Capacity Issues Raised As Seagate Plans 3-TB Hard Drives

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Seagate is readying the introduction of two new types of hard drives, including a pair of 3-TB enterprise hard drives that will not work with today’s systems and a hybrid drive with built-in flash memory to eliminate the need for a separate SSD in mobile PCs.

Channel sources indicate that Seagate is planning to introduce both SAS and SATA versions of its upcoming 3-TB hard drive as part of its enterprise-class Constellation ES family, which would make them the storage industry’s largest drives in terms of total capacity.

Seagate’s Constellation ES family currently tops out at a maximum storage capacity of 2 TB.

A Seagate spokesperson confirmed that the upcoming 3-TB hard drive would be for the enterprise business.

However, such a large capacity drive could pose problems for storage OEMs and systems builders because of a capacity limit imposed on hard drives back in the days when breaching the 100-GB capacity mark was still mainly a dream.

Barbara Craig, a senior product marketing manager at Seagate focused on the nearline enterprise storage market, without admitting that Seagate will offer a 3-TB drive, blogged recently on her company’s site that system builders need to be aware of this new capacity point when considering adopting larger drives in the future.

Craig wrote that the original computer architecture included a number of limitations, including a 2.1-TB LBA (logical block address) limit on hard drive capacity.

While 2.1 TB at the time was more than enough capacity per drive, that limit in today’s operating systems, BIOS controllers, hard drive controllers, and device drivers is a wall against users’ growing stores of digital content is pressing, Craig wrote.

She called for the industry to adopt Long LBA (LLBA) as a way to allow access to drive capacities of over 2.1 TBs. “If high capacities are in your future, I highly recommend you check with your software and hardware suppliers on their plans for implementing Long LBAs today,” she wrote.

System builders confirmed that The 3-TB hard drives are slated to ship around September or October of this year.


Next: System Builders Say It’s Time To Get Ready For New Drives

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