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Data Storage Shark Hardware Science

New Technique Promises Much Faster Hard Drive Write Speeds 148

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the sharks-in-my-drives dept.
MrSeb writes "Hold onto your hats: Scientists at the University of York, England have completely rewritten the rules of magnetic storage (abstract; full paper paywalled). Instead of switching a magnetic region using a magnetic field (like a hard drive head), the researchers have managed to switch a ferrimagnetic nanoisland using a 60-femtosecond laser. Storing magnetic data using lasers is up to 1,000 times faster than writing to a conventional hard drive (we're talking about gigabytes or terabytes per second) — and the ferrimagnetic nanoislands that store the data are capable of storage densities that are some 15 times greater than existing hard drive platters. Unfortunately the York scientists only detailed writing data with lasers; there's no word on how to read it."
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New Technique Promises Much Faster Hard Drive Write Speeds

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  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:58AM (#38966677) Journal

    It's stored in the same way as a normal hard disk - in ferromagnetic domains on a platter. You can still read it back using the same techniques as current drives (i.e. put a coil over it and see which way the induced current flows), but you then have a drive that you can write to orders of magnitude than you can read from it. I can think of a few places where this might be useful. The most obvious is the underlying storage for something like ZFS. For reliability, you want to flush everything to the backing store as quickly as possible, and with copy-on-write and snapshotting you may never erase it, but most of your reads are satisfied from flash or DRAM caches. A drive using this technology would let you dump data there as quickly as you wanted and would let you read it back for data recovery if you needed to, while in normal operation you wouldn't care about the read speed because reading from the disk is comparatively rare. It would also be useful for a number of scientific applications. I did some work a few years ago with someone building a solar observatory. A single one of their cameras generated 10GB/s of data, and they had 8 cameras in a typical setup. They run these for the entire time that the sun is visible. A single drive that can handle a sustained write speed of 1GB/s would be very useful for them (although they'd fill up several per hour...).

    For consumer devices, random read speed is still the most important factor, and mechanical drives suck at that.

  • by sheepe2004 (1029824) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @11:42AM (#38967265) Homepage
    Nope, that was a few years ago. Now they use TMR http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunnel_magnetoresistance#Applications [wikipedia.org] .

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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