By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2007-09-21 Print this article Print

: Vista Supports Hybrid Storage Drives"> Seagate Technology and Samsung are the two drive makers shipping a limited number of hybrids to OEMs now. "At Seagate, we believe that hybrid drives bring real value," said Josh Tinker, market development manager for the companys personal business unit, in Scotts Valley, Calif. "Is the hybrid ready for prime time now? Yes, it is."
Just the fact that hybrid drives save a full 50 percent of power consumption is "huge," Tinker said. "Were also seeing a 1.5x increase in reliability, according to the MTBS [mean time between stops] rating, plus a 20 percent improvement in boot-up time. Microsofts drivers are using the standard ATA commands and the T13 protocol for accessing flash memory. Those standards work all across the industry, so they should work fine in any hybrid drive," he said.
"Now, is there room for improvement? Sure—theres always room for improvement. Theres room for improvement in just about everything. But this does not detract from the hybrids we are delivering now," Tinker said. The original discussion of the issue occurred at a luncheon meeting of HDD and solid state drive company executives, journalists, analysts and attendees of the conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Market researcher IDC predicted in 2006 that hybrid hard disk drives will constitute 35 percent of all hard disk drives shipped with portable PCs by 2010. Dell and Samsung now are marketing light, thin and fast 32GB solid state laptops. But theyre expensive; the SSD option costs an additional $995. Hybrid drives will add about $300 to the price tag. Joel Hagberg, vice president of marketing and business development for Fujitsu, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., said Sept. 19 at DiskCon that the hybrid hard drive isnt far along enough in development and that hes not sure it has quite enough market value yet to justify the extra cost it would take to acquire it. Fujitsu, though a member of the new Hybrid Storage Alliance, has not yet produced any of the new drives. "Is booting up in 21 seconds [which is what hybrid drives are touted as doing] that much of a difference from Vista booting up in 28 seconds?" Hagberg asked. "I dont see anybody paying extra for that." There arent that many near-term benefits at this point, he said. The hybrid drive "goes to sleep easier and more often [to save power], but that also means it has to boot up more often, and that could impact its reliability. I think we need to drive them around the field and test them for a while. I dont see them as a real-world technology yet," Hagberg said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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