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Last post Author Topic: The end of the hard disk  (Read 11102 times)

xtabber

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The end of the hard disk
« on: June 22, 2015, 05:57:31 PM »
According to Information Week, the end of 2015 will see SSDs with greater capacity than any hard disks currently available and SSDs are expected to be cost competitive with hard disks by the end of 2016.

Even if these projections are a little optimistic, particularly with respect to the consumer market, it seems clear that the hard disk will soon be going the way of the floppy disk.

It won't be missed.

ewemoa

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2015, 04:47:51 PM »
I appreciate the speed, noise, and power characteristics of SSDs, however...

My impression has been that the failure characteristics of SSDs leaves something to be desired -- catastrophic loss of everything with no chance of recovering even a small amount seems unfortunately much more likely than common HDD failure scenarios (admittedly I have no numbers to point to).  In the consumer area I haven't found it easy to find things with functionality such as power loss protection (the one SSD I own does have this apparently).

Another aspect I'm wary of has to do with wiping data.  With HDDs it seems clearer that one can blank things appropriately before resale, reuse, disposal, etc.  With SSDs, my impression is that the jury is still out so-to-speak.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: June 23, 2015, 04:58:49 PM by ewemoa »

MilesAhead

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2015, 05:39:21 PM »
Just checking a few prices I see already for sale Crucial and other brands with 3d nand technology @500GB for @$200.  I can't wait to see some really high capacity usb 3.0 sticks cheap.  So far I haven't noticed any price drop there.

Stoic Joker

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2015, 05:43:53 PM »
What do you think?

I think the exact same questions haunt/scare the shit out of me ... Which is why I'm still running spinning platters.

While it's true that eventually the technology will stabilize enough to be called "Stone Ax Reliable" ...(Ha!)... The fact that I haven't heard an SSD horror story recently is not IMO a valid reason to assert that the proverbial coast is clear.

wraith808

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2015, 05:55:11 PM »
What do you think?

I think the exact same questions haunt/scare the shit out of me ... Which is why I'm still running spinning platters.

While it's true that eventually the technology will stabilize enough to be called "Stone Ax Reliable" ...(Ha!)... The fact that I haven't heard an SSD horror story recently is not IMO a valid reason to assert that the proverbial coast is clear.

+1 here.  I've seen it too many times from people that have bought SSDs *recently* to trust them yet.  I have a hybrid SSD in my laptop, and it still concerns me.  I don't think it's anywhere near obsolescence, especially for server applications.

Renegade

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2015, 10:00:48 PM »
Raid 1 mirrored SSDs. :)

They do have good MTBFs.

Still, SAS may still be the most prudent way to go for the moment.
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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Shades

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2015, 11:09:17 PM »
Around 1000USD a pop you have now decently sized hard disks that work according to SSD principles, but instead of using SATA, they use the PCI-Express lanes of your motherboard. If you think SSD's (or SSD's in RAID) are fast...these puppies run 4 to 5 times faster than SSD drives (at their top speed) in most usage scenarios. If you want really fast servers that have no problems shifting mountains of data around, SSD's are already old hat.

Renegade

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2015, 12:26:33 AM »
Around 1000USD a pop you have now decently sized hard disks that work according to SSD principles, but instead of using SATA, they use the PCI-Express lanes of your motherboard. If you think SSD's (or SSD's in RAID) are fast...these puppies run 4 to 5 times faster than SSD drives (at their top speed) in most usage scenarios. If you want really fast servers that have no problems shifting mountains of data around, SSD's are already old hat.

Heh! After both my desktop and laptop died recently, I was looking around and saw those. They sound pretty sweet.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

highend01

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2015, 04:17:55 AM »
Quote
Around 1000USD a pop you have now decently sized hard disks that work according to SSD principles, but instead of using SATA, they use the PCI-Express lanes of your motherboard. If you think SSD's (or SSD's in RAID) are fast...these puppies run 4 to 5 times faster than SSD drives (at their top speed) in most usage scenarios. If you want really fast servers that have no problems shifting mountains of data around, SSD's are already old hat.

Link please :)

wraith808

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2015, 09:41:51 AM »
Simple search brings up several links....

http://lmgtfy.com/?q...he+PCI-Express+lanes

One example from that search...

http://www.extremete...to-the-client-market

xtabber

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2015, 12:34:29 PM »
Around 1000USD a pop you have now decently sized hard disks that work according to SSD principles, but instead of using SATA, they use the PCI-Express lanes of your motherboard. If you think SSD's (or SSD's in RAID) are fast...these puppies run 4 to 5 times faster than SSD drives (at their top speed) in most usage scenarios. If you want really fast servers that have no problems shifting mountains of data around, SSD's are already old hat.

Sorry to disillusion you, but the devices you are talking about are SSDs, not hard disks.  The difference is that the flash memory and controller are mounted directly to a PCIe card rather than enclosed in a SATA case to allow swapping with HDDs.

Actual hard disks are limited to a 6GB/s transfer rate because that is the fastest you can pull data off of a rotating memory device.  That is why the SATA-III interface tops out at 6GB/s.  Flash memory does not have the same limitations and by mounting it directly on a PCIe card, you avoid the bottleneck of the SATA interface.


Deozaan

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2015, 01:27:58 PM »
Simple search brings up several links....

http://lmgtfy.com/?q...he+PCI-Express+lanes

I knew about PCI-e mounted SSDs, but Shades said "hard disks" which was something (PCI-e mounted HDDs faster than SSDs) that I hadn't heard about. But it seems xtabber has clarified that issue already.


Shades

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2015, 08:30:25 PM »
Next time I will be more precise and call it "storage device"...that should make everyone happy. :)

wraith808

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2015, 09:33:49 PM »
Next time I will be more precise and call it "storage device"...that should make everyone happy. :)

I got what you were saying, and that you weren't saying hard disk in the terms of a spinning platter.  Which is why I phrased my search in such a way. :)

Deozaan

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2015, 01:02:08 AM »
Next time I will be more precise and call it "storage device"...that should make everyone happy. :)

I was further confused by the "SSDs are already old hat" because the PCI-e mounted SSDs are SSDs. That, combined with "hard disks that work according to SSD principles" made me think this was some new technology I hadn't heard about before.

I'm not trying to be pedantic. I'm just trying to explain why what you said confused me. :)

It's all good though. The miscommunication has been cleared up.


phitsc

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2015, 01:36:27 AM »
Next time I will be more precise and call it "storage device"...that should make everyone happy. :)

I was further confused by the "SSDs are already old hat" because the PCI-e mounted SSDs are SSDs. That, combined with "hard disks that work according to SSD principles" made me think this was some new technology I hadn't heard about before.

I'm not trying to be pedantic. I'm just trying to explain why what you said confused me. :)


You're not alone. I was thinking about something spinning as well.

highend01

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2015, 04:59:28 AM »
Quote
I knew about PCI-e mounted SSDs, but Shades said "hard disks" which was something (PCI-e mounted HDDs faster than SSDs) that I hadn't heard about.

That's the reason why I asked for a link. I'm not too stupid to use google myself...

MilesAhead

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2015, 05:46:16 AM »
I was further confused by the "SSDs are already old hat" because the PCI-e mounted SSDs are SSDs. That, combined with "hard disks that work according to SSD principles" made me think this was some new technology I hadn't heard about before.

Now you mention it I heard a new technology is just over the hill.  3DHS for 3D Hamsters on Steroids.  The wheel is connected to a platter drive capable of achieving 60 rpm.  It is kind of like cruise missile where slow is good.  At that angular velocity the head hamster can read the data temporarily etched thereon.  These drives do insist on regular sleep cycles though.  Dead hamsters in drives smell really really nasty.

wraith808

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2015, 06:52:46 AM »
Quote
I knew about PCI-e mounted SSDs, but Shades said "hard disks" which was something (PCI-e mounted HDDs faster than SSDs) that I hadn't heard about.

That's the reason why I asked for a link. I'm not too stupid to use google myself...

No one implied anything about stupidity.  And it happens.  Onward!  :Thmbsup:

SeraphimLabs

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2015, 12:08:21 PM »
Next time I will be more precise and call it "storage device"...that should make everyone happy. :)

I was further confused by the "SSDs are already old hat" because the PCI-e mounted SSDs are SSDs. That, combined with "hard disks that work according to SSD principles" made me think this was some new technology I hadn't heard about before.

I'm not trying to be pedantic. I'm just trying to explain why what you said confused me. :)

It's all good though. The miscommunication has been cleared up.

It could have been this technology.

https://en.wikipedia...ki/Ferroelectric_RAM

Surely you guys have heard of the 'core memory' from the 1960s that was literally a woven grid of wires and cores, and ended up setting the standard geometry and behavior for main ram for decades to follow.

Ferroelectric RAM is technology going full circle like it has done in a lot of markets lately. It reimplements effectively core memory on silicon, creating a non-volatile memory that is fast enough to serve as a main system ram while also being sufficiently stable to operate as a mass storage device.

Though there are currently density limitations that have kept it from becoming used in the mainstream, once those limitations are overcome this is a technology that could blow SSDs and the now commonplace DRAM out of the water.


I'm still not too sure on SSDs for long-term reliability. Though they do offer great improvements in performance and the price tag is now comparable for applications not requiring large capcacities. I've been deploying workstations based on 120GB SSDs in place of 320GB HDDs for a couple of years now with good results, and am considering the possibility of using one or more SSDs in my next server build as either a filesystem cache or as the actual primary storage device.

Pricing for larger capacity devices is still a sore spot, but it has gone down considerably since they were first introduced.


Oh and Renegade, you DID mismatch the two devices right? RAID1 of SSDs is not safe if you ordered both devices around the same time and they have been together in the raid the whole time. The result is that they will die by way of media wearout within a few days of one another usually.

To counter this, order each device separately from either a different vendor or a few weeks apart. That way you aren't as likely to run into SSDs from the same manufacturing batch or design revision. The manufacturing variation between batches makes enough of a difference in the actual usage life to expand what could be only a few days window between failures to be several weeks- enough to install a new device and rebuild the array.

JavaJones

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2015, 03:29:29 PM »
Relevant:
http://www.techspot....ssd-reliability.html

There are now at least 3 studies on SSD reliability that I'm aware of. The above link discusses/mentions 2. The third is discussed here:
http://www.extremete...udy-sheds-some-light

Note also that most of these studies are - by necessity - performed on older drives. The trend may not be toward higher reliability, but generally speaking that is more likely than a trend toward lower reliability as the technology matures.

- Oshyan

superboyac

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #21 on: June 25, 2015, 03:43:24 PM »
I will be shocked if these predictions come true.  That is, if SSD's have capacities like 8TB or 16TB in 2016, I will be very shocked.  I'm talking at a reasonable cost, even enterprise cost.  anywhere under $1000 will be shocking to me.  Second, I will also be shocked if enterprise level applications will forego getting SSD's to replace mechanical drives by 2016.  For example, if cloud storage providers start using SSD's like that, I will be very surprised.

Not saying it's not possible, just that a jump like that so soon would be crazy.  Have we just been sitting on the technology all this time?

Deozaan

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #22 on: June 25, 2015, 05:16:58 PM »
Not saying it's not possible, just that a jump like that so soon would be crazy.  Have we just been sitting on the technology all this time?

It could be a recent breakthrough in SSD technology that enables them to be produced much more efficiently/cheaply. But I'm just pulling that out of thin air. I have no evidence that that's what has happened.


xtabber

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2015, 10:45:50 AM »
I will be shocked if these predictions come true.  That is, if SSD's have capacities like 8TB or 16TB in 2016, I will be very shocked.  I'm talking at a reasonable cost, even enterprise cost.  anywhere under $1000 will be shocking to me.  Second, I will also be shocked if enterprise level applications will forego getting SSD's to replace mechanical drives by 2016.  For example, if cloud storage providers start using SSD's like that, I will be very surprised.

Not saying it's not possible, just that a jump like that so soon would be crazy.  Have we just been sitting on the technology all this time?

To be honest, I also find that time line unrealistic -- tech writers have a habit of making overly optimistic predictions -- but even if it takes a few years more, the writing is on the wall for the HDD, except as an inexpensive  long-term storage device.

Intel is the major supplier of PCIe board SSDs to major data center users, and their most recent prediction is that they will have 10TB enterprise class SSD boards available by 2018.

Intel already sells 1.2TB PCIe boards for under $1,000 in bulk. 2TB boards now cost several times as much, but that should change quickly as other vendors start to compete in that space.  SanDisk has announced that they will be selling an external 2TB SSD in a portable HDD form factor to the consumer market for under $1,000 this year.

A variety of new flash memory technologies are poised to drive the price/capacity ratio down dramatically.  What is holding them up is the ability to manufacture them reliably in large quantities, but a lot of really big players (Intel/Micron, SanDisk, Samsung, Toshiba) are competing fiercely to get there first.

Joe Hone

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Re: The end of the hard disk
« Reply #24 on: June 28, 2015, 09:31:29 PM »
My impression has been that the failure characteristics of SSDs leaves something to be desired -- catastrophic loss of everything with no chance of recovering even a small amount seems unfortunately much more likely than common HDD failure scenarios (admittedly I have no numbers to point to). 

I have the same reservations but last fall when both of my business PCs failed at about the same time I took the plunge and went with mini PCs for replacements (Gigabyte Brix and Compulab Fit), using only SSD internally running Windows 7. With hundreds of hours of use and large amounts of data transferred, including dozens of different software programs, neither one has so much as burped. But I still backup daily (using Bvckup) to HDD external drives in the event of catastrophic SSD failure. Online computer stores have been blowing out storage like WD My Passport 2TB external drives for under $70 US. I figure with HDD external drives that cheap and Bvckup constantly updating them the benefit of SSD speeds is worth the risk.