In a move to give the growing number of notebook PC users faster, more durable systems that run longer on a battery charge, Hitachi, Samsung, Seagate Technology and Toshiba have formed the Hybrid Storage Alliance. The goals of the industry group are two-fold: illustrate how flash memory/hard drive hybrid technology can extend the capabilities of today’s notebook computers and accelerate market adoption of the technology. Market research firm IDC predicts hybrid hard disk drives will constitute 35 percent of all hard disk drives shipped with portable PCs by 2010.
In a move to give the growing number of notebook PC users faster, more
durable systems that run longer on a battery charge, Hitachi*, Samsung, Seagate
Technology and Toshiba have formed the Hybrid Storage Alliance. The goals of the
industry group are two-fold: (1) illustrate how flash memory/hard drive hybrid
technology can extend the capabilities of today’s notebook computers and (2)
accelerate market adoption of the technology.
Market research firm IDC predicts hybrid hard disk drives will constitute 35
percent of all hard disk drives shipped with portable PCs by 2010 (1).
Hybrid hard drive technology is the industry’s answer to growing demand for
notebook PCs that deliver the speed and durability of desktop PCs. Hybrid
technology, which can be deployed in other mobile devices and computing systems,
combines the unmatched capacity and cost-effectiveness of hard drives with the
responsiveness, power-efficiency and durability of flash memory.
"The hard drive industry is continuously looking for ways to bring greater value
to the systems in which our technology resides and to those who use them," said
Joni Clark, chairperson, Hybrid Storage Alliance. "Adding non- volatile memory
to the hard drive brings about a host of mobility benefits that increases the
value users want in notebook PCs — longer battery life, faster response,
greater system durability."
"NAND caching will emerge as an important technology enabler, especially to
improve the performance of portable PCs running the Windows Vista OS," said John
Rydning, IDC’s Research Manager for hard drives. "Hybrid hard drives combine the
best features of two storage technologies in a single product to deliver high
capacity, responsive storage for portable PC users. Formation of the Hybrid
Storage Alliance by HDD industry participants is prudent to raise awareness of
hybrid HDD technology benefits."
The Power of Hybrid
Microsoft Windows Vista is the first operating system to take full advantage of
the performance, power and durability benefits of hybrid technology.
"Microsoft is pleased to see the storage industry uniting to drive the adoption
of hybrid hard drives," said Bill Mitchell, Corporate Vice President of Mobile
and Tailored Platform Division of Microsoft. "Hybrid drives will leverage
‘Windows ReadyDrive’ features in Windows Vista to enable a new generation of
mobile PCs that boot up and resume from hibernation faster, optimize battery
life, outperform standard hard disk drives, and are more reliable and robust."
End users of notebook systems can look for the following potential benefits of
hybrid hard drives:
– Faster boot-up and resume — Once a notebook PC with a traditional drive is
turned on, the hard drive’s platters must spin up before boot-up can begin.
Booting straight from a flash memory chip eliminates this delay. Likewise,
hybrid drives resume operation from hibernation faster than traditional models,
since frequently accessed data is stored in the NAND flash before a system goes
– Lower power consumption — Hybrid drives curtail platter spin time, which
reduces power draw. This, in turn, extends battery life, especially important in
notebook PCs and other mobile applications.
– Higher reliability — Reducing platter spin time extends drive life.
– Greater durability — Every time data is pulled from the flash memory, the
system has greater shock tolerance because the drive platter isn’t spinning.
From a system standpoint, there are several advantages of hybrid hard drive
technology over similar approaches, including:
– Ease of installation — Incorporating flash memory directly onto the hard
drive greatly simplifies installation and does not require additional real
estate on the host system. Furthermore, installing hybrid drives in Windows
Vista systems is as simple as installing traditional drives.
– Data separation/data security — Having flash on the hard drive keeps all the
system information stored in one location so that security or encryption
mechanisms can be employed to protect all the data centrally. Storing data on
the hard drive also helps with data recovery in case of a sudden system
Members of the Hybrid Storage Alliance will be demonstrating hybrid technology
and products at StorageVisions 2007, January 6 and 7 at the Flamingo Hotel in
* Hitachi Global Storage Technologies
(1) Source IDC Link, IDC’s View of Adoption of NAND in the PC, Document
#lcUS20508007, January 2007.
About the Hybrid Storage Alliance
The Hybrid Storage Alliance is an international group dedicated to communicating
the benefits of hybrid hard drive technology to computer makers and end users.
Founding members include Hitachi, Samsung, Seagate Technology and Toshiba. More
information about the association, its members and the technology is available