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Seagate offers new 6 TB hard drives

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April 7, 2014

Seagate said earlier this morning it will soon offer new 6 TB hard drives that doesn't appear to use the slow write shingled magnetic recording technology. The news are from the NAB event in Las Vegas, which opened Friday. There are details of the drive on Seagate's website, although the drive has not been announced and is not yet available. Seagate says the new drive has 8th generation technology, that's gen-8 PMR (perpendicular magnetic recording) technology. It claims its new drive "provides a 25 percent nearline performance boost over competitive offerings," with "best-in-class random and sequential read/write performance".

The only competitive 6 TB offering similar to this is Hitachi's GST 6 TB He6 helium-filled drive, which we believe rotates at 7,200rpm.

We're told the new 6 TB Seagate drive, rated for enterprise applications, "is built to support 24x7 nearline workloads of up 550 TB per year, which is up to 10 times the rated workload of desktop HDDs," and "50 percent more capacity over the last generation," which maxed out at 4 TB.

The Enterprise Capacity drive offers these features:

  • 7,200rpm spin speed
  • 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6TB capacity points
  • 128MB cache
  • Encryption option with Secure Instant Erase or SED FIPS 140-2 option
  • SAS 12Gbit/s and SATA 6Gbit/s interface options
  • 25 percent increase in areal density
  • A 25 percent increase in areal density over Seagate's 4-platter 4 TB Surveillance hard drive would mean 1.25 TB platters, and five of these would be needed to reach a 6 TB capacity level.

    How many platters does the 6 TB drive have? It has the same 26.1 mm height as the 4 TB Surveillance HDD, but that drive weighs 610 grams whereas the 6 TB Enterprise Capacity drive weighs 780 grams. We believe this points to an extra platter, making five platters in all.

    Seagate says its new drives can be used for:

  • hyperscale applications
  • high-capacity RAID storage
  • mainstream enterprise external storage arrays (SAN, NAS, DAS)
  • cloud data centres—replicated bulk data storage
  • enterprise backup and restore—D2D virtual tape
  • centralised surveillance
  • A 50 percent jump from 4 TB to 6 TB is a lovely increase in storage capacity. Overall, 2.5-inch drives should surely be able to reach 3 TB capacities soon with this technology.

    What about storage array capacity? A rackful of 3.5-inch 4 TB drives could get its capacity increased by 50 percent. Think about the 2.8 PB BOSS rack we wrote about recently, the one Scality is using for its RING object storage using 4 TB Kinetic drives. It could go up to a 4.2 TB capacity if Seagate bring out 6TB Kinetic drives.

    And if Seagate can bring out 6 TB PMR drives without using helium-filled enclosures or shingling, then surely Western Digital and Toshiba can do so as well.

    We can expect a wave of 6 TB drive upgrades to work its way through the ranks of storage array suppliers in the next few months as WD and Toshiba announce their 6 TB drives and their OEM qualifications get under way.

    But all this comes at a price. RAID rebuilds will take longer. We'll keep you posted on these and other developments.

    In other IT news

    Oracle is apparently planning to create a NoSQL standards body, we just learned late yesterday. The decision was disclosed to IT Direction on Friday by reliable sources at database firms who were each familiar with the news.

    The informants, speaking on condition of anonymity, say Oracle is trying to create a new standards body dedicated to NoSQL databases, and is seeking participation from NoSQL startups.

    Details are still a bit sketchy but the emphasis of the planned standards body will be on go-to-market strategies, marketing, promotion and further commercialization of the technology rather than defining technical specs.

    NoSQL databases are typically open-source DB management systems whose development is stewarded by upstarts like MongoDB, Basho, DataStax, and a few others.

    The various technologies are designed for very large datasets, and usually favor availability over consistency (guarantees about the results being correct).

    Oracle, by comparison, prides itself on the stability and reliability of its venerable technology, but this usually comes with a high cost. The company also stewards the development of MySQL, the most popular relational open-source database.

    NoSQL (short for Not Only SQL) represents a threat to Oracle's future business as NoSQL databases have taken root among many young startups that need to build highly available storage systems for vast web apps.

    As these startups continue to develop, some of them stay on those technologies, and buy support or additional features from their respective databases' developers, rather than go to Oracle as was typical in the past.

    To combat this threat to its business, Oracle released the Oracle NoSQL database in 2011 at Oracle OpenWorld, based in part on the BerkeleyDB storage engine that the company acquired with its 2006 purchase of Sleepycat Software Inc.

    Since then, the Oracle NoSQL database has had multiple releases with the company announcing version three of the technology on Wednesday.

    But so far and as much as we can tell, Oracle's NoSQL database doesn't appear to have caught on much in the market. One database-use ranking system shows MongoDB and Cassandra have the most momentum.

    Now, it seems that Oracle is trying to rope in the wider database community to help it gain a better sense of the market. Given its vast cash reserves and dominance of the enterprise database market, many expect Oracle to soon make an acquisition in this segment.

    Oracle was not available for comment at time of publication. It's perfectly understandable why the database giant want to create this new NoSQL standard: to protect its own turf. We'll keep you posted on this and other developments as they happen.

    In other IT news

    It's finally confirmed-- the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has approved the development of the 400 Gb/s Ethernet specification.

    Now known as IEEE P802.3bs, the standard has an official IEEE task force working on it to make it a reality and a short-term goal to “Define Ethernet Media Access Control (MAC) parameters, physical layer specifications, and management parameters for the transfer of Ethernet format frames at 400 Gb/s.”

    Dell's John D'Ambrosia, acting chairman of the study group promoting 400 Gb/s Ethernet, has opiniated that the new standard will “debut towards the core of networks”.

    He also thinks that the impact of work on this and other internet standards will not be felt for five to ten years.

    In 2024 or thereabouts, it's entirely conceivable that plenty of cloud-scale data centres will be very glad of the chance to run 400 Gb/s connections at their core.

    And maybe more than a few smaller-scale data centres will welcome it too: a few tens of thousands of virtual machines running on several thousand eight-core, ARM-powered femto-servers (based on technology pioneered in Samsung's Galaxy S10) pushing data into and out of the all-flash virtual SANS of 2024 are probably going to make quite an impact.

    Source: Seagate.

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