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Xyratex signals jump in storage array capacity

Adopts 2TB drives

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Hot on the heels of Hitachi GST announcing an enterprise version of its 2TB SATA drive Xyratex has said it will build drive array enclosures using it.

Hitachi GST announced its first 2TB drive, for desktop use, earlier this month. The drive spins at 7200rpm and an enterprise version, the Ultrastar A7K2000, was announced a week later. It has a 1.2 million hours MTBF (mean time before failure) rating and a bulk data encryption option.

Xyratex builds storage enclosures for hard drive array OEMs, such as Compellent, Dell/EqualLogic, EMC's Data Domain, IBM, and latterly, La Cie. Xyratex claims Hitachi GST's drive has "been fully integrated into Xyratex’s family of storage systems, making it the industry’s first, fully integrated external storage subsystem to deliver the highest-capacity, most energy-efficient drives per capacity available for enterprise storage systems."

Interestingly Hitachi GST and Xyratex share a common parent. The Havant, UK, part of Big Blue's disk drive business was spun off in a 1994 management buy-out to become Xyratex. In 2003 Hitachi Corporation bought IBM's global disk drive manufacturing business and incorporated it with its own to form Hitachi Global Storage Technologies.

Hitachi's A7K2000 drive will be available for Xyratex products over the next quarter. We can reasonably expect that Xyratex will have checked out use of 2TB SATA drives with its OEMs and received nods saying "yes please" from sufficient of them to make this worthwhile. Were Compellent, say, to adopt the drive then its Xyratex-built SATA trays could double its Storage Center SAN product's theoretical maximum capacity from 1008TB to 2016TB, 2PB.

It's also easy to imagine that LaCie might introduce drive arrays for its targeted video market with 2TB drives so it can introduce products with leading-edge capacities. For example, Xyratex currently has a 4U RAID networked storage systems enclosure, the F5404E, with 48 drives in it, meaning 48TB with 1TB drives. LaCie could take that in a 96TB capacity version if the new Hitachi GST drives were used.

EMC's Data Domain could probably use a capacity boost as well. The top-end DD880 could increase its physical capacity from 96TB to 192TB at a stroke, in theory anyway. We could possibly expect such capacity jumps to be announced by the end of the year. ®

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