RAID++, HDD's and Ownership

The underpinning of Data Storage, especially for large Enterprises, fundamentally shifted when disk drive capacity increase dropped below 7%/year (40% in 5 years, the design-life of HDD's).

Disk Drives are now consumables, not assets, albeit with a 5-year life. The number of Enterprises with 2,000-5,000 drives in their server room and 10-50,000 drives in their desktop fleet is increasing.

I posit the following following from this:

  • Data is the lifeblood of all Enterprises, they are guaranteed to fail if they lose their digital records.
  • Data Security, as a right (from state surveillance) and the technical ability to keep data private on- and off-premise, is a requirement of conducting business digitally.
  • Drives are constructed of increasingly exotic materials, all in short supply.
    • There is now a requirement for Secure disassembly and material reclamation of drives.
In the new world of high-count RAID devices, I suggest the following are necessary within the Drive Industry business model:
  • Enterprises pay fixed yearly costs per 1,000 drives, covering:
    • replacement of failed drives
    • yearly supply of replacement drives vs "big-bang" replacement of all drives in units
    • secure & audited collection and break-down of replaced drives.
  • Uncontested ownership of Drives and Data used by Enterprises & Individuals.
    • If either drive supplier or customer ceases to trade, the rights to the Data and ownership of drives is incontestable. The supply contracts cannot be leases.
    • This condition is overwhelmingly important for off-premise drives, particularly backups and archives written over-the-wire and maintained by the Drive Supplier.
  • Off-site drives, for Continuous Data Protection/Business Continuity, Snapshots, Backups and Archives must be both Secure and specifically identified as owned by a nominated customer.
    • Sharing of drives mustn't be allowed, though multiple customers may share the same RAID array.
    • This is especially important for seeding Disaster Recovery sites.
      • If necessary, the Preservation Supplier can, overnight, supply new drives containing the Enterprise Data, installed in RAID arrays and ship to the customers recovery site. Easiest if co-located.

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