Is It Time for Personal HSM?

Opinion: With wireless technology taking off and users' storage needs spiraling out of control, personal hierarchical storage management could give them a way to make the most of their data, Henry Baltazar writes.

Despite the advances in mobile technology over the years, users have been forced to rely on bigger and bigger storage media to combat their data growth problems.

Perhaps, instead of focusing on larger storage, vendors really just need to create smarter storage.

At an IBM dinner a couple of weeks ago, Finis Conner, who is currently chairman and CEO of StorCard Inc., suggested that personal and portable computing devices could benefit largely from a personal HSM (hierarchical storage management) solution.

Conner, who is familiar to storage-industry followers for his experience in designing, manufacturing and selling hard disk drives, co-founded Shugart Associates in 1973. The company, sold to Xerox Corp. in 1977, made and sold 8-inch floppy disks and HDD (hard disk drives).

In 1979, Conner co-founded Seagate Technology LLC, where he conceived the original 5 ¼-inch Winchester disk drive. In 1986, he founded Conner Peripherals Inc., which was the first company to develop and manufacture 3 ½-inch and 2 ½-inch Winchester disk drives used in personal computers.

Under his direction, Conner Peripherals grew to $1.4 billion in its fourth year of sales and $2.7 billion in its 10th year, when Seagate acquired the company.

But Conners new company, StorCard Inc., is turning its attention toward portable solutions. Its new, portable storage product is the size of a credit card, and a single StorCard can hold 100MB to 5GB of data.

Conner said he believes that by seamlessly migrating older, unused data from portable devices onto servers or PCs, users will be able to more efficiently utilize the small onboard storage on their portable devices.

In place of the data, a personal HSM could leave intelligent file pointers that quickly locate migrated copies of data and could be residing on an external system such as a PC at home or a file server at work.

Next Page: Taking a look at the challenges of personal HSM.