Seagate debuts 3.5-inch drives

Posted on February 01, 2009

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BY KEVIN KOMIEGA

Enterprise customers are slowly shifting from 3.5-inch hard disk drives (HDDs) to infrastructures based on the smaller, high performance 2.5-inch form factor, but Seagate predicts there will still be a need for 3.5-inch enterprise HDDs for the next several years. To that end, the company has added a pair of high-speed 3.5-inch drives to its Cheetah portfolio, with higher capacity points and lower power consumption than previous models.

The 10,000rpm Cheetah NS.2 drive is available in capacities of 300, 450, and 600GB. The higher-speed, 15,000rpm Cheetah 15K.7 comes in the same capacities. Both drives support 4Gbps Fibre Channel or 6Gbps SAS interfaces.

The NS.2 and 15K.7 are designed to consume less power than most 3.5-inch HDDs using Seagate’s PowerTrim technology, which optimizes drive power consumption at all levels of activity. For example, the Cheetah NS.2 drive can achieve power savings of up to 20% when compared to its prior generation design, according to Gianna DaGiau, senior product marketing manager for Seagate’s Enterprise Compute business.

The NS.2 and 15K.7 are also the second generation of Cheetah HDDs available as Self-Encrypting Drives for designated OEMs, providing government-grade data security, and instant secure erase for drives repurposed, reused, recycled, or returned for expired lease, repair, or warranty.

Many enterprise customers are in the midst of a transition from 3.5-inch HDDs to smaller, high performance 2.5-inch disks; however, economic belt tightening is forcing some to delay the shift. Seagate’s aim is to supply partners and end users with new 3.5-inch drives until 2.5-inch drives take over the market sometime next year.

“The 2.5-inch drives are coming on strong, and for good reason,” DaGiau says. “They consume less power and there are cost efficiencies in terms of space and performance. But Seagate recognizes that some companies have not yet made the infrastructure changes to make use of 2.5-inch drives.” According to market research IDC, in the third quarter of 2008, drive manufacturers shipped 2.9 million 2.5-inch drives and 5.3 million 3.5-inch drives.

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