In the perpetual race to increase capacity, Seagate has announced a trio of enterprise drives, including the company’s first 4-terabyte offering for the data center.
Seagate’s product offerings address three key metrics: cost, speed, and capacity. There’s the Enterprise Value hard drive, designed for storing up to 3 Tbytes of data per drive; the Enterprise Performance 10K/Savvio 10K.6 hard drive, which spins at 10,000 RPM; and the Enterprise Capacity drive, which provides capacities up to 4 terabytes in size. The latter drive is also known as the Constellation ES.3, Seagate said.
“Anyone building storage systems today, whether for cloud specific applications or enterprise data centers, is looking to maximize capacity in the smallest possible physical footprint with the lowest operating costs while ensuring long-term scalability,” Scott Horn, Seagate’s vice president of marketing, wrote in a statement. “Our new line of enterprise hard drives meet this challenge, providing the highest capacity-to-power ratios while ensuring consistent performance and high reliability, making them ideal for use in any data center environment.”
Seagate’s high-capacity drive will compete with 4-terabyte drives from both storage leader Western Digital and Hitachi GST; both have announced drives of at least 4TB. Seagate neither announced pricing nor a shipping date for any of its new drives, save for the new 10,000-RPM drive, which is scheduled to be available in 2013. That drive comes with a self-encrypting option that is under review with the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for FIPS 140-2 Level-2 certification.
Naturally, data center operators are looking at both extremely fast but pricier flash-based solutions as well as traditional rotating storage, with Seagate pursuing hybrid drive solutions that combine the best of both worlds. For now, however, traditional storage pools are probably best served with cheap rotating storage, with flash beginning to replace the fastest high-end drives as a front-end cache. In that space, Seagate is likely hoping that that its FIPS compatibility gives it an advantage.
However, Seagate also claimed that the Savvio 10K.6 hard drive was also as fast as a comparable 15,000-RPM drive, in part because it uses a 2.5-inch disk. That’s a bit of a misnomer, because IT managers will likely be comparing them to the competition; WD’s S25 SAS drives, announced in March, also use 2.5 disks and spin at 10,000 RPM. And, like the Savvio 10K.6, they offer up to 900 GB of storage. WD’s drives consume less than 8 watts while operating; Seagate’s spec sheet, doesn’t cite an operating power draw, but the company said the 900-GB versions consume as little as 3.88 watts while idle.
Seagate’s high-capacity, 4-terabyte Constellation ES.3 option also ships with a SED FIPS U.S. federal government approved encryption option, including a Secure Erase feature that completely wipes the data off of a drive when it is time to dispose of it. That technology wipes the encryption key, not the data from the drive – which allows the drive to erased in less than a second, even if the drive itself is failing.
The Constellation ES.3 ships with either a 4th-generation SAS interface, or generic SATA. It’s rated at a 1.4 million-hour Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF).
Seagate has yet to release its earnings. In July, the company announced strong year-over-year growth in cloud infrastructure.
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