Pack rats, beware

Don't box yourself in by buying bigger and bigger hard drives.

It would be tough to argue against installing a bigger hard drive on your home computer. Who wouldn't want more room to store digital pictures and music files? But the same assumption is not true when it comes to federal agencies, where the need for cheap, voluminous storage is even greater.

It turns out that ever-roomier hard drives are not always what agencies need or even want. Regardless of a drive's storage capacity, there is only one way for data to get on or off it, and that's via a mechanical arm that glides just above the spinning disk's surface.

The concern is "contention," which is when a storage system has to juggle

multiple requests for data access at the same time, slowing overall throughput speeds.

"As drives get larger [capacity-wise], there is a good chance that you are storing many different types of data on one drive, increasing the potential for contention," said Alex Gorbansky, a senior analyst with Taneja Group, a storage consulting firm.

Peter Steege, global product marketing manager at hard-drive manufacturer Seagate Technology, said concerns about access speeds are what make the company's 36G and 73G drives the preferred choices among enterprise customers, even though disks that can store hundreds of gigabytes — at much lower costs per gigabyte — are readily available.

Buyers increasingly recognize that applications involving

frequent, random reads and writes, such as databases for

online transactions and some Web sites, will perform better with a greater number of fast, lower-capacity drives, Steege said.

Meanwhile, applications that focus on large, infrequently accessed files, such as digital images, work better with larger-capacity drives.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1986, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

  • Shutterstock image.

    Merged IT modernization bill punts on funding

    A House panel approved a new IT modernization bill that appears poised to pass, but key funding questions are left for appropriators.

  • General Frost

    Army wants cyber capability everywhere

    The Army's cyber director said cyber, electronic warfare and information operations must be integrated into warfighters' doctrine and training.

  • Rising Star 2013

    Meet the 2016 Rising Stars

    FCW honors 30 early-career leaders in federal IT.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group