The International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association (IDEMA) launched its “Are You Ready?” campaign this week. The campaign is an effort to raise awareness in the computer industry about the advances and advantages of long data sectors.
IDEMA is the data-storage industry’s trade association. It advances a mission of driving technology standards that support the advancement of data storage.
The “Are You Ready?” campaign is aimed at preparing the IT industry for the transition of hard disk drive (HDD) processing from the historical sector lengths of 512 to 520 byte increments to increments of 4,096 bytes per sector using a technology referred to as Advanced Format.
According to the trade organization, “Are You Ready?” is a campaign providing awareness tools, including a Developer Kit program, educational materials, new Wikipedia entries, and a series of exhibits and events in six cities starting with the Microsoft Partner Conference in Washington D.C. (July 11–15). It also includes a logo program to help customers recognize HDDs with Advanced Format capabilities.
Following the Microsoft Partners Conference in July, the “Are You Ready?” campaign will be participating in exhibits in Tokyo, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Dallas, and Orlando.
Advanced Format is used by hard disk drive manufacturers to support increased storage capacities while maintaining the integrity of the data stored on and processed by hard drives. The transition to 4,096 byte sectors, or 4K, affects all software and hardware components that interact with the HDD. When properly optimized, Advanced Format delivers performance improvements over the legacy format. On the other hand, some software applications and other operations that access the HDD can appear sluggish to users if the system has not been optimized to use Advanced Format.
A key goal of the “Are You Ready?” campaign, says IDEMA, is to provide information and tools so that “every part of the computing ecosystem can benefit from the capabilities of Advanced Format.”
“IDEMA identified the need to move to long data sectors in 2000, and has since been working with the hard drive community to define the standards to support widespread adoption of the technology,” explains IDEMA chairman Mark Geenen. “Having achieved definition and initiation of the supporting standards earlier this year, the next logical step was for IDEMA and the HDD vendors to implement the technology. That is the objective of the ‘Are You Ready?’ campaign.” †
While some of the hard disk drive manufacturers have already begun shipping Advanced Format drives, all manufacturers plan to change the formatting of the data stored on the media to increments of 4K bytes per sector using Advanced Format technology starting January 2011. To easily identify HDDs using Advanced Format sectors, IDEMA has sponsored the “AF” logo program as part of the “Are You Ready?” campaign.