Toshiba Intros High-Speed Enterprise Small Form Factor Hard Drives

Toshiba's Storage Products Business Unit on Tuesday unveiled the new Toshiba MK01GRRR hard drives which, in addition to the high capacity, also feature 15,000-rpm spin rate and a 6-Gbps SATA interface.

The new drive features double the capacity of its previous enterprise-class small form factor drive, said Scott Wright, product manager for the Irvine, Calif.-based organization.

The increase in capacity came from an 85 percent in areal density, which is a measure of how many bits of data fits on a given space on a hard drive platter, as well as a 39 percent increase in track density, Wright said.

The new MK01GRRR hard drives stem from a combination of Toshiba engineering and technology Toshiba received from its 2009 acquisition of the hard drive business of Fujitsu, creating the world's largest manufacturer of mobile drives and a major manufacturer of small form factor enterprise drives.

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The target customers of the new drives are those with mission-critical data running on storage and servers, including those running services-oriented infrastructures, Wright said.

"There's a lot going on with people looking to execute mission-critical business models using a Platform-as-a-Service," he said. "So it's not just traditional IT anymore."

While some of the most performance-sensitive data is moving to solid state drives, or SSDs, high-speed enterprise-class hard drives are still orders of magnitude more cost-effective on a per-GB basis, Wright said.

"Long-term trends would point in the direction of SSDs," he said. "But the other trend is to use tiering and storage provisioning to get the services they need. Customers, especially as they get into the services models, are better able to distribute workloads across virtualized environment with a mix of hard drives and SSDs."

The Toshiba MK01GRRR is available in both 300-GB and 147-GB versions. They include a new low-power mode that spins idle drives slower than previous models. There is also separate version featuring the ability to self-encrypt data on the drive.

Volume shipments of the new drives are slated to start in the first quarter of 2012.