Storage vendors have had a busy start to the year, banding together to promote new flash-embedded drive technology while independently devising plans to cram more capacity into smaller disk drives.
Five big guns -- Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, Seagate Technology, Fujitsu, Samsung and Toshiba -- formed the Hybrid Storage Alliance, an industry group that will show how hybrid disks that include flash memory can enhance notebook computers.
Hybrid drives have several advantages over traditional hard drives, the group says. They boot up faster, using the flash memory chip, and can resume operations faster after periods of inactivity. They also have lower power consumption than traditional disk drives -- because they curtail the platter spin time, there is less power draw and an extended battery life. Reduced platter spin time also extends the life of the drive. Because data is pulled from flash memory and the drive platter isn't required to spin, the system has greater durability and a longer life.
Installation, too, is easier with hybrid drives. The incorporation of flash memory doesn't require any more space on the host system and, according to the Hybrid Storage Alliance, installing hybrid drives in environments running Windows Vista is as easy as installing traditional drives.
IDC predicts a great deal of success for hybrid drives. The research firm says the disks will comprise 35% of all laptop drives by 2010.