Liquid Hard Drives Could be the Future!

Here at Fields Data Recovery, were interested in all developments in the world of data storage, particularly those that are new, unique and have the potential to provide mass storage in small devices. Imagine, then, how excited we were to hear that researchers at the University of Michigan and New York University have developed a means of storing electronic data in liquid and that, thanks to this revolutionary technique, a terabyte of data could be stored in the amount of liquid that would fill a tablespoon!

In order to achieve this, academics suspend clusters of nanoparticles (which can store more data that your run-of-the-mill computer bit) in liquid. These particles can move in order to create different storage states with researcher Carolyn Phillips stating: “You can use the same mathematics that describes a Rubik’s Cube to show that every rearrangement of the cluster’s spheres is possible and reachable.”

Unfortunately, the teams have noted that, before liquid hard drives can become a reality, they’ll need to develop a means of ensuring that the clusters of nanoparticles form the correct shapes within large volumes of liquid and then read the data quickly.

It’s an extremely interesting field of study, then, but we’re unlikely to see smartphones with 1TB liquid hard drives any time soon.

What is Cold Storage?

It may sound like something you’d use in order to keep foodstuffs fresher for longer but, whilst this is the case in certain industries, it means something very different in the world of data storage

The amount of data that we are creating and storing has grown considerably in recent years, yet the vast majority of it is not accessed regularly. Instead many of us retain data because we are legally obliged to do so or simply because we recognise the possibility of it one day being useful. To store such data on HDDs, SSDs, flash drives or other devices is, therefore, not cost-effective. Hence the need for storage media which, as it does not need to access data quickly, is significantly cheaper than other data storage technology. These are known as cold storage devices.

Cold storage, then, is essentially the means of storing data which the user intends to never or very rarely access. Common devices used for cold storage include tape, CDs and low cost hard drives.

Should you be Required to Store Your Data in the UK?

Last week Russia passed a law stating that all of its citizens must store their data in centres based within their country only. The reason being that, should the authorities need to access this data for any reason, it will, legally speaking, be far easier for them to gain access to it.

Unsurprisingly, though – particularly when concerns regarding the NSA and invasions of privacy are taken into consideration – many feel that this new law is excessive and is, ultimately, a veiled attempt at gathering greater access to peoples’ personal data.

On the other hand, a number of people have argued that law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear as they will have nothing to hide. Some would state that such assessments are superficial – pointing out, quite correctly, that we are all entitled to privacy – but this has been countered by others noting the growth of cybercrime and the clear need for new laws to combat it.

What do you think? Should people be required to store data in centres located throughout the UK in order to make it easier for authorities to conduct investigations when they deem it necessary or do you think that our right to privacy supersedes such concerns? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment.

How a Dog Can Find Hidden Data

You may think that locating data that people have hidden away would involve complex software, state-of-the-art laboratories and highly trained technicians, but whilst this is indeed the case when the storage media is to hand, what do you do when a guilty party has hidden their drive? Step forward Thoreau, a golden Labrador retriever employed by the Rhode Island Police force.

After receiving 22 weeks of training Thoreau is able to smell the various metals and other components that comprise hard drives, USB sticks and several other types of storage media – all in exchange for the occasional treat.

Thoreau is part of a new initiative, currently utilised by the police departments of both Rhode Island and Connecticut, within which dogs are being used to locate storage devices that nefarious individuals have hidden in residential properties. So far, it seems to have been a success.

Just last month, Thoreau found a flash drive containing child pornography that had been hidden inside a tin box which, in turn, had also been hidden inside a metal cabinet.

Unfortunately, Thoreau isn’t going to be able to help you find that spreadsheet you accidentally deleted (you’ll need Fields Data Recovery for that) but we think he’s still pretty impressive nevertheless.

Research Centre Receives £8.1 Million to Develop New Data Storage Technologies

A research centre has received £8.1 million in funding in order to improve and develop new technologies for the data storage sector.

The centre has been setup by the University of Glasgow, Queen’s University of Belfast and twelve industry partners and has received £3 million in funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council with the remainder coming from the aforementioned institutions and their various partners.

The universities and their partners will initially train a total of 50 PhD students in order to develop new data storage technologies, as well as further develop those already in existence, in order to address the world’s continuously increasing demand for data storage.

The centre’s predominant aim will be to increase the storage density of devices by improving on existing techniques such as heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), as well as improve the techniques used to produce storage devices such as nanofabrication and photonic integration; practices which involve utilising several optical components – such as lasers, modulators, detectors, multiplexers and optical amplifiers – on the same platform.

Students that enrol on the course will be able to work from Glasgow and/or Belfast following them having completed an initial three-week training period in Dublin.

Amongst the companies and organisations that have partnered with the Universities are hard drive manufacturer Seagate and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland.

How to Free Up Storage Space on iPhones and iPads

If you’re anything like us here at Fields Data Recovery, then your smartphone and tablet are essential items that you use every day, not just for texting calling or browsing the internet, but for playing games, listening to music, using any number of apps and much more.

Unfortunately, as these devices have only limited storage space, it’s all too easy to find yourself unable to install that new app or to upgrade your operating system. It’s for this very reason that we’ve started performing ‘memory audits’ on our devices every month; it guarantees that we always have enough space free to enjoy them. And now, we’re going to share our tips and tricks with you, staring with Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices.

Delete Superfluous Apps

It may seem obvious, but deleting apps that you no longer use will free up a significant amount of space. We’ve all downloaded apps and then never used them – why let them eat up your storage space. Simply go to Settings>General>Usage and you’ll be presented with a list of the files occupying your device’s storage space. Simply delete the apps that you no longer use and, hey presto: more storage space.

Clean Up Your Music

Yes, we know; you want all of your music to be accessible to you at all times but sometimes this just isn’t practicable. Simply go to your music app, find tracks that you rarely (or, if you’re like me, never) listen to and then simply swipe your finger across the track title. A ‘Delete’ button will then appear. Click on it and free up some extra space.

Back Up and Delete Photos and Videos

If you’re camera happy, then you’re going to find that your storage space is going to run out very quickly. Luckily, you don’t need to delete your photos/videos permanently – simply back up your device through iTunes before deleting them.

Delete Your Messages

You may not think that text messages take up much space but if your friends send you pictures, audio files or video, they can quickly eat up your device’s space. Simply delete older messages and you’ll be surprised how much space this frees up.

Delete your Cache and Reading List

Again, you wouldn’t think that these take up much space, but you could be surprised – particularly if you’ve got a large reading list. In order to clear these, head to Settings> General> Usage> Safari and then click on ‘Edit’; a ‘Delete’ button will appear next to ‘Offline Reading List, click on it to free up some more space.

In order to delete your internet cache go to Settings> Safari and then tap on ‘Clear Cookies and Data.’

IBM Makes Further Advances with Tape Storage

Just one week after Sony unveiled its 185TB tape, a joint effort from IBM and Fujifilm looks set to steal a little of their thunder.

Via a joint venture, the companies have created a new storage tape of their own which stores an impressive 154 terabytes of data. Granted, this is less than Sony’s effort but, with both IBM and Fujifilm having stated that they expect to achieve higher storage capacities soon – and taking the history of both companies into consideration – it is by no means surprising that many commentators are claiming that Sony will be exiting this market fairly soon.

Recent developments in the field of tape storage are expected to maintain a technology that had previously been thought of as becoming obsolete. The growth of big data and the demand for data storage has resulted in many companies requiring a robust and cost-effective means of storing data on a long-term basis and it is believed that tapes with high storage densities could provide them with the solution that they require.

Is Tape the Future of Long-Term Data Storage?

With it having been predicted that as much as 40 trillion gigabytes of data will exist in 2020 – and that this will lead to demand outstripping supply – the need for robust and large-scale forms of storage media cannot be understated. Fortunately, Sony’s latest product could be just what’s needed.

The Japanese firm announced on Monday that, thanks to improvements to a technique known as ‘sputter deposition,’ they have produced a storage tape that holds a truly astonishing 185 terabytes of data. Significantly, the prior record for a storage tape was 35 terabytes; five times less than Sony’s latest effort.

This is of no real significance to consumers, but is big, big news for businesses that need to store large volumes of data. This tape will not, in spite of its extremely impressive capacity, replace HDDs or SSDs in RAIDs or servers as, unlike these devices, it is unable to retrieve the data held on it in anything other than a sequential manner. It is therefore not suitable for storing data that organisations need readily available, but for archiving data that may need to be reviewed in the future or that a company is legally required to keep, these tapes are unmatched.

So, what do you think? Are these tapes the future of long-term data storage? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Global Shipments of Hard Drives Predicted to Rise

We recently wrote about a new series of SSDs from Sandisk that have been designed in order to challenge hard drives positions as the leading type of storage media used in data centres. Today, we’ve stumbled some news that is likely to leave the California based flash memory specialists feeling more than a little disappointed: IT research and advisory firm Gartner is not expecting the HDD market to shrink over the coming years, but to experience modest growth.

Overall, Gartner have predicted that an additional 83 million hard drives will be being shipped annually by 2018; an overall annual growth rate of just under three per cent.

Most noteworthy of all, though, is their prediction that this growth will largely stem from new helium-filled high-capacity business critical drives which have been specifically designed for data centres and cloud storage providers.

So, what do you think? Will SSDs become the de facto storage media used in data centres or is the helium-filled HDD set to be the king of mass-storage?

Three Quarters of Businesses aren’t Destroying Sensitive Data

Last week, we wrote about how even when data has been deleted, it can still be recovered. Today, we discovered that an alarming 75% of the data contained on hard drives that are decommissioned by private business still contain sensitive and, more worryingly, recoverable data.

Many businesses will shred their drives. Others will pass them through machines that exert a great deal of pressure. Some will drill straight through them. All of these techniques, you would assume, would render any data held on the drive completely inaccessible – but this is not the case.

If the drive’s platter is left only partially intact, then at least some of the data held on it can usually be recovered. Very few data recovery companies offer such services as recovering such data is a laborious and costly business that, due to expense, appeals to very few of their clients.

The same cannot be said of criminals, however, as the value of the data held on company drives can be astronomical and companies throughout the UK will need to employ more reliable means of destroying their data if they do not wish to fall foul of such unscrupulous individuals.