2010 Gift Guide for Storage Geeks

If that someone special in your life has storage on their mind come the holidays, we may be able to help with gift ideas. With ideas ranging from the very affordable (free) to very expensive (skipping a few mortgage payments), we've combed the world of storage procurement so you don't have to.

Under $10 – Stocking Stuffers

This category is for smaller priced presents that some people may consider “stocking stuffers.” Personally I view them as cool things you need but never buy for yourself.

One of the first things I think of as an inexpensive gift for the Linux storage enthusiasts are hard drive grommets. A hard drive grommet is just a small piece of rubber that goes around a screw and absorbs vibrations going into and out of the hard drive. Figure 4 below shows what they look like.

Figure 4: Example Rubber Grommet for Hard Drives(from here)

Vibrations are a killer of hard drives. There is a famous (or is it infamous) video of an engineer from Sun (now Oracle) who yells at his storage array and reduces the performance of the array because of the vibrations caused by his yelling. Consequently, anything we can do to reduce the impact of vibrations on hard drives can have a major impact on performance and perhaps even longevity.

You can just Google “hard drive grommets” or “HDD grommets” and find lots of options. Here are just a few I found:

There is one more gift idea in the $10 category that I wanted to mention. It’s actually a little more than $10 right now, but it’s a pretty cool gift. The ICY DOCK MB990SP-B. I previously wrote about this item and prices have come down a bit in time for the holidays so newegg currently sells it for $12.00. This is a simple drive converter that allows you to fit two 2.5″ drives into a single 3.5″ slot (internal) as shown in Figure 5 below.

Figure 5: Icy Dock MB990SP-B Dual 2.5″ Drive Converter

Given that 2.5″ drives are coming down in price pretty rapidly and that SSD’s are staying with the 2.5″ form factor, us storage oriented Linux people (who have been good all year by the way), need a way to more efficiently put 2.5″ drives into our desktop cases. The Icy Dock MB990SP-B is a great example of adapting standard 3.5″ drive slots into 2.5″ drive slots. Currently, it fits 9.5mm 2.5″ drives so examine the specs of your 2.5″ drives carefully. But if you have a loved one who has SSD’s or small laptop drives and is having trouble putting them efficiently into their desktop, then this is the low-cost gift of the year!

Up to $50

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