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Something to mull over. This morning I helped my partner in crime at work add a second Dell PowerVault loaded with 12 x 18GB drives to the main city file server. Due to a wrinkle with the Dell PERC RAID controller, they got setup as two six-disk RIAD 5 sets, which we then striped into a 162GB volume. This brings the total disk on this server up 677GB ... a whopping pile of high-speed, expensive, 10,000RPM SCSI disks. Total cost, somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000 when you add in the two PowerVault chassis.

This afternoon I realized that that 50GB data drive on our household file server was over 80% full. I had been thinking of buying some new disks, and I knew that the price differential between SCSI disks and IDE (now SATA in IDE's latest generation) disks has been getting wider. SCSI drives are still way ahead in terms of performance, but I wasn't quite prepared to see that 73GB SCSI disks were going for ~$850 while I could get 160GB SATA drives for ~$99. Shit. Granted, they're 7200RPM drives, and they have all the limitations inherent to IDE, but damn, it's 1/16 the cost per Gig! So, I ordered a SATA RAID card ($39) and a pair of 160GB SATA drives. It'll take another few years before The Misses and I fill these drives with papers and MP3s!

I'm still stunned by the 16 x cost factor between current SCSIs and SATA drives. Hell, I'm still floored by the fact that I can buy disks for less than a buck a Gig. This is a terrible insider reference, but I remember The Lecher sweating bullets over the $340 he spent on an 80 meg drive for his BBS. That was four bucks a meg in 1989. Now it's under a buck a gig for "high-end desktop/workstation" drives . . . which are prefectly good for the household server.

Is there any other business on Earth that has economics like mine?

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January 2017


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