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Seagate subsidiary LaCie announces new 12 TB storage solution

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April 7, 2014

Seagate's fully owned subsidiary LaCie is announcing new storage solutions using 6 TB disks and Thunderbolt connections for faster performance.

That’s 12 TB in the 2-drive 2 big system, 30 TB in the 5 big enclosure and 48 TB in the 8 big rackmount shelf itself.

LaCie says the 8 big is its first rackmount Thunderbolt 2 connect product so far, but that others could be in the works soon.

The 2 big transfers data at up to 420 MB per second with its two Thunderbolt 2 ports. It can use USB 3.0 for more everyday connectivity.

It has a hardware RAID controller and a pair of hot-swap 6 TB Seagate drives spinning at 7,200 RPMs. The RAID provides 0 (striping) and 1 (mirroring) levels with a JBOD facility allowing the two disks to be used independently.

LaCie suggests up to five 2 bigs can be Thunderbolt 2 daisy-chained with a 4K display to a MacPro to create a 4K video workstation with 72 TB of raw storage capacity.

The 30 TB model can transfer data at up to 1,050 MB per second and has hardware RAID 0, 1, 5 and 6, and the JBOD facility is present as well. There are dual Thunderbolt 2 ports again.

The spec sheet says users can reduce power consumption by pressing the front button to spin down disks without disrupting daisy chain transfers.

The 1U rackmount 8 big will cost more. LaCie says forget Fibre Channel, Thunderbolt 2 is better, and the system can deliver up to 1,330 MB per second-- “Unlike Fibre Channel, Thunderbolt 2 is truly a plug and play and single-vendor solution. No port mapping or multithreading is required to achieve this performance.

Thunderbolt technology even supports optical cables, which means you could connect a LaCie 8 big rack system to a computer located up to 200 feet away.

There’s a hardware RAID controller with levels 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 and the JBOD setup option. With that kind of speed, videographers can work directly from RAW files in Apple Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere, get maximum quality from footage, and see edits in real time.

There's no need anymore to first convert footage into a lower resolution. Avid Pro Tools users will also notice incredibly smooth audio mixing, even when working with hundreds of tracks simultaneously.

Professional photography agencies and other Adobe Lightroom or Apple Aperture users can browse through archived libraries of thousands of RAW and edited images, with zero lag.

There are a pair of power supply units for reliability and three redundant hot-swap fans. A 42U rackful of 8 bigs provides 1.7 PB of raw storage capacity.

LaCie provides RAID Manager software to set the RAID levels up and supports 4-disk RAID 5 to 8-disk RAID 6 migration. RAID 0 is limited to just two disks by the way.

There’s a three-year warranty and AES 256-bit software encryption for the 8 big. All three of these LaCie products will be available this quarter and prices are not yet being revealed as of now.

In other IT news

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.

    Source: LaCie.

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