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Seagate extends enterprise disk and SSD lines

Three in one: Pulsar, Savvio and Constellation

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Seagate has extended its enterprise disk and solid state storage products in a comprehensive announcement following hard on the heels of Western Digital buying Hitachi GST.

Second generation Pulsar solid state drives (SSD) have been announced with a 2-bit, multi-level cell Pulsar.2 and a higher-performance single level cell Pulsar XT.2. Pulsar.2 has 100, 200, 400 and 800GB capacity points with support for both 6Gbit/s SAS and SATA interfaces. The drives come in a 2.5-inch form factor. Product manager John Shirley said Seagate had worked hard to extend the product's working life, achieving 10 full capacity writes per day for five years. The interaction with supplier Samsung had been good for this.

The annualised failure rate (AFR) is 0.44 per cent and there is a 2 million hour MTBF (mean time before failure) rate.

The Pulsar XT.2 – with 100, 200 and 400GB capacity points – has the same endurance and reliability, and offers 48,000 sustained random read IOPS (4K blocks), 22,000 write IOPS, 360MB/sec bandwidth for sequential reads and 300MB/sec write bandwidth: good figures. There are no performance figures for the Pulsar.2; Seagate says it is still working on the numbers.

Shirley said it has: "a proprietary Seagate designed interface controller," unlike the first generation Pulsars. There is no PCIe interface for the second generation Pulsars; although there is an LSI/Seagate SSS6200 PCIE-connect product using Pulsar SSDs, there are no pure Pulsar PCIe cards; Seagate having chosen not to participate in that market.

Savvio and Constellation

There is a new Savvio 10K.5, a 10,000rpm, 3-platter, 2.5-inch drive with up to 900GB capacity and either a 6Gbit/s SAS or a 4Gbit/s Fibre Channel interface, and a 64MB cache. It is a 3-platter drive and its areal density is 506Gbit/in2: a 100 per cent increase on the 10K.4. The faster 15K.3, spinning at 15,000rpm, and with two platters, holds either 146 or 300GB and its areal density has almost doubled to 448Gbit/in2. It also has a 64MB cache and a 6Gbit/s SAS interface. There's no Fibre Channel support.

These two drives back up Seagate boss Stephen Luczo's claim earlier this year that Seagate has areal density leadership in this market sector. Seagate's position with these drives is that users can start transitioning to the 2.5-inch form factor in anger now because the capacity levels are high enough.

There is a third refreshed enterprise drive in Seagate's line-up: the Constellation ES.2. This has a 3TB capacity – Seagate has caught up with Hitachi GST's 3TB Ultrastar – and supports both 6Gbit/s SAS and SATA interfaces. It spins at 7,200rpm and has four power-saving modes with progressive disengagement of the drive's electro-mechanical components, with a zero-spin speed as the greatest power-saving mode.

It has a 1.2 million hours MTBF rating and a 0.73 per cent AFR. Compared to the previous Constellation, it has a 20 per cent higher areal density. The new drive has expanded features, such as a faster RAID Rebuild capability, and these will be applied to the existing, lower capacity Constellation drives.

Seagate staff at the announcement refused to comment on the Western Digital acquisition of Hitachi GST. We can, El Reg supposes, expect the Savvio and Constellation areal density levels to ripple through to Seagate's desktop and consumer products.

There were no prices released and the drives, both solid and spinning, are shipping to OEMs now, except for the Pulsar.2, with channel availability either this quarter or the next.

The Savvio drives represent a solid improvement in the sector, and the new Pulsars are a solid offering too, based on the performance and endurance and reliability figures, with the first-generation Pulsars now characterised as a test-the-market offering. We do, however, have to wait and see what the Pulsar.2 performance figures are going to be. Possibly some last minute tuning work is being undertaken. ®

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