Seagate introduced a new solid-state drive (SSD) Monday that is destined for deployment in enterprise
blade and general server applications. Based on single-level cell flash memory
technology, the company's new Pulsar device features a 2.5-inch small form factor and capacities ranging between 50GB and 200GB.
However, the Pulsar is merely the first offering in a new product portfolio that the company intends to expand over time, noted Seagate Executive Vice President Dave Mosley.
"Our strategy is to provide our customers with the exact storage device they need for any application, regardless of the component technology used," Mosley said. "We are delivering on that strategy with the Pulsar drive, and you can expect additional products in the future from Seagate using a variety of solid-state and rotating media components."
Power Failure Protection
SSD technology offers enterprises several distinct advantages, including increased input/output operations per second (IOPS), reduced power consumption, and smaller footprints. All these factors can lead to significant cost savings.
Seagate's Pulsar is capable of achieving a peak performance of up to 30,000 read and 25,000 write IOPS and sustained speeds of 240MB/s read and 200MB/s write. What's more, the new Pulsar drives incorporate additional technology to protect data in transit from becoming lost in the event of a power failure.
"The drive itself has a storage capacity of up to 200GB, but there's an additional 56GB on board as well as a series of capacitors," said Seagate spokesperson David Szabados.
When the power fails, the capacitors hold the energy and move it over into the additional space, Szabados explained. From the customer's perspective, the emergency transfer of data "happens automatically" and "should be transparent to the user," he added.
Additionally, Seagate's new SSD integrates a SATA 3Gb/s interface in support of currently available blade-server chipsets. Sporting a five-year warranty, the device also features a low 0.44 percent annualized failure rate rating.
An Attractive Option
SSD vendors are anticipating exceptionally strong growth in 2010 and 2011 as data centers and IT computing infrastructures ramp up their adoption of the technology, noted iSuppli Senior Analyst Michael Yang. "For enterprise data centers seeking to expand their capabilities while lowering their overall power consumption, SSDs remain an attractive option," Yang said.
In the consumer space, a dramatic rise in the cost of NAND flash memory in the second quarter caused prices for SSDs to jump, making them uncompetitive with hard-disk drives and derailing their acceptance in notebook PCs. "NAND flash is the critical component of an SSD, accounting for about 90 percent of its value," Yang observed. However, Yang said he expects corporate adoption to pave the way for an eventual resurgence in SSD demand for notebook applications by driving down overall system prices.
Mosley is optimistic about the company's enterprise SSD opportunity. "Seagate views the product category as enabling expansion of the overall storage market for both SSDs and HDDs," Mosley said.
To deliver and serve the enterprise SSD marketplace effectively, IDC Vice President Dave Reinsel thinks it's critical for suppliers to understand the needs of their storage-system customers with respect to design, manufacturing, supply chain delivery, and support.
"With its well-established OEM and ecosystem relationships and a long history of serving global storage OEMs, Seagate is in a unique position to fortify its leading enterprise storage position with its entry into the enterprise solid-state storage market," Reinsel said.