I have got a few "embedded" systems running MSDOS 6.2 which boot from and store data to IDE hard disks. Since these drives are nearing their end of life, the question arises how we can replace them.
The requirements are:
- DOS must be able to install and boot from these drives.
- They must be able to sustain heavy (mostly) write access.
- If possible, they should be able to survive moderate vibrations (not too bad since the current hard disks have survived several years of that)
I considered the following options so far:
- other ide hard drives: Unfortunately modern IDE drives are too large so DOS cannot boot from them even if I create small partitions. Older IDE drives are just that: old, so they are probably not the most reliable ones any more.
- SSDs: There are a few SSDs with IDE interface available. I have not yet tried them. Does anybody have any experience with them? They look like the ideal replacement provided that DOS can boot from them and that writing speed does not deteriorate too much (the old hard disks are no race cars either).
- Compact Flash: There are adapters for using CF with IDE controllers and they work fine. DOS can boot from them and they have no problems at all with vibrations. What I am not sure about is their durability. DOS uses FAT so some very few sectors are written every time the medium is being written to.
- IDE to SATA converters: I have no idea whether they are any good. Has anybody tried them? It might be an option to use one of these to connect an SATA SSD to the system.
Are there any alternatives that I have missed? (We are working on replacing these systems, but it will still take a few years.)