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Seagate aims world’s fastest hard drive at the data centre

Wed 26 Oct 2016

Seagate has announced the release of its final entry in the mission-critical 15k hard disk drive space. The sixth-generation release features write speeds of up to 315MB/s sustained transfer rate at capacities of up to 900gb.

The new offering, available in the final quarter of this year, has a high-capacity 2.5 inch small form factor aimed at the typical compression of data centre arrays, and comes in 512 native and single advanced (4kn and 512e) versions.

seagate-enterprise-performance-15kk-hard-drive-hddMean time between failures is set at two million hours, with an annualised failure rate of 0.44%.

Brian Payne of Dell EMC’s server solution, comments:

“Performance demands on enterprise datacenters today are increasing as customers consider agile storage solutions to handle diverse workloads. The key to success is to apply the right technologies to the right workloads, and we are seeing increased adoption of hybrid arrays of HDDs and SSDs enhanced by software-based caching… By delivering higher performance and capacity, Seagate’s latest Enterprise Performance 15K HDD will be a sound investment for dynamic server-storage environments.”

The throughput of Seagate’s final offering compares favourably against 5th-gen HDDs in the same space. Average operating power requirements vary between 4.7W for the 300gb model to 5.7W for the 900gb. All models feature 256mb of multisegmented cache, and all offer latency at 2.0ms – in addition to 8mb of non-volatile write cache in support of Seagate’s Advanced Write Caching Feature, a notable benefit in random write performance.

The advent of data centre uptake of SSDs seems to have sounded the death knell for the high-performance, DC-centric HDD, with Seagate itself concentrating on enterprise flash. Factors besides cost that may be influencing the latest release are that SSD is not entirely established, that the legacy build market has a long shelf-life, and that lifetime rewrite limits of SSD vs HDD are still a consideration at the outfitting stage.

Western Digital subsidiary HGST is not as committed to abandoning high-performance HDD as Seagate, despite Seagate’s dependence on Micron for flash components; but re-tooling costs alone may make HDD provisioning an intentional withering vine. In the meantime Toshiba is expected to follow suit in ceasing HDD manufacture in favour of SDD, and its origination and development in NAND puts the company in strong contention over the next five years.

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