New research by Storage Analytics has found that data can be lost when disks are rotated at super-fast speeds.

The company tested increasing disk rotation speeds to see how data access times improved. It found however that at speeds of 72,000rpm and above while access times actually increased, access often failed completely. Investigations with a highly sensitive oscilloscope revealed that the signals that denote binary ones and zeros were absent. Instead a uniform magnetic field had appeared in several areas of the disk.

Storage Analytics research VP Puhlin Mah Legge explained: "It appears that there is an upper rotating magnetic limit - URML - above which the different magnetic fields start to merge. You could say that, in effect, the data bits just fly off the disk."

The impact of this is that disk suppliers such as HGST, Maxtor, Seagate and Western Digital will have to look in other directions to improve data access time in future. Seagate is already promoting the concept of arrays of smaller, 2.5 inch drives, to increase the number of I/Os per drive array shelf overall instead of increasing the I/O rate per disk drive.

Another possible direction is to increase the number of platters inside a drive. But this increases the likelihood of mechanical failure in the drive.

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