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This is the time of year I like to do a little early spring cleaning and one group of storage devices due a clean out are my old hard drives.

Personal Computing: The End of The Parallel Interface

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This is the time of year I like to do a little early spring cleaning and one group of storage devices due a clean out are my old hard drives.  After many faithful years, I’m finally saying goodbye to all of my parallel ATA devices. 

One the one hand, I hate throwing things out.  I like to use technology to the absolute limit, but eventually some things outlive their usefulness and so it has come to pass for PATA hard disks.  Unfortunately the maths and environmentals no longer stack up.

Capacity and Power

I’m disposing of twelve (12) 3.5″ drives that have a total capacity of only 344GB.  That’s a mere 28GB per HDD.  The lowest capacity drive is only 1280MB in size.  Contrast that to the latest hard drive I’ve just purchased.  It’s (another) 2TB model – the Seagate Barracuda ST32000542AS.  This drive offers five (5) times more capacity for only 1/12 of the physical space and power requirements.  With these kind of gains in efficiency, why retain old drives any further? 

RAID and Speed

Now of course, multiple drives have one or two benefits over a single hard drive; firstly they can be protected using RAID and second, multiple spindles provide improved throughput.  However the cost of 1TB and 2TB drives is now so low, they can be purchased in multiples reasonably cheaply and the RAID benefits retained.

Recycling

As a final thought, I think we should be doing more to recycle old hard drives.  After all, we recycle mundane components such as printer ink cartridges, batteries and so on.  Perhaps we could see a slot for hard disks at the local recycling centre?

About Chris M Evans

Chris M Evans has worked in the technology industry since 1987, starting as a systems programmer on the IBM mainframe platform, while retaining an interest in storage. After working abroad, he co-founded an Internet-based music distribution company during the .com era, returning to consultancy in the new millennium. In 2009 Chris co-founded Langton Blue Ltd (www.langtonblue.com), a boutique consultancy firm focused on delivering business benefit through efficient technology deployments. Chris writes a popular blog at http://blog.architecting.it, attends many conferences and invitation-only events and can be found providing regular industry contributions through Twitter (@chrismevans) and other social media outlets.
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