Google makes a special request to hard drive makers

Google INC has urged hard disk makers to consider developing new hard drives, intended primarily for data center use. According to a white paper released by Eric Brewer, a professor at UC Berkeley and VP of Infrastructure at Google, the internet juggernaut is in need of disk drives which abandon the traditional 3.5 inches dimension form in favor of taller designs.

The paper argues that changing the circumference of the platter is impractical, since greater width may increase storage capacity to a certain extent, but at the same time will make the R/W head make a longer journey to get to the next sector–lowering IOPS.

Therefore, Eric’s group proposes increasing the height of the standard HDD, currently established at an average of one inch for 3.5 inches disks and by 15mm for 2.5 inches drives. This will give the ability for the drive makers to store more platters per HDD–increasing the capacity by 40%. Also by reducing the width of the platter reduced seek time at a cost of storage capacity can be observed.

Moreover, the paper argues that the correct solution could be a combination both of the ‘stacked higher’ model proposed, and a new, smaller HDD with improved seek as a rapid-response buffer between the network and the less-accessed storage in a data centre. The paper also proposes the possibility that current Bit Error Rate on commercial HDDs is set redundantly high for the purposes of data centre usage, considering the multiple mirroring of data:

Google’s top executives presented the whitepaper at Usenix FAST conference in Santa Clara, CA and said that they were looking for a hard drive maker who could specially quench the capacity needs of Youtube business section.

According to our Forbes, Youtube users upload over 400 hours of video every minute. This clearly means that the California based company will need a Petabytes of storage for its Youtube’s business vertical on daily basis.

So, did WD and Seagate hear the call?


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