Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The futility of re-using old storage

I was over at a facility doing a site survey for a fibre network and the owner/operator told me how he planned to re-deploy his ancient 300gig LanShare storage system as an MP3 storage pool. I did a little mental calculation about the economics of re-using old storage; That model of LanShare consumes a bit less than a kilowatt of power - now I'm assuming he's paying seven or eight pence for a Kw/h and so by doing the maths (and bearing in mind the cost of a 300 gig drive - £69.00 inc. VAT today) he's burning that much electricity every three weeks! Even setting aside the cost of administrating ANY Avid storage (and the licensing considerations, needing client connection software etc. etc.) there is no good reason to re-use an old LanShare or Unity.
I had the same argument a few years ago with someone who wanted to re-use a 10x9gig fibre array - the cost of a fibre HBA to allow him to re-use it in a PC was many times the cost of a 120gig drive (and I didn't even do the power calculation) - it's NEVER worth it.

A facility I worked at in the mid-nineties had Paltex edit controllers (of a mid-eighties vintage!). Anyhow - back then the EPROMs containing the software were only 32 Kbytes big. Eventually the system software got to requiring 64 Kbytes of space and so they had to produce an updated system board that actually had the A16 line wired. Imagine my horror when (to avoid the £800 upgrade cost) I had to manually wire (with kynar wire) the most-significant address line on old 32K-capable system boards! By the time I'd finished a couple of them they looked like birds' nests and were about as stable as Charles Manson!
Incidentally - the kilobyte is an obsolete measurement of memory size. Back in the eighties skilled programmers could pack a lot of functionality into a 'K' - I saw a chess program that played a very respectable opening coded in that much space. Nowadays (when programmers are called developers and bolt objects together rather than writing computer code) the megabyte will soon the an obsolete term.
The megahertz is an obsolete term that refers to the speed of old microprocessors' clocks....

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