The Future of Local Photo Storage

Today, I saw the future of how we are all going to deal with our Photo Storage issues in the near future. DEMO is a launchpad for new technologies. Startups who get invited to DEMO, get 5-6 minutes to present themselves to a room full of investors and partners. Looking through the DEMOfall07 videos, I found Fusion-IO. They are a storage company who created a silicon based storage device with amazing speeds. Think of a bunch of high speed CF cards tied together to look like a hard drive…

The video below is their presenations (caution, it’s a bit techie at times…but don’t worry, I’ll explain some of the stuff after the video):

About a year ago I made an investment in a Network Storage System (the Infrant ReadyNAS NV+). I love this system, expandable, looks good on your desk, doesn’t make a lot of noise, and loaded with features. Performance however, was less than I had hoped for. Infrant (now owned by NetGear) said that this system was designed for moving large files. So, I figured it would work great at handeling 5-50 Meg image files from my photography. Not so. Even when upgrading my home network to a Gigabit Switched network, I was still only seeing OK performance.

Side Blur: Anyone who is interested in the detailed performance review I did of this NAS, just contact me. I ran numerous performance tests when I bought it and have the data to share if you’re interesting…Just haven’t had the time to do a write up about it. Also, check the Infrant Forum for performance numbers that customer’s have posted.

For example, the best performance was when I read a 10Meg file from the NAS to my computer: I saw 41 megabits per second (or 166 IOs per second) which used only 33% of my super fast network. And write data to the NAS was only about half that speed.

Now, image a NAS device that is built out of the Fusion-IO solid state drives. First off, this thing should be almost silent. Secondly, it should be able to easily read and write data fast enough to fully utilize a Gigabit network. If the IODrive can do 100,000 IOs per second, the network will be the bottlneck. Now image hooking up your CF cards to the device and litteraly having the photos sucked down onto the NAS. I can see download times of a 8 Gig CF in seconds if the box would be built right.

And that would nothing compared to having these drives inside your high performance photo editing system…forget the network and go direct!

Ok, I’m dreaming a bit here…or maybe just gazing into the crystal ball. This thing doesn’t exist quite yet. But I would image it should only be a mater of time before some inventive company builds a home or small business NAS out of these. And I can see it only be a mater of time before Apple incorporates these IODrives into their servers and MacPros with optimal performance.

Even better…image your laptop’s hard drive consisting of these! No worries about hard drive crashes while out in the wild on a shoot. And the speed inside a laptop should be even faster than going across your local high speed network. An added bonus of increased battery performance as well (the hard drives and the screen are the two things that usually draw the most power). Here I’m not dreaming as I know Samsung already has a Solid State Drive they are marketing to laptop manufacturers and they should be available on the market soon.

Now, will it void my warranty if I install one of these in my new MacBook Pro?

One thought

  1. I have a ReadyNAS NV+ also and I like it for the most part. I tweaked until I get speeds pretty close to a USB2 external drive. Still not that great for file transfers.

    But I also recently got a Firewire 800 external, and this thing smokes even my internal drives. So I use my NAS for long term photo storage (files that are basically done until I need to pull them up again) – and use my internals and the Firewire as working drives.

    The solid state ones do look promising.

    [Reply]

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