Thursday, March 08, 2007

Storage Update

We can certainly store a pretty penny's worth of data on our magnetic disks -- 80 gigabytes is common, 120 gigabytes is affordable and even 160 gigabytes and higher can be had today if the need justifies. But as we keep learning in Storage Updates seemingly every month, new techniques are being born that hold the very real promise of making today's hundred-or-so gigabyte disk drives seem like the .01 gigabyte (10 megabyte) RL02 disk drives that were the cat's meow just 20 years ago.

Brought to our attention by readers Rodney Jones, Ryan Erickson and others, the Feb. 3 ( reports that Harsh Chopra, a scientist at the State University of New York, has developed sensors that can detect individual magnetic fields 1,000-times smaller than the magnetic ones and zeros used by today's best disk drives.

He developed "microscopic whiskers of nickel only a few atoms wide at room temperature... That degree of sensitivity means terabits of data -- or trillions of bits -- could be crammed into a square inch of disk space. About 160 terabits comprise the entire contents of the Library of Congress."

Or, as an NSF press release ( puts it:

"This could enable the storage of 50 or more DVDs on a hard drive the size of a credit card."

The Harrow Group

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