Fujitsu Unveils Mobile Drives, Aims At Rack-Dense Server Space

The new drives are aimed at the white-box and OEM mobile PC makers as well as for use with high-density blade servers, said Joel Hagberg, vice president of marketing at the company, based here.

The new drives are available in 40-Gbyte, 60-Gbyte, and 80-Gbyte capacities. They can withstand non-operating shocks of up to 900 Gs and operating shocks of up to 225 Gs, Hagberg said. The drives come with three-year warranties.

Samples of the new drives are expected to be available this summer, according to the company.

Fujitsu also makes similar drives with a disk spin speed of 4,200 rpm, Hagberg said.

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Michael Gaeta, vice president of enabling technologies at Avnet Applied Computing, a Phoenix-based components distributor that also builds systems for solution providers, said the move to use small form factor hard drives in rack-mount and blade servers is "very real."

Depending on application and market needs, customers are looking for 1U and 2U systems which take a minimum of space, Gaeta said.

"But the trade-off may be performance," he said. "It is possible to get higher throughput by spreading the data over more spindles. But that's not always the case. ... The highest capacity in mobile drives today is 60 Gbytes, compared to up to 250 Gbytes in 3.5-inch hard drives, depending on the interface. It really comes down to what the market is seeing."

Fujitsu is only the latest manufacturer to introduce high-end, small form factor hard drives.

Seagate last week unveiled plans to introduce 2.5-inch form factor enterprise-class hard drives for high-density storage arrays, 1U and 2U rack-mount servers, and blade servers. They are expected to be available in the first half of 2004, Seagate executives said.

A week earlier, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, which was recently formed by combining the hard-drive divisions of Hitachi and IBM, unveiled high-speed 2.5-inch form factor 5,400-rpm and 7,200-rpm hard drives aimed at mobile PCs. Hitachi executives said they expect the new drives to be available in IBM ThinkPad mobile PCs in June.