Toshiba Unveils 2.5-Inch 12 Gbps SAS Enterprise Hard Drives

By Pedro Hernandez

Flash may be getting all the attention lately, but Toshiba continues to make the case for traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) by stuffing more storage capacity into smaller packages.

The company this week unveiled the new AL13SX series, the latest batch of 2.5-inch enterprise HDDs from the electronics giant's storage products division. The range-topping model in the line offers 600 gigabytes (GB) of capacity, double that of its predecessor, while delivering faster seek performance and lower energy consumption than its 3.5-inch counterparts.

Toshiba's AL13SX hard drives spin at 15,000 RPM and are also available in capacities of 300 GB and 450 GB. They feature a 12 gigabit per second serial-attached SCSI (SAS) interface, and just in time said IDC research vice president John Rydning.

"Mission critical enterprise storage is transitioning quickly from 6 G bit/ s SAS to a faster, 12.0 Gbit/s SAS infrastructure to improve I/O performance," noted Rydning in prepared remarks. "Toshiba's new enterprise performance 12.0 Gbit/s SAS interface 15,000rpm HDDs, formatted with either native 512 or 4Kn (512 emulation) Byte sector formats, are a timely addition to its enterprise HDD product portfolio."

Scott Wright, director of disk drive product marketing for Toshiba Storage, commented in a statement the 15K RPM HDDs "continue to be the backbone of mission critical IT operations, and Toshiba's latest AL13SX models can double the SAS host interface transfer rate to 12.0 Gbit/s over prior 6.0 Gbit/s models."

The speedier storage interface combined with 4K native sector support in some models, making the new AL13SX line of HDDs suitable for RAID and Tier 1 storage systems that handle online transaction processing and business databases, asserts Toshiba. The drives also help data center operators make the most of their rack space.

"The smaller 2.5-inch form-factor supports higher storage density, saving rack space and reducing the mission critical storage footprint and operational burden," claimed Toshiba. The company expects to start shipping samples of the new drives later this month.

Toshiba's announcement arrived just weeks after the company reported that it had achieved record-breaking areal density of one terabit per square inch in a 2.5-inch drive, signaling that higher capacity HDDs for PCs and laptops are on the way.

"This newest disk drive innovation delivers 3TB capacity using a 750GB per platter in a 15mm 2.5-inch HDD and increases areal density over Toshiba's prior generation of client HDDs by 40 percent," said the company. Drives featuring the technology are expected to ship later this year.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

This article was originally published on March 12, 2015