A Data Management Fantasy [en]

[fr] Mon rêve: un système qui cacherait sur un espace donné de mon SSD (disons 50GB) les fichiers les plus récemment ouverts se trouvant sur mon disque dur externe. Ainsi, j'aurais à portée de main et sur disque dur rapide tous mes fichiers courants. Vous connaissez une solution qui fait ça?

I’m now running a happy MacBook with a 120Gb SSD (too big or to small depending on how you look at it, but I was in a hurry and dependant on what was in stock in the shop). I have an external 500Gb HDD to store all my junk on.

And here’s my dream. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could devote a certain amount of space on the SSD to my files, say 50Gb, and have that space occupied by cached copies of the files from the external drive that I most recently used? When I modify the files, the cached copies and those on the HDD would sync. And if I haven’t touched a file for long enough, it would be removed from the cache to free up space.

Like that my “current” files would be on the super-fast SDD and close at hand when I’m on the road.

I’m sure a solution to do this already exists — heard of anything?

4 thoughts on “A Data Management Fantasy [en]

  1. Hello Steph, I generally like your idea, but here are some things that might help you:

    1 – Once you fill your SSD, the performance is going to degrade. (http://thessdreview.com/ssd-guides/optimization-guides/ssd-performance-loss-and-its-solution/) And you should double-check, but I believe the upcoming Lion OS X provides TRIM support only for Apple-bundled SSDs. (TRIM is the thing that prevents your SSD from degrading). So, having this into consideration it is not a good thing to fill all your SSD with cache.

    2 – Right now, I guess you could achieve something like that using Hazel.app to copy things from one side to the other. However depending on the kind of files that you use this might not be useful at all. For speed, I’m not sure if you would see the results except for big photoshop files and virtual machines. For all other small files like word/pages, text files and media, I guess the HDD speed is fast enough. If it’s just a question of having it offline (not to carry the external harddrive with you) I suggest you use your Documents Folder and backup/sync selecting by last modified date.

    3 – Take a look at optiBay: http://www.mcetech.com/optibay/. I have used 4 times my DVD drive on my macbook (all of them to reinstall the OS, and even that I’m doing via USB now). OptiBay replaces the dvd drive with a slot for your HDD, so you can have both SSD and HDD inside the computer (careful with the warranty!). And this will improve the speeds since big files won’t use usb, but rather SATA.

    4 – That’s what Hybrid SSDs do. Take a look at: http://storagemojo.com/2010/05/24/seagate-gets-hybrid-ssdhdd-right/ They use the SSD as Cache.

    1. Apps won’t solve your problem right now. And I’m afraid Lion will also lack support for such things. There is always the Cloud, and Dropbox’s selective sync. But the solution really depends on the kind of usage you are looking for.
  2. Thanks for all this information! I read the first link you gave, but I’m not sure if I understood the “over-provisioning” stuff correctly. Concretely, I have a 120Gb drive and a single 120Gb partition on it. Are they suggesting that creating a (say) 90Gb partition on it and leaving the rest unallocated will improve performance?

  3. Hello Stephanie!

    I am not 100% sure that it is what you’re looking for, but lately I’ve been using a system to synch my files on multiple supports and I find it extremely useful.

    It’s called “dropbox”… ever heard of it?
    Check it out if you want: http://www.dropbox.com/


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