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Seagate Unveils New Disk Drives

Seagate Technology is taking the wraps off two new hard disk drives designed for data-intensive and OLTP applications. The new drives, both of which are additions to Seagate’s Cheetah line of high-performance SCSI disks, are based on the company’s 10,000 RPM (10K) and 15,000 RPM (15K) technologies.

Seagate began shipping its first 15K drives almost two years ago. Since that time, claims Seagate product marketing manager Gianna DaGiau, the 15K Cheetah has proven to be Seagate’s most successful product launch to date. But DaGiau says there are still cases where a 10K drive is appropriate.

“We see two different types of applications that tend to fall into one camp or another,” explains DaGiau. “In one camp are the data intensive apps where the system is more likely to run out of disk space before it’s even running at optimal performance. In the other camp are the I/O intensive apps, where IT managers have to sacrifice space to maximize performance.”

For such data-intensive applications, says Seagate product marketing manager Brian Kraus, “when [IT organizations] go out to get more storage, it’s because they’ve used up all that they have.”

Seagate’s newest addition to the 10K Cheetah family could give IT managers a lot more bang for their buck. The Cheetah 10.6 – so named because it’s a 10K drive based on sixth-generation technology – packs a maximum capacity of 146 GB into a one-inch high form-factor. Kraus claims that the new Cheetah 10.6 is also at least 25 percent faster than previous 10K Cheetah drives, to boot.

“[IT organizations] can get to 1 TB with eight 146 GB drives [as opposed to 14 73 GB drives],” he points out. “And those eight drives, they obviously take up less space. That translates into less rack or cabinet space, and this helps to reduce the ownership cost of storage.”

Seagate says that its other new hard disk drive, the Cheetah 15.3 – so named because it’s a 15K drive based on third-generation technology – could also appeal to IT managers who are looking to consolidate or maximize their available storage capacities. The Cheetah 15.3 boasts a maximum capacity of 73 GB.

According to Seagate’s DaGiau, the Cheetah 15.3 is designed for IT organizations that require both high capacity and top-flight I/O performance. For demanding applications like OLTP, DaGiau says, IT organizations often “short-stroke” 10K disks to meet performance requirements. Short-stroking describes a formatting process in which only the outer sectors of a disk’s platters are used to store data. Because a disk’s I/O performance is not consistent across its surface -– it’s generally fastest at its edge and slowest at its center -- this has the advantage of increasing overall I/O performance at the expense of sacrificing available storage capacity.

Because the new Cheetah 15.3 disks offer better I/O performance –- to the tune of a 35 percent overall improvement over Seagate’s own 10K drives, DaGiau maintains -– IT organizations don’t necessarily have to short-stroke them to realize acceptable I/O performance. As a result, she argues, they’ll be able to take advantage of the full capacity of even a 73 GB Cheetah 15.3.

“If they have 10K drives and they’re short-stroking them, they’re going to get the performance that they need but they’re not using all of the capacity on the drives, they need to keep adding more drives to meet their I/O requirements,” she asserts. “With the 15K, they don’t have to short stroke and they can use fewer drives. This lets them consolidate and helps to reduce TCO.”

Seagate expects to begin shipping its new Cheetah drives in August.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

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