Update: Toshiba's small enterprise disk
600GB and 10K same as Seagate
Toshiba has announced its enterprise 2.5-inch disk drive credentials with a trumpet blast; it's sampling a 3-platter, 600GB drive now, with a 6Gbit/s SAS interface, and shipping it in April.
Toshiba's new MBF drive comes in 300, 450 and 600GB capacity points. It spins at 10,025rpm and has a 16MB cache. The thing will spin slower when idle, a first we believe, to effect a 28 per cent power saving. It also comes with a self-encrypting drive option and the maximum transfer rate is 216MB/sec. The drive's dimensions are 69.85mm x 100.45mm x 15.00mm.
To reach the 600GB capacity point Toshiba has had to build a 3-platter drive, the same tactic that Seagate used for its Savvio 10K.4. The Savvio 10K.3 reaches 300GB with two platters and spins at 10K with a SAS 6Gbit/s interface.
Inexplicably Toshiba's release said it had introduced "the industry's highest capacity small form factor enterprise HDD." This claim doesn't seem believable when Seagate's Savvio 10K.4 has similar specifications: 600GB, 3-platters, 10,000rpm, and 6Gbit/s SAS interface.
Western Digital has a 10K, 6Gbit/s SAS S25 enterprise drive offering up to 300GB. It needs to double the areal density of that drive to reach 600GB or add a third platter too.
Hitachi GST is in the same situation as the Savvio 10K.3 with its Ultrastar C10K300.
Toshiba has successfully integrated the Fujitsu SFF technology into its operation to produce this drive. But it does not appear to have produced the highest capacity enterprise SFF drive as it has claimed, just caught up with Seagate.
The areal density of the Toshiba drive is 384Gb/in^2. Now if it takes > 500Gb/in^2 to make a 320GB/p notebook drive with higher format efficiency, why do you think 384 can give you a 300GB/p enterprise drive? Care to guess the number of platters again?
"""SAS is SATA compatible, that means awesomeness for my PS3 :D"""
No, SATA is SAS compatible, not the other way around - Regular SATA connectors don't even fit on a SAS drive, which has a little piece of plastic with some extra electrical contacts connecting the typical SATA power and data plug sockets. Plus, while enterprise drives are 2.5" wide like regular laptop drives, they're something like 3 times as thick, so they won't be going anywhere near your ps3.
"""If it spins down when not used, does that not mean it'll have additional spin-up times?"""
It probably does a partial spin-down, so access times in low speed mode will be slightly higher, but there shouldn't be a full spin-up delay, which would be intolerable in the average enterprise 2.5" application.
neat, but how relevant
So, they're aiming to be the market leader in internal server hard disks. And that's a big market, I agree. But how big do 2.5" internal disks really need to be? If you want really big, surely you've got a DAS or SAN. And soon enough we'll probably be booting our servers from flash drives because the server probably doesn't need more than 60-120 GB internal, flash drives are way faster, and failing a lot less often sounds pretty good to all the server monkeys out there.
About the 'enterprise' bit--
I have seen exactly zero storage arrays that use 2.5" SFF drives. They all use 3.5" drives because the IOPS from a 15k drive are far superior and 1-2TB from a 7.2k SATA drive can't be beaten. There are a few DAS enclosures that use 2.5" drives but they're a sideshow mostly-- by far the biggest sellers for DAS are also 3.5" drives.