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Capacity Considerations

If anyone out there thinks bigger disks are a panacea, storage pros will quickly set them straight. While hard drive capacity's on the upswing, it's a challenge to manage it effectively.

There's no question users need more space. Data is expanding like the Blob, threatening to outgrow all kinds of storage systems. In some sectors, data growth of 30 Tbytes to 40 Tbytes annually is expected. (See IBM Scales Up for Healthcare.)

Drive vendors like Hitachi and Seagate are responding to demand with larger drives, and 1-Tbyte versions are ramping up. (See Vendors Tilt Over 1-Tbyte Drives.) Equipment vendors are following suit with disk array upgrades, particularly ones with SATA interfaces. (See Pillar Pushes Provisioning, Capacity and Nexsan Deploys Tbyte Drives.)

Problem is, capacity increases have a downside. Maybe two or three.

First, there's the risk of compounding data errors. "It's a huge issue," says analyst Mike Karp of Enterprise Management Associates. "Disks are getting bigger, but you're not improving the media, you're just making it bigger. If you have one bad spot per million disk sectors, that's multiplied."

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