Hard disk drives make archiving easier

Published: Saturday 31 May 2008

hard disk drives will now give digital tapes a run for their money. Researchers have developed pergamumcost-effective and energy-efficient hard disk drives as storage devices with numerous advantages related to storing, searching and retrieving data.

The researchers of Baskin School of Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz, say businesses are beginning to recognize that archival storage is very different from backups. A backup is a safety netyou hope you wont need it. Archival data, you would want to useits a valuable resource and you want to be able to mine it for information, said Mark Storer, a researcher. They presented pergamum at a conference in San Jose in February. Long-term storage is a growing issue for individuals who store digital photos, movies and documents. There is a risk that an entire generations cultural history will be lost if people arent able to retrieve that data, he said.

Pergamum uses individual building blocks consisting of a hard drive; a small, low-power processor; a flash memory card; and an ethernet port. These units, called tomes, are connected using relatively inexpensive ethernet switches. Each tome is like a minicomputer but with very low power demands. When not in use, it can shut down almost completely, a researcher said. Even when active, the devices use very little power (less than 13 watts). Each unit is a self-contained box with a network connection. The flash memory provides low-power and persistent storage so that many operations can be performed without activating the hard drive.

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