Cool storage at CES - part 2

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.

TOPICS: Storage, Hardware

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 has been a computer buff for over 35 years and selling and marketing data storage for over 30 years in companies large and small.

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  • Data Backup

    I think iVDR (I can just hear it now -- "iVDR? Isn't that the Video Disk Recorder for the iPod?") won't take off until someone develops an inexpensive thingajiggy that lets you connect an iVDR drive to your PC to do data backup. Better yet -- put in the cable and circuitry into the HD Cameras that not only allow you to move your videos to your PC, but lets you use your camera as the backup device for your PC.

    (Don't laugh. I'm old enough to remember when tape backup devices were blessedly expensive, and someone came up with a way to use your off-the-shelf VCR as your tape backup device.)