Seagate, Hitachi Go Small On Upcoming Hard Drives

Seagate on Monday is slated to unwrap plans for 2.5-inch enterprise-class hard drives designed to increase storage density in the data center. Meanwhile, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies--recently formed through the merger of Hitachi's and IBM's hard-drive divisions--this week unveiled 2.5-inch high-speed hard drives aimed at the mobile computing space.

Seagate plans to unveil its 2.5-inch enterprise-class hard drives in the first half of next year and declined to discuss speeds and feeds at this time, said Brian Kraus, senior marketing manager at the company. However, Seagate envisions that the drives will be used in several new enterprise-class platforms because of their compact size and low power consumption, he said.

The first target application for the new drives will be in high-performance, high-density storage arrays, Kraus said. The 2.5-inch form factor should allow up to 30 hard drives in a 2U enclosure, giving data racks good capacity with high throughput speeds, he said.

The second application will be in 1U servers, where OEMs should be able to fit up to six of the new drives, Kraus said. As a result, Seagate expects OEMs to be able to offer small servers with RAID-5 capabilities using four hard drives, with the other two drives used for the operating system, he said. And the third targeted application will be in blade servers, where the new drives should be more reliable and offer higher performance and lower power consumption than the mobile drives often used now, Kraus said.

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Taking a different tack, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies introduced 5,400-rpm and 7,200-rpm drives aimed at mobile PCs.

To get 7,200-rpm performance in a 2.5-inch form factor, the company developed a new low-power, high shock-resistant slider, company executives said. The slider is the flying wing that supports the read/write head over the surface of the drive.

The 7,200-rpm Travelstar 7K60, which the executives said is expected to be available in new IBM ThinkPad notebook PCs this summer, come with a maximum capacity of 60 Gbytes. The 5,400-rpm Travelstar 5K80 family has four models, ranging from 20 Gbytes to 80 Gbytes in capacity. IBM plans to make them available in ThinkPads next month, according to Hitachi Global Storage Technologies.