Not as sexy as getting horizontal, but a lot more space effective. In case we were wondering if disk drives were going to continue their phenomenal capacity growth for the next few years, now we know.

But I’m not really writing about that, which will be old news to faithful readers. But I love Hitachi’s marketing effort for what is basically a pretty dry piece of good (and therefore boring) technology news.

The Hitachi musical introduction is a must see.

Go to and check it out. Somebody had a lot of fun making this!

Thinking about the implications of continued storage density growth is more interesting to me. What are some likely outcomes?

• Laptops will start moving to 1.8″ and smaller drives for size, weight and power, enabling full feature sub 3-lb machines (my first laptop was the original HP Omnibook 300 with 10MB flash drive and a screaming 20MHz 386SX, the industry’s first workable 3 lb. laptop, and it has spoiled me for anything larger ever since). I expect next-gen Mac PowerBooks to incorporate the same 1.8″ drives used in iPods later this year.

• 3.5″ enterprise drives will be replaced by 2.5″ SATA drives — not so much due to lower drive cost, but lower power, packaging, cooling and footprint issues. EMC will be the last major vendor to convert to the new form factor.

• High-capacity 2.5″ SATA drives will find their way into consumer RAID arrays, as consumers start grappling with problems of large accumulations of digital data that enterprises have had for years.

• Blade servers will become complete systems with on-board RAID arrays of cheap 1.8″ and even 1″ SATA drives, eliminating costly FC interfaces and simplifying storage admin.

• 3.5″ drives will begin a long, slow decline, but will find a major new market replacing many tape storage systems. Some smart (or more likely, desperate) drive vendor will produce a stripped-down drive designed to compete with tape cartridges on a cost and longevity basis.

What a great time to be in the storage industry! I believe the best is yet to come as the storage focus starts moving from the enterprise to the consumer.