Writing about hard drives is not the most interesting area of my job, but I have to be responsible. It seems fitting, therefore, that this HDD news piece is all about responsibility.
With the launch of its latest Caviar branded 400GB, 7,200RPM, 16MB cache, SATA monster Western Digital chose not to blow the capacity trumpet or honk its speed horn (a phrase related to Adrianna Lima methinks). Instead, it piped up in a Swedish car manufacturer kind of way about reliability and manufacturer obligations. A load of statistics followed.
Sorting through them, perhaps most impressive is the mean time failure rate, which is given as 1.2m hours when operating constantly in a 24 hour per day environment. Secondly, the Rotary Acceleration Feed Forward (inevitably abbreviated to RAFF) mechanism has been introduced to protect against regular vibration. Finally, the Time-Limited Error Recovery (yes, TLER) system safeguards the drive from the harm caused by data recovery programmes – since they have a history of being pretty hard on HDDs when they attempt to claw back lost information from software failures.
WD seems to believe very strongly in these concepts too, calling the 400GB Caviar RE2 “the world’s most reliable” SATA hard drive and it walks the walk by backing this up with a standard five year warranty.
Now boring as this may seem compared to the usual flash about size and speed (which incidentally the RE2 has with its hundreds of gigabytes, 4.2ms average latency and 8.7ms average seek time) all this is rather comforting. This is for one very good reason – and whisper it – hard drives go kabluey a lot more regularly than the majority of non-backer-uppers let themselves (me included) believe in order to sleep at night.
So, amongst all these reassuring details there is just one worrying thing: I quite enjoyed writing a story about HDD reliability... I’m off to make forehead shaped indents in my desk.