Rumors are flying that higher capacity drives are on the horizon. According to The Register last week, 3TB drives are inevitable but the real question is are you ready for hard drive capacities greater than 2.1TB?
System builders beware! You must ensure your infrastructure is ready to support these higher capacity drives.
Some of the basic design decisions made in the original computer architecture left the industry with inherent limitations. One of those limitations is the ability to address hard drives that exceed capacities of 2.1TB. The decision was made back in 1980 to limit the LBA (logical block address) range to 2.1TB – more than enough capacity in those early days. However, with the vast amounts of digital content we’re serving up today, we’re now faced with operating systems, BIOS controllers, HDD controllers and device drivers that use the same basic limitation of 2.1TB for the maximum size of a hard drive or logical storage device. Long LBA addressing (LLBA) is needed. LLBA extends the number of bytes used in a Command Descriptor Block (a data structure used to format data passed between host computers and hard drives) to allow access to an LBA range that exceeds the 2.1TB limitation.
If high capacities are in your future, I highly recommend you check with your software and hardware suppliers on their plans for implementing Long LBAs today.