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Seagate announces new SATA and SAS solid state drives

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May 8, 2013

Now more than ever before, Seagate is pursuing its ongoing and relentless assault on the flash drive market and is now launching new SATA and SAS solid state drives (SSDs) as well as a PCIe flash card, signalling for the first time just how serious the company is about becoming a major league flash product supplier.

There are basically four products: the 600, 600 Pro, 1200 SSDs and the X8 Accelerator PCIe card. The two 600s and the 1200 come in ordinary and HE (High Endurance) versions.

The 600 SSD is a SATA product, aimed at the notebook and desktop utility market, while the 600 Pro is an enterprise SATA interface product suitable for high end workstations and standard servers.

The 1200 is an enterprise SAS product, while the X8 Accelerator is a faster server-accelerator card.

Seagate's 600 Client SSD has a 6 Gbit/s SATA interface and 120 GB, 240 GB and 480 GB drive capacities. It's built using 19nm MLC flash from Toshiba and provides a whole list of important features such as speed and low latency.

On the other hand, the Seagate 600 Client SATA solid state drive is designed for higher-end notebook or desktops. Seagate says it has an 0.58 percent annual failure rate and the 480 GB can have 72 TB written to it over five years.

It comes with either a 5mm or 7mm Z-height to widen its applicability. For its part, the Seagate 600 Pro Enterprise SATA SSD also has a 6 Gbit/s SATA interface and the same 120 GB, 240 GB and 480 GB storage capacities and 19nm MLC flash from Toshiba but its performance profile is a bit different.

It provides up to 85,000 random read IOPS, has higher 520 MB/sec sequential reads, higher 450 MB/sec sequential writes and average latency of just 140 microseconds.

Seagate's Enterprise SATA SSD, the 600 Pro, has the best-in-class IOPS/watt rating and its endurance over a five-year usage-based warranty is two full drive writes a day. Like the 600, it comes with both 5mm and 7mm Z-height dimensions.

The HE version sacrifices some capacity for higher endurance. So it comes in 100 GB, 200 GB and 400 GB capacities and the 400 GB solution can have up to to 1080 TB (1PB) of data written to it written over the five-year warranty period.

Then there is Seagate's 1200 Enterprise SAS SSD. This is one of Seagate's big flash product and is built using 21nm Samsung MLC flash and has a 12 Gbit/s SAS dual-port interface. The capacity levels are 200 GB, 400 GB and 800 GB.

It has a lower average failure rate at 0.44 percent and the 800 GB device can have up to 14.6 PB written over its five-year warranty period, ie-- 10 full drive writes a day. It comes with encryption and has an instant secure erase feature.

The 1200 High Endurance version once again trades off some capacity for endurance and its capacities are 100 GB, 200 GB and 400 GB.

Seagate's new X8 Acelerator solution is built with Virident technology and is effectively a tweaked Virident FlashMax II. It uses Micron 25nm NAND. Seagate is using three different foundries for its flash at present, and has a HHHL - half-height, half-length - 8 lane PCIe 2.0 interface. The capacity levels are 550 GB, 1.1 TB and 2.2 TB.

The endurance is up to 33 PB written over the five-year warranty period and the average failure rate is 0.58 percent. Virident supplies a lot of added value software with its PCIe card products, such as storage memory software.

Seagate says: "The X8 Accelerator will include the base software for the product, which includes all the necessary device drivers and advanced flash management software to reduce latencies. We will be expanding the software portfolio in future releases and announcements."

Seagate has an adequate supply of NAND products through its relationship with Samsung, which obtained a near 10 percent shareholding in Seagate when it divested its hard disk drive business to Seagate late last year. The two companies have a relationship sealed with strong dollars, and it's always the best way to seal strong business relationships in place.

Seagate has accomplished a significant broadening of its flash product range with this third generation revamp of its solid state product line.

It has a dedicated flash business unit and intends to be a Tier One flash product supplier. That will most likely place a lot more pressure on the other flash SSD and PCIe product suppliers like Fusion-io, Intel, Micron, LSI, sTEC and many others.

It will be interesting to see just how Western Digital responds to this new threat from it's number one and biggest competitor in the industry.

In other IT news

EMC is getting ready to announce a new software-defined storage product known as a Sea of Storage (SoS) as a new service category, among its Centera and Atmos object storage-based solutions.

EMC seems to suggest that a mid-May announcement date has been decided upon. At an analyst conference in March this year, EMC's David Goulden talked about Cold Core storage, a capacity-optimized storage pool.

At the conference, EMC also talked about its Bourne Project, an architecture for storage, networking and servers that separates the control and management plane from the data set.

OpenFlow is the control plane for networking and runs on commodity hardware. And the new system will be the storage control system. The storage data plane stores persistent data in appropriate places, such as disk arrays.

The Bourne data plane will also include both third-party and commodity storage, separate from VMAX, VNX and Isilon arrays. Block, file and object access constitute the data plane.

Source: Seagate Technology.

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