Dell puts 2.5-inch SAS drives in PowerVault arrays

By Dave Simpson

—Dell today introduced the PowerVault MD1120 disk array, which features 2.5-inch small-form-factor (SFF) disk drives. Although Dell has been offering both 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drives in its PowerEdge servers for some time, the MD1120 marks the first time the company is integrating 2.5-inch SAS drives in its storage subsystems.

"Within the next 12 months, 2.5-inch drives will represent the majority of server drives," says Howard Shoobe, Dell's senior manager, storage product management. "After that they'll represent the majority of drives in JBODs."

Designed primarily for connection to Dell's PowerEdge servers, the PowerVault MD1120 houses up to 24 SFF SAS drives per enclosure, requiring 70% less space and up to 50% less power than configurations with 3.5-inch drives. In terms of performance, the 2.5-inch drives have more than twice the I/Os per second versus 3.5-inch array configurations, according to Shoobe.

The 3Gbps SAS drives are available in 36GB and 73GB 15,000rpm models, and 73GB or 146GB 10,000rpm models. Dell's SAS drive suppliers include Fujitsu, Hitachi Data Systems, and Seagate.

Users can scale the MD1120 up to six enclosures, or 144 drives, via Dell's PERC 6 RAID controllers. Total capacity ranges from 72GB to 3.5TB per enclosure, or up to 21TB in a 144-drive configuration. In a RAID configuration, the MD1120 supports up to 30 physical disks per group, or up to 64 virtual disks per controller. The arrays come with one 3Gbps SAS host connection.

The PowerVault MD1120 is priced at approximately $10,000 for a 20-drive configuration.

In addition to underlining the trend toward 2.5-inch drives, the introduction of the MD1120 underlines the trend toward SAS drives—at least in server-attached configurations. Market research firm IDC expects SAS drives to account for almost half (48%) of all enterprise-level disk drive shipments this year, and 57% next year.

This article was originally published on June 16, 2008