' …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Mar 2016
Toshiba_flash_fabs

Toshiba storage keeps eye on flash as Group sheds jobs, sells divisions

Toshiba is doubling down on flash memory as a revenue growth engine to help climb out of the financial poo, while also aiming to get dollars spinning out of its disk drive business. In a reconstruction plan revealed on Friday, the troubled Japanese tech giant said it would develop its 3D memory products faster and develop …
Chris Mellor, 22 Mar 2016
management management3

SanDisk stockholders book a table, prepare for Western Digital gobble

SanDisk shareholders have voted in favour of Western Digital buying their company. At SanDisk's special stockholders' meeting today, 98 per cent of the votes were in favour of the sale to WDC. WDC shareholders, via more than 90 per cent of the votes cast, have separately approved WDC issuing more shares (common stock) to help …
Chris Mellor, 16 Mar 2016
StoreOnce_5500

HPE targets flashy and flash-adjacent types with trio of arrays

HPE, involved in frenetic storage activities, has launched three new arrays: a hybrid StoreServ, and single and multi-node StoreOnce deduplicating backup to disk systems. There’s also a Get Thinner Guarantee program for wannabe storage capacity dieters. The 3PAR 20840 converged flash array is basically the all-flash 20850 …
Chris Mellor, 11 Mar 2016

Flash storage: Has the hype become reality?

Comment Is the flash storage business a hype-filled wonderland or is flash-based technology making real inroads into IT? Flash arrays provide much faster access to data, because of SSD’s lower latency compared to disk drives but they are more expensive to buy. This can be justified by looking at potentially lower total cost of …
Chris Mellor, 09 Mar 2016
Terminator

Samsung is now shipping a 15TB whopper of an SSD. Farewell, spinning rust

Samsung's 2-5-inch 15.36TB SSD is now shipping, with half as much capacity again as the 10TB 3.5-inch disk drive capacity alternative, and taking up less physical space. This relative monster of an SSD first appeared at the Flash Memory Summit in August 2015. The PM1633a drive houses 512 x 256Gb 48-layer V-NAND chips stacked …
Chris Mellor, 03 Mar 2016
Hulk_Hogan

Cisco flexes its HyperFlex hyper-converged muscles

Cisco Partner Summit Let battle be joined; Cisco has re-entered the storage market via the hyper-converged infrastructure appliance door, with its HyperFlex* system able to separately scale performance and capacity. It uses Springpath HALO software, as many thought it would, and places Cisco in direct competition with other HCIA vendors, …
Chris Mellor, 01 Mar 2016
Brocade_G620

Brocade intros FC switch for flash fans with the need for speed

Comment Brocade has announced a 32Gbit/s (Gen 6) Fibre Channel switch that doubles connection speed from the current 16Gbit/s level. Its G620 switch is a 1U chassis with from 24 to 64 ports, the highest port density in the industry according to Brocade. The device delivers 100 million IOPS. It has four Q-Flex ports supporting 128Gbit …
Chris Mellor, 01 Mar 2016
Hard disk repair by William Warby https://www.flickr.com/photos/wwarby/ cc 2.0 attribution generic https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Google wants new class of taller 'cloud disk' with more platters and I/O

Google has shared a White Paper (PDF) in which it calls for major revisions to disk drive design. Titled “Disks for Data Centers”, the paper is unashamedly Google-centric inasmuch as it calls for disk-makers to rethink their products to suit the ad giant's needs. As the paper explains, those needs are very substantial: just …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Feb 2016
Sun

Netlist NVDIMMS shine bright in SuperMicro's flashy boxen

Applications will run faster when SuperMicro servers are fitted with Netlist NV4 non-volatile DIMMs, the firm says. The two suppliers showed a speed increase with NoSQL Key-Value store application data stored in these NVDIMMs, thus avoiding disk, SSD or PCIe flashcard data accesses. In fact the NVDIM system was 200 percent …
Chris Mellor, 25 Feb 2016
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Bill Gates denies iPhone crack demand would set precedent

Bill Gates has weighed into the row between Apple and the FBI as to whether the fruity firm should unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino murderer, denying that such a move would create a dangerous precedent for “back doors.” Apple has publicly refused to allow the US government access to the iPhone of Syed Rizwan Farook who …
Kat Hall, 23 Feb 2016
Nexsan_BEAST

Back-to-the-future Nexsan resurrects its SATABeast

Nexsan, the sole remaining real storage business inside the shell remnants of Imation, has resurrected its SATABeast array with a 4U shelf containing sixty 8TB 7,200rpm disk drives – 480TB in total. The Imation website has had a full Nexsan make-over, with virtually all mentions of Imation excised. From now on Imation's future …
Chris Mellor, 18 Feb 2016
Money falling, image via Shutterstock

Marvell, Carnegie Mellon agree to slash disk drive chip patent check in half – to a mere $750m

Chipmaker Marvell has agreed to pay $750m to settle its long-running patent feud with Carnegie Mellon University. The two sides agreed to a settlement package to end a case that was due to be reheard by the Western Pennsylvania District Court on appeal after a US Appellate Court struck down an earlier ruling that would have …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Feb 2016
Toshiba SG5 M2

Toshiba rolls out PC-busting monster: 1 terabyte TLC flash SSD

It’s a PC disk drive killer: a 1TB SSD built by Toshiba, using TLC flash, and built with 15nm cell lithography. The SG5 series comes in both M2 and 2.5-inch SSD format and signals a wave of product refreshes as Toshiba's existing 19nm SSD products are changed over to use denser 15nm NAND during the next six to 12 months. With …
Chris Mellor, 17 Feb 2016
Seagate_2TB_Mobile_HDD_950

Official: Seagate notebook drive has shingles

Seagate has delivered on its September 2015 technology announcement with a thin drive for notebooks that uses shingled magnetic media to get to a 2TB capacity level. The 2.5-inch Mobile HDD is 7mm thick (thin?) and weighs 3.17 ounces (90g). It has two platters, a 12MB cache and a 6Gbit/s SATA interface. The peak IO rate is …
Chris Mellor, 16 Feb 2016
3D NAND Technologies

Toshiba and Samsung both ponder opening new 3D flash fabs

+Comment Financially troubled Toshiba is building a new 3D flash fab while Samsung is delaying an expansion of its 3D NAND fab capabilities. With 3D NAND, layers of non-3D, or planar, flash are built atop one another, to increase a flash chip’s capacity without increasing its footprint. As the cost/bit of 3D NAND progresses to …
Chris Mellor, 08 Feb 2016
Pentaho_chord_visualisation

Big daddy HDS shows off fruits of Big Data slurpee Pentaho

A refreshed HSP 400 series, HDS’ scale-out analytics appliance, has native integration with the Pentaho Enterprise Platform. HDS slurped up Pentaho in February 2015 to acquire big data integration and predictive analysis technology. The software amalgamates multi-source data from, for example, Hadoop (Cloudera, Hortonworks and …
Chris Mellor, 03 Feb 2016
Wall St bull image via Shutterstock

NetApp Hitz out at critics over the flashy SolidFire buyout deal

Comment NetApp co-founder Dave Hitz has blogged about the closing of the Solidfire deal and castrated any misleading bull* about NetApp’s flash strategy. Hitz says he admires Solidfire’s architectural design, writing: “SolidFire’s architectural choices are elegant and made for a reason. (This is the geeky paragraph, so skip on if it …
Chris Mellor, 03 Feb 2016

Lawyers cast fishing nets in class-action Seagate seas

Hear that siren? It's an ambulance chaser. Seagate is facing a class-action lawsuit from lawyers representing one pissed-off Barracuda disk drive user – and they want more people to join in. Acting on behalf of one Christopher A. Nelson of South Dakota, the lawyers say the drives failed more often than they should have been …
Chris Mellor, 02 Feb 2016

Seagate’s triple whammy: Disk numbers, costs, and flash

Peak disk has passed and Seagate has a triple problem set: disk build numbers; costs and pricing; and what to do about flash. Revenues for Seagate’s second fiscal 2016 quarter, ended Jan 1, were $2.98bn, down 19.4 per cent on $3.7bn a year ago. Net income was $165m, representing an 82.3 per cent fall on Q215's $933m. …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jan 2016
Coconut face by https://www.flickr.com/photos/22327649@N03/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

What’s new in Hyper-V in Windows Server 2016?

Microsoft is busy reshaping Windows server for the cloud era, and the Hyper-V hypervisor is changing accordingly. The first release of Hyper-V was with Windows Server 2008. It was a solid and reliable product from the beginning, but with limited features compared to its competition, especially VMware. The technology is …
Tim Anderson, 29 Jan 2016
De Vaartkapoen. Pic: Bianca Bueno

WD notebook drive shipments plummet

WD revenues and profits are declining as it finds disks and SSDs a hard sell in what its CEO calls “an increasingly challenging global economic environment”. Revenues for the second fiscal 2016 quarter, ended Jan 1, were $3.3bn, which is 2.94 per cent lower than the $3.4bn recorded for its first quarter and a decline of 15 per …
Chris Mellor, 29 Jan 2016
Backblaze_Storage_pod

Backblaze big data restore. Get this: it involves disk drives

Cloud backup provider Backblaze has a nifty new take on large data restores, involving disk drives. Customers can order a flash drive or disk drive restore, meaning their data’s sent to them on a flash drive or external disk drive. This was a useful alternative where a web restore of data may take a while or be expensive if …
Chris Mellor, 28 Jan 2016
Toshiba

Troubled Toshiba ponders selling chips to save its flash bacon

Toshiba, recovering from a self-caused $1.3bn accounting scandal, could exit peripheral chip businesses while concentrating on its NAND core – with exit from the disk business a possibility too. Reuters and Japan’s Nikkei reported loss-making parts of Toshiba's chip business lines, such as systems LSI (Large Scale Integration …
Chris Mellor, 25 Jan 2016

Server retired after 18 years and ten months – beat that, readers!

The Register has learned, thanks to a post to a semi-private mailing list, of a server that has just been decommissioned after running without replacement parts since 1997. The post, made by a chap named Ross, says he “Just switched off our longest running server.” Ross says the box was “Built and brought into service in …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Jan 2016
Seagate_10TBers

Seagate floats out 10TB HDD filled with lifting gas

Seagate has caught up with WDC’s HGST unit and built a 7-platter, 10TB disk drive filled with helium gas. Western Digital Corporation (WDC) introduced its own 10TB Ultrastar He10 drive in December last year. This was a standard PMR tech drive, unlike the Ultrastar Archive Ha10 announced in June 2015, which used shingled …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jan 2016
Elastifile

All-flash hot-shot Elastifile pulls open wallet for big B-round

Israeli high-techers strike again. Elastifile, a startup developing storage software for all-flash arrays, has gained $35m in its second round of funding. The company was started up in 2014 in Herzliya, Israel, to develop enterprise-class, web-scale storage software running on all-flash media and providing file, object and …
Chris Mellor, 12 Jan 2016
Speed

DataCore’s benchmarks for SANsymphony-V hit a record high note

+Comment DataCore's SANsymphony-V software with a parallel IO feature has produced a radical advance in price/performance on the SPC-1 benchmark. SPC-1 is an objective test and measures the data access performance of a storage subsystem. It enables meaningful performance comparisons to be made between different vendors' systems. The …
Chris Mellor, 07 Jan 2016

Gartner sees enterprise SSD-HDD revenue crossover in 2017

Comment Gartner gnomes think revenues from enterprise sales of SSDs will exceed those from HDDs in 2017. Well, let's look into that claim. We all know SSDs are taking over from fast disk drives as the main storage medium for primary data, and now Gartner’s esteemed number-crunchers have estimated when the two revenue lines will cross …
Chris Mellor, 07 Jan 2016