Seagate lets loose new 3.5-inch Cheetah drives

By Kevin Komiega

-- Seagate has released its highest-performing 3.5-inch hard disk drive (HDD) to the channel and expects demand to be high as enterprise customers try to breath new life into legacy storage systems.

Seagate announced today that it has begun shipping its Cheetah 15K.7 enterprise-class drives to its global distribution channel. With the Cheetah 15K.7, Seagate has raised the maximum capacity of the drive family to 600GB and added 6Gbps SAS or 4Gbps Fibre Channel interfaces to the mix.

The 15K.7 also features Seagate's PowerTrim technology, which reduces power consumption, and optional Self-Encrypting drive technology for the security conscious.

The inevitable shift to small form factor (SFF) 2.5-inch hard drives has slowed as tight budgets force enterprises to extend the life of existing storage gear.

"The enterprise market will go to 2.5-inch form factor drives for a lot of different reasons. Some are running out of power, others are running out of space," says Seagate product marketing manager Teresa Worth. "But, at the same time, a lot of people have 3.5-inch form factor infrastructures and our higher capacity drives allow them to leverage those investments for a longer period of time."

Worth explains, "It's easier for customers to upgrade their existing 3.5-inch form factor chassis with higher capacity drives. Customers definitely want to move to systems based on small form factor drives, but everybody is trying to make their investments in IT last longer."

The security encryption feature is an option on the drive, and while the 15K.7 ships to the channel today, the self-encrypting version will not be available to the channel until September.

Based on Seagate's internal research, Worth estimates that 55,000 hard drives leave data centers on a daily basis and most of them still contain corporate data.

"There's a false sense of security in the enterprise," she says. "The National Security Agency (NSA) has determined that the best, safest place to perform encryption is at the drive level. There is a small premium charge for the Self-Encrypting drive option, but it's very small. This is a no-brainer."

Seagate does not release pricing for its drives or optional features. Worth says Seagate's OEM partners will begin announcing products and support for the Cheetah 15K.7 drives later this month.

Related articles:
Seagate debuts 3.5-inch enterprise drives
Disk drive/array market getting SASsier

This article was originally published on July 13, 2009