I told you so

If I were paranoid, I would think someone at Seagate was peeking when I wrote last week's column. The closing went: " ... the next big milestone for enterprise disk drives will be moving to the smaller 2.5 inch form factor."

And only a few days later the good folks at Seagate announce 2.5" disk drives for the enterprise?

What's interesting is that Seagate expects those small form factor drives to ship in 2004, and the small format is expected to result in reduced, less energy used, less noise and better performance.

I for one can hardly wait. There are millions of drives that probably never stop spinning. Saving even a few watts per hour can be significant. Those smaller drives could mean less pollution and even a reduced dependency on foreign oil, but I'll leave the math to the electrical engineers.

A reduced disk size also will affect the dimension of other devices such as servers and storage arrays. The list of benefits is endless.

Moreover, I would like to add "less weight" to that list of improvements. As anyone who handles storage devices knows all too well, those disk drives are the heaviest part, followed closely by the racks and enclosures containing them, which must obviously have a sturdy structure to bear all that weight. Raise your hand if you've ever had to remove the drives from a cabinet just to be able to move it. I've had to, many times.

We all know that managing storage is expensive, but probably nobody paid much attention to the cost of shipping storage devices. I do - when returning loaned storage devices, the Test Center sometimes must absorb shipping costs - and I'm sure I share those concerns with the good company of all those vendor reps who move their equipment from one show to the next. Smaller disk drives will facilitate the building of lighter storage devices; lighter storage devices will, of course, be less expensive to ship.

I am trying to imagine a world where servers and storage arrays are miniature size, propagate less noise, generate less heat (hence less fans to cool that down), are more environmentally friendly and can be lifted by a toddler.

No, I can't. Not this year. I'd better find someone to help me lift those two storage arrays: they are back-breaking heavy.

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