Feeds

Hitachi blows its own 300GB trumpet

Hard drives get bigger, smaller and more profitable

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies is claiming its Ultrastar 10K300 is the industry's first 300GB enterprise hard drive. Due next quarter in Ultra 320 SCSI or 2Gb Fibre Channel forms, the 10,000 RPM drive has five platters and 10 heads, and can sustain 89MB/sec.

Although described as a server drive, it is really intended for the storage subsystem market, where it is the likes of EMC, IBM and HDS which really define what makes a drive enterprise-class. They also want high storage densities to quote on their sales literature, if nothing else.

Are massive enterprise drives really a good idea, though? It puts a lot of capacity on a single spindle behind a single I/O port, which can be a bit like trying to suck an ocean through a straw.

Quizzed on this, Hitachi GST's VP of marketing, Ian Vogelesang, acknowledges that the 300GB drives will do best in read-mostly applications where the access density is low. He adds that it is up to HDS & co. to transparently stripe data across multiple spindles to take advantage of the available capacity without sacrificing performance.

"On high-end subsystems you could have 1000 disks, and most are still high capacity drives, with a proportion of high performance," he says.

A natural home for Serial-ATA, then? He argues otherwise, and that it is not just a case of protecting Hitachi's higher profit margins on the enterprise kit.

"There isn't much history for ATA in the enterprise, or for what happens to those drives when you pound them 24x7," he says. "So try them out first in low-usage applications."

Smaller disk, faster mechanics

Hitachi is also lining up with Seagate on the benefits of 2.5 inch small form factor (SFF) drives for blade servers and the like, but it is going straight to 3Gb/sec Serial Attach SCSI (SAS), whereas Seagate plans Ultra320 and Fibre versions too for its Savvio range.

"The advantage is high I/Os per second in a smaller physical space, and with lower power and acoustics. The smaller disk also gives faster mechanical performance," says Vogelesang

He expects desktop PCs to adopt SFF as well, for much the same reasons. "We can provide 40GB on one platter with one head in 3.5 inch, or one platter two heads in 2.5 inch, he says. "Everyone has to get into 2.5 inch or die."

Hitachi will demo SFF drives at next month's SAS Plugfest in New Hampshire. Don't expect to see them on sale until the end of the year though.

Of course, Hitachi GST is the result of last year's merger of the hard disk operations of IBM and Hitachi. Vogelesang says that although the price Hitachi paid for the IBM operations was criticised at the time, it is now second only to Seagate in revenue and profitability and has a wider product range, from 1 inch to 3.5 inch.

One reason for the profitability is that the combined operation finally gets past the break-even point on manufacturing versus R&D cost, but it comes from closures too. Hitachi shut down IBM European storage plants and now does all its volume manufacturing in Asia.

Vogelesang adds that more of the storage industry will move to Asia as more hard drives sell into consumer devices, from digital video recorders and camcorders through portable DVD players to cars.

"The explosive growth [for hard disks] is in consumer electronics, and most of that is portable," he says, offering the example of a mini MP3 player with a 1 inch Hitachi Microdrive in it, or a camcorder with a removable 1.8 inch drive that has ten times the capacity of a DVD.

"Hitachi has the advantage of being a Japanese company. Sony and the other consumer electronics companies have their R&D in Japan too, so their engineers can talk to ours. We also have our own consumer division and design-in experience, so we can offer them design-in services." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES
Or helium filling either, according to reports
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
USA opposes 'Schengen cloud' Eurocentric routing plan
All routes should transit America, apparently
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.