Sensing and Preventing Data Disasters before They Happen

Customers bring their laptops everywhere, but sometimes that flexibility means their systems end up in a precarious position on the edge of a counter, a table, a shelf, etc. And if the laptop falls, the impact can lead to data loss that no customer wants to face. While we can’t prevent a fall from happening, what if the system knew what was taking place and was able to protect the data before impact?

With the launch of the new Latitude E6410, E6510 and E6410 ATG laptops, we’re introducing a new Fast Response Free Fall Sensor with exclusive technology that can help prevent data loss from drops. One of the leading causes of data loss for laptop users is from drops which damage sensitive parts inside the hard drive where data is stored.

A hard drive, in some respects, is similar to an old vinyl record player, with a needle-like arm hovering over a platter of sensitive data. A solid whack from a drop, while the system is on, causes the arm to slap against the platter causing data loss and potentially drive failure. Our new technology helps prevent the arm from slapping the platter by quickly detecting and preparing for sudden impacts.

In a drop event, time and distance are directly related: the quicker a hard drive knows it has been dropped the sooner it can put itself into a safe state. Therefore a shorter communication path from the free fall sensor to hard drive means the hard drive is in a protected state sooner (i.e. protected quickly, even for short drops). Once a drop is detected, existing free fall solutions send a "brace for impact" signal over the standard SATA communication path with all the other hard drive data traffic (indicated by the red line). Our new solution utilizes a dedicated lane for the "brace for impact" signal (indicated by the blue line); similar to a fire engine that is able to pass other traffic in order to get to a fire fast. The instruction that tells the hard drive that the laptop has been dropped has a direct connection to the hard drive and is not impeded by all the other data on the SATA bus.


About the Author: Kevin Mundt