Cool storage at CES - part 2

Summary:After yesterday's post I walked through the rest of CES looking for new data storage - and found some. Lots of flash SSDs, a new idea in safe backups and a new removable hard drive.

After yesterday's post I walked through the rest of CES looking for new data storage - and found some. Lots of flash SSDs, a new idea in safe backups and a new removable hard drive.

Cool stuff

SSDsEveryone, it seemed, was showing off their new flash solid state disks (SSD) - even if they weren't shipping. At Storage Visions an analyst explained that flash demand and pricing would be different from now on, thanks to steadier year around demand.

SSDs are the great hope of the NAND flash industry. Flash demand has tended to peak around Christmas each year, when millions of digital cameras, camcorders, thumb drives and the like get unwrapped.

That creates a problem for the flash factories that need to run all year to make a profit. Answer: reduce the seasonality of flash demand by developing new markets. Enter the SSD.

The good news was that I talked to several flash SSD engineers who candidly acknowledged the performance problems of today's flash drives. They know there is more engineering required before flash drive performance will catch up with the hype.

Intel showed me a prototype SSD that they claim fixes the SSD performance problem. The demo was impressive, to be sure. Until I see independent testing I'll reserve judgement.

Data vaults Seagate showed off a couple of items in its SentrySafe family of data storage fire safes. My favorite stores 60 DVDs and a USB hard drive. There is a USB cable from the safe to your computer and an interior USB cable. You can back up your data to the drive without opening the safe.


I've been wondering when someone would do that. And no, you can't stick a Drobo in one - only USB powered storage.

Removable hard disk Hitachi's Maxell division is introducing yet another removable hard drive format - which makes at least 3 by my count: Pro-stor, Lexar and now iVDR. "iVDR " stands for Information Versatile Disk for Removable usage.

The goal of the iVDR group is a standard, high-capacity removable media for consumer owned or created content. HD camcorder to HDTV, MP3 collection to car audio and hm-m, what else? It has heavy DRM built-in - via a Japanese consortium named Safia.

Will iVDR fly? Most consumers will stick with cheap and flexible external USB drives until iVDR comes up with a killer app. Moving data from a camcorder to a TV doesn't seem to be that app, but maybe they know something I don't.

Show floor special: Get $50 off a Drobo. Use discount code CES2008.

Comments welcome. How would you use iVDR?

Topics: Storage, Hardware


Robin Harris is Chief Analyst at TechnoQWAN LLC, a storage research and consulting firm he founded in 2005. Based in Sedona, Arizona, TechnoQWAN focuses on emerging technologies, products, companies and markets. Robin has over 35 years experience in the IT industry and earned degrees from Yale and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton... Full Bio

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