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USB memory stick RAID urchin

A fun and useful way to get more life out of those ancient 32GB flash drives
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A powered hemispherical device covered in USB ports - 32 would be nice - designed to accept olde flash drives of any size, combination, and number. The unit itself would run a simple OS (like Drobo uses) that configures the drives into one large, or as many as the user defines, synthetic drive(s).

Since many of these flash drives incorporate status lighting, the Urchin would enable quite the light show, perhaps even going as far as flashing the lights of all drives in synchronicity, a patterned display for extra geek credit, or just for show. With the right software the flash drives could twinkle in time with music for example.

Of course, whenever you decide to see just how many drives you can pull before the thing dies (your data dies I should say), the Urchin would start playing "Daisy Bell" ever more slowly.

TIB, Mar 27 2009

Memory stick Death Star Memory_20stick_20Death_20Star
[xaviergisz, Mar 27 2009]

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       Thanks [21 Quest].   

       I referred to 32GB flash drives as ancient just to be a little sarcastic regarding the rate of change in this technology, but nobody could be expected to pick up on that past, say, August.   

       Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of 128MB-4GB drives, as I have about 20 of 'em, but again, this number will shift right with time.   

       Not sure about expense or how it would compare with a dedicated storage solution, but I know I'd pay to feel like Dave unplugging HAL - well, at least for a few years until the novelty wore off ;)   

       For an actual storage solution, and not just a souvenir/novelty/party trick, I'd stick to a magnetic drive for now.
TIB, Mar 27 2009
  

       bungston beat you to it. You should give props.
WcW, Mar 27 2009
  

       This would sort of be a makeshift SSD (they actually use the same {but with stricter quality control} flash chips internally). I've heard the same idea proposed by a classmate (I then felt the need to remind him that this setup would be very slow compared to real SSDs due to the crappy controllers in USB flash drives). Its also important to note that with RAID 0 which is probably the sort of configuration you'd want, space = smallest drive * number of drives, and you'd also want to leave the old USB 1.x drives out as you're only as fast as your slowest drive.   

       As for readyboost, well it's not all it's cracked up to be. I put a 600mb readyboost partition on a *RAMdrive* and it made no discernible difference (then again as I said earlier my main drive is an SSD).
Spacecoyote, Mar 27 2009
  

       [bungston]:   

       you did be me to it, and i like yours better! mine is only half as good - the top half...   

       i could envision your death star as a disco ball kinda device, hanging from its power/data cable.   

       was thinking about the speed issue. first, blend any USB 1.x drives then bury the dust in a safe place. now that all the drives will meet a minimum speed, here's what i'd propose to get some actual performance from this entertainment/novelty star/urchin:   

       - have the urchin measure the throughput of each new drive as part of the integration process. the slowest drives would then be used the least, the fastest more often (until they start generating errors). this would be a continuous process as new drives are added. in fact, the urchin may even indicate when it is time to blend a drive that is just too slow, or at least the fact that it will only be used for decoration.   

       - the OS would read many drives in parallel, spreading data amongst them to maximize speed using its own customized hardware and software. the actual interface with the computer could be SATA, USB or Firewire, and would not be subject to the speed limitations of daisy chained flash drives.   

       [Spacecoyote]:   

       it would work more like the drobo, so it can get around smaller drive sizes being a limiting factor. you run an SSD? that's pretty sweet. my next drive will be SSD and my next car electric. gotta love technology!
TIB, Mar 28 2009
  

       Hmm, I think I got that RAID number wrong, haven't messed with RAID in a good while you see.   

       Well the performance of the SSD (OCZ Apex 120gb) is good, but its kind of overpriced for what it is. And it can get hot at times. It hardly ever reaches full transfer speed (always at full seek speed though) because of other bottlenecks in the system (like for instance if you're copying a file from another drive, performance depends on both drives). OTOH I've heard of people getting crazy performance out of RAID arrays of SSDs.
Spacecoyote, Mar 28 2009
  
      
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