Backblaze Releases Billion-Hour Hard Drive Reliability Report

jones_supa writes: The storage services provider Backblaze has released its reliability report for Q1/2016 covering cumulative failure rates of mechanical hard disk drives by specific model numbers and by manufacturer. The company noted that as of this…

jones_supa writes: The storage services provider Backblaze has released its reliability report for Q1/2016 covering cumulative failure rates of mechanical hard disk drives by specific model numbers and by manufacturer. The company noted that as of this quarter, its 60,000 drives have cumulatively spun for over one billion hours (100,000 years). Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST) is the clear leader here, with an annual failure rate of just 1% for three years running. The second position is also taken by a Japanese company: Toshiba. Third place goes to Western Digital (WD), with the company’s ratings having improved in the past year. Seagate comes out the worst, though it is suspected that much of that rating was warped by the company’s crash-happy 3 TB drive (ST3000DM001). Backblaze notes that 4 TB drives continue to be the sweet spot for building out its storage pods, but that it might move to 6, 8, or 10 TB drives as the price on the hardware comes down.

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IBM’s Optical Storage Is 50 Times Faster Than Flash, And Also Cheaper

Flash storage is not as fast as the main memory (RAM); but RAM can’t be used to store your regular files because of its volatile nature (and also because it’s expensive). It appears we may soon have the perfect middle ground of the two. Scientists at I…

Flash storage is not as fast as the main memory (RAM); but RAM can’t be used to store your regular files because of its volatile nature (and also because it’s expensive). It appears we may soon have the perfect middle ground of the two. Scientists at IBM have demonstrated reliably storing 3 bits of data per cell using a relatively new memory technology known as phase-change memory (PCM). Engadget reports: To store PCM data on a Blu-ray disk, you apply a high current to amorphous (non-crystalline) glass materials, transforming them into a more conductive crystal form. To read it back, you apply a lower voltage to measure conductivity — when it’s high, the state is “1,” and when it’s low, it’s “0.” By heating up the materials, more states can be stored, but the problem is that the crystals can “drift” depending on the ambient temperature. IBM’s team figured out how to track and encode those variations, allowing them to reliably read 3-bits of data per cell long after it was written. That suddenly makes PCM a lot more interesting — its speed is currently much better than flash, but the costs are as high as RAM thanks to the low density.

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Samsung Unveils 256GB MicroSD Card, Highest Capacity In Its Class

Samsung recently unveiled its EVO Plus 256GB microSD card, capable of storing more than 12 hours of 4K video footage, 33 hours of full HD recording, 55,200 photos or 23,500 MP3s. While you most likely do not need such a large microSD card in your life,…

Samsung recently unveiled its EVO Plus 256GB microSD card, capable of storing more than 12 hours of 4K video footage, 33 hours of full HD recording, 55,200 photos or 23,500 MP3s. While you most likely do not need such a large microSD card in your life, you’ll probably want one. The card features Samsung’s newest V-NAND technology, with read/write speeds of 95MB/s and 90MB/s, respectively. It will be available in June to over 50 countries at a price of $250, which includes a 10 year warranty. Personally, I have no need for such a high-capacity card at this time, but I marvel how far technology has progressed in the last few years, let alone months. SanDisk, for example, revealed a 200GB microSD card back in March, which was the highest capacity microSD card up until now.

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Slashdot Asks: What’s Your View On Benchmark Apps?

There’s no doubt that benchmark apps help you evaluate different aspects of a product, but do they paint a complete picture? Should we utterly rely on benchmark apps to assess the performance and quality of a product or service? Vlad Savov of The Verge…

There’s no doubt that benchmark apps help you evaluate different aspects of a product, but do they paint a complete picture? Should we utterly rely on benchmark apps to assess the performance and quality of a product or service? Vlad Savov of The Verge makes an interesting point. He notes that DxOMark (a hugely popular benchmark app for testing a camera) rating of HTC 10’s camera sensor is equal to that of Samsung’s Galaxy S7, however, in real life shooting, the Galaxy S7’s shooter offers a far superior result. “I’ve used both extensively and I can tell you that’s simply not the case — the S7 is outstanding whereas the 10 is merely good.” He offers another example: If a laptop or a phone does well in a web-browsing battery benchmark, that only gives an indication that it would probably fare decently when handling bigger workloads too. But not always. My good friend Anand Shimpi, formerly of AnandTech, once articulated this very well by pointing out how the MacBook Pro had better battery life than the MacBook Air — which was hailed as the endurance champ — when the use changed to consistently heavy workloads. The Pro was more efficient in that scenario, but most battery tests aren’t sophisticated or dynamic enough to account for that nuance. It takes a person running multiple tests, analyzing the data, and adding context and understanding to achieve the highest degree of certainty. The problem is — more often than not — gadget reviewers treat these values as the most important signal when judging a product, which in turn, also influences several readers’ opinion. What’s your take on this?

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Tesla Will Install More Energy Storage With SolarCity In 2016 Than The US Installed In 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Tesla is scheduled to install more energy storage capacity in 2016 with SolarCity alone than all of the US installed in 2015. It was revealed in a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that Tes…

An anonymous reader writes: Tesla is scheduled to install more energy storage capacity in 2016 with SolarCity alone than all of the US installed in 2015. It was revealed in a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that Tesla foresees an almost 10x increase in sales to SolarCity for behind the meter storage. [From the SEC filing: “We recognized approximately $4.9 million in revenue from SolarCity during fiscal year 2015 for sales of energy storage governed by this master supply agreement, and anticipate recognizing approximately $44.0 million in such revenues during fiscal year 2016.”] This revenue projection means Tesla expects to install approximately 116 MWh of behind the meter storage. The U.S. for example installed about 76 MWh of behind the meter storage. SolarCity and Tesla Energy doubled their battery installation volume last year. What’s particularly noteworthy is that the 116 MWh expectation does not include SolarCity’s biggest project — Kauai Island’s coming 52 MWh system. Hawaii is aiming for 100% renewable energy by 2045 and has contracted with SolarCity to balance the two 12MW Solar Power plants with the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC). By 2020, there will be 70 GWh of Tesla battery storage on the road, and Straubel expects there to be 10 GWh of controllable load in those cars.

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Study Finds That Humidity Has More Effect On Drive Failures Than Temperature

AmiMoJo writes: A study by Rutgers University and Microsoft has found that hard drives are more prone to failure due to high levels of humidity [PDF] than high temperature. With a view to ‘free cooling’ data centres (using low external air temperature …

AmiMoJo writes: A study by Rutgers University and Microsoft has found that hard drives are more prone to failure due to high levels of humidity [PDF] than high temperature. With a view to ‘free cooling’ data centres (using low external air temperature for cooling to save power), the paper notes that humidity related malfunctions of the driver controller / adapter are the dominant cause of drive failure. The good news is that while the researchers found that high relative humidity was a significant factor in drive failures, “[S]oftware
availability techniques can mask them and enable freecooled operation, resulting in significantly lower infrastructure and energy costs that far outweigh the cost of the extra component failures.”

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Facebook Preps Its Infrastructure For a Virtual Reality Future

1sockchuck writes: Facebook is building a new generation of open hardware, part of its vision for powerful data centers that will use artificial intelligence and virtual reality to deliver experiences over the Internet. At the Open Compute Summit, Face…

1sockchuck writes: Facebook is building a new generation of open hardware, part of its vision for powerful data centers that will use artificial intelligence and virtual reality to deliver experiences over the Internet. At the Open Compute Summit, Facebook shared details of its work to integrate more SSDs, GPUs, NVM and a “Just a Bunch of Flash” storage sled to accelerate its infrastructure. The company’s infrastructure ambitions are also powered by CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s embrace of virtual reality, reflected in the $2 billion acquisition of VR pioneer Oculus. “Over the next decade, we’re going to build experiences that rely more on technology like artificial intelligence and virtual reality,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “These will require a lot more computing power.”

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Raspberry Pi Gets Affordable, Power Efficient 314GB Hard Drive On Pi Day

Mickeycaskill writes: Western Digital has released a had drive optimized for the Raspberry Pi. The 314GB drive, released on Pi Day (3/14), costs $31.42 for a limited time and promises to be more reliable, power efficient and easier to use with the comp…

Mickeycaskill writes: Western Digital has released a had drive optimized for the Raspberry Pi. The 314GB drive, released on Pi Day (3/14), costs $31.42 for a limited time and promises to be more reliable, power efficient and easier to use with the computer than other storage. The company, which also has a 1TB drive, says the unit has been designed to coordinate with the Pi’s own power systems in order to minimize energy use without affecting the maximum data transfer rate on a USB connection. The Raspberry Pi Foundation says the new drive will stimulate the development of storage-hungry projects.

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Intel’s Optane SSD Compatible With NVMe; Could Boost MacBook Storage Speeds By 1000 Times

More details have emerged about Intel’s Optane, a new kind of memory and SSD that utilizes 3D Xpoint. The upcoming 3D Xpoint technology, which is supposedly 10 times denser than DRAM and 1,000 times faster than flash storage, will be compatible with NV…

More details have emerged about Intel’s Optane, a new kind of memory and SSD that utilizes 3D Xpoint. The upcoming 3D Xpoint technology, which is supposedly 10 times denser than DRAM and 1,000 times faster than flash storage, will be compatible with NVMe, a storage protocol that allows an SSD to make effective use of a high-speed PCIe. Several MacBook Pro models already support NVMe technology.

Apple is often among the first companies to adopt emerging standards and technologies, which has led many to believe that the Cupertino-based company might leverage Intel’s Optane solid state drives for super fast performance speeds in its next batch of laptops. Apple is expected to announce the refreshed MacBook lineup sporting Intel Skylake processor later this year.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Intel’s Optane SSD Compatible With NVMe; Could Boost MacBook Storage Speeds By 1000x

More details have emerged about Intel’s Optane, a new kind of memory and SSD that utilizes 3D Xpoint. The upcoming 3D Xpoint technology, which is supposedly 10 times denser than DRAM and 1,000 times faster than flash storage, will be compatible with NV…

More details have emerged about Intel’s Optane, a new kind of memory and SSD that utilizes 3D Xpoint. The upcoming 3D Xpoint technology, which is supposedly 10 times denser than DRAM and 1,000 times faster than flash storage, will be compatible with NVMe, a storage protocol that allows an SSD to make effective use of a high-speed PCIe. Several MacBook Pro models already support NVMe technology.

Apple is often among the first companies to adopt emerging standards and technologies, which has led many to believe that the Cupertino-based company might leverage Intel’s Optane solid state drives for super fast performance speeds in its next batch of laptops. Apple is expected to announce the refreshed MacBook lineup sporting Intel Skylake processor later this year.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.