It’s a bit of an understatement to say that Howard Marks knows a thing or two about storage. Fresh off his review of how RAID works, Howard is taking a historical look at the evolution of hard drives themselves.
I don’t have a ton of background on storage history, outside of my own experience, so the series is fascinating. Howard walks through the direct antecedent of modern disk drive, Seagate’s 5 ¼” ST-506. He touches on the era of removable disk media, 14″ high performance drives (which boggles the mind), the integration of drive controllers onto disks, and the emergence of rotary voice coils.
The engineering required for hard drives also seems miraculous to me. Looking back at the history of storage, it’s clear that modern drives are the result of a gradual but continuous evolution with lots of competing ideas along the way.
Howard Marks comments: