Seagate: All's Fair In Storage

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Vendors provide numerous tools to help solution providers configure and sell solutions, but most of the time they are either very much tied to the vendor's product line or have a narrow application. Seagate Technology's Storage Application Model tool is a refreshing change, however, because it is vendor-agnostic and can select storage technology for everything from consumer-electronics devices to enterprise storage. It definitely can come in handy for deciding what drive to use in a new device or to help prove the value of high-end drives to customers.

For solution providers, the information contained in the tool is a good primer for newer technologies such as Serial ATA and serial-attached SCSI. It goes beyond simple white papers on those subjects by connecting the newer technologies to readily understood applications, not just stopping at an explanation of what those technologies are.

The free utility is an interactive learning tool that covers the basic components of drives, drive applications and how drive components differ based on the drive application. For example, the tool explains the internal differences between laptop drives and a desktop drive.

The tool's easy-to-use flash interface does a great job of hiding the complexities of matching drive architecture to key applications. The user can start by selecting a target application and finding out what drive features are appropriate, or start with a drive component and learn how it differs depending on the desired application. The curious can also read about how higher-level drive criteria, such as workload, performance, reliability or form factor, vary based on different applications.

Although Seagate's greatest strength to date has been in high-performance, enterprise-class drives, the tool
surprisingly offers a pretty fair overview of all drive technologies and matching the right drive to an application. It does not place an unfair emphasis on a technology or application such as enterprise storage and it does not suggest manufacturers or product model numbers. Instead, it focuses on the technical criteria for selecting drives, which are described by interface type, RPMs and other important characteristics.

The flash animation is viewable in two forms: Users can use the tool on the Web at or download a copy for local presentations. Designed for solution providers, both the online and local copies of the tool can be customized with a solution provider's logo. Seagate will host customized versions of the online tool on behalf of interested solution providers.

What's your take on Seagate's Storage Application Model tool? Let me know via e-mail at

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