Broken Telephone . . .

There’s a game played by children that’s called a variety of names, “telephone” being one of them.

The game is quite simple, you get a bunch of people together in a line, you give the person at one end of the line a message, you have each person in the line whisper the message to the next, then you see what message you end up with by the time it gets to the end of the line.

We just had a game of telephone recently, with a very short line.

You probably saw a headline saying that Seagate was going to come out with a 300 terabyte drive in 2010. Given that we’re just getting to a 1TB drive, that would be one hell of a jump, and one unprecedented in the hard drive industry.

I was more than a bit suspicious about this, so I tracked the information back to its source, and found it here.

What did it actually say?

(emphasis ours)

In the next decade, Seagate plans to hit the market with twin technologies that could fly far beyond, ultimately offering as much as 50 terabits per square inch. On a standard 3.5-inch drive, that’s equivalent to 300 terabits of information, enough to hold the uncompressed contents of the Library of Congress.

In other words, the article actually said, “Sometime in the next decade, Seagate hopes to make up to a thirty-something terabyte drive.” The article hints elsewhere that we may see the enabling technologies show up for sale in 2012, but there’s certainly no specific mention of the year 2010. The only way you get 2010 out of the article is to assume “in the next decade” equals “2010.”

Per size, well, there’s a pretty big difference between terabyte and terabit. Reporting news while upgrading terabits to terabytes is much like upgrading from millimeters to centimeters when talking about a certain part of the male anatomy. In both cases, you’re supposed to know better than to make a mistake like that.

In Any Event . . .

The maxiumum capacity of a hard drive has been growing “telephone”at about 40% a year.

If one projects out that figure generously, and assumes the pace picks up a bit due to the emergence of video servers, you’d see 4-5TB drives in 2010, and maybe 25-30TB drives in 2015. I suspect even these numbers are an exaggeration, but you can see they’re nowhere near 300TB.

So much for that.


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