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Slip Sliding Away

As if we weren't
having enough fun integrating flash and RAM SSDs into the datacenter; startup
DataSlide is proposing a new magnetic storage device that promises to deliver
performance well beyond today's flash based SSDs.  

The device, now in
prototype form with a capacity of 36GB, is made up of a sandwich using 3
rectangular sheets of Corning's ultra flat glass with the diamond like carbon
coating used on hard disks as a lubricant. 
The center sheet has a sputtered magnetic coating like typical hard
drives while the top and bottom sheets have massive arrays of read/write heads
printed with the kind of lithographic processes used to create LCD panels and
integrated circuits.

The center sheet is
slid back and forth by a piezoelectric positioner and a return spring. By using
enough heads to dedicate a head for each data sector the linear motion required
is just about 100 microns or enough to move the data sheet a little more than
one sector's distance.

DataSlide's technology
is reminiscent of a go-fast technology of the past, the head per track disk of
the early 80s, in an everything old is new again kind of way.  I've loved the concept of head per track ever
since I used one as a frame buffer on a digital special effects system I built
for Orion Pictures in 1985. The idea behind head per track disks was if the
mechanical motion of the heads from track to track, which took 30ms or more in
those days, was the limiting factor in performance just add more heads so they
don't need to move.

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