Monday, June 25, 2007


What is MAID?

MAID stands for Massive Array of Idle Disks. This is a technology that promises to provide massive scaleable storage at a very low cost.

Where will it be used?

MAID will be used where there is a need to archive or back up data amounting to terabytes. It will also be used in places where large amount of archived data needs to be accessed quickly.

Who is selling MAID solutions?

Though the concept has been around some time now, only one company—Copan Systems—offers the solution.

What was the alternative to this technology?

The older alternative to MAID is archiving using a tape drive. There are many drawbacks to tape, the main one being slow access speeds. Also, when a large amount of data in image form has to be stored on a tape drive that has less storage capacity than the image, the image has to be split—which is cumbersome and also takes a lot of time. Sometimes it takes days to access the archived data stored in tapes, discouraging active usage.

How scalable is MAID?

MAID is an array of hard drives combined to work as a single point of storage. Scalability is therefore not an issue. The smallest of Copan’s systems is 28 terabytes, and the largest is 200 terabytes. The space used for the largest-capacity array Copan produces is just one square metre, making for spacesaving.


MAID consumes less power and produces less heat, since when the data is not accessed on the hard disks, the disks go into idle mode—making it energy-efficient. MAID allows one to store data in both structured (SQL, MS Access) and unstructured data formats (Word, PowerPoint).

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