Seagate Debuts A Dozen New Disc Drives

Seagate Technology is addressing a variety of applications ranging from the portable consumer market to enterprise servers and corporate data centers.

June 15, 2004

3 Min Read
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Behind Seagate Technology's announcement Monday of 12 new disc drives is a strategy to address an assortment of applications ranging from the portable consumer market to enterprise servers and corporate data centers.

"We're the only company that has the breath of coverage in all these markets," said Jennifer Bradfield, Seagate's director of product marketing for personal and notebook storage. She sees different drives being used in different new applications and in the process enabling Seagate to address 97 percent of a total available disc drive market.

Before the announcement, the marketing exec said, the firm addressed just 70 percent of the available disc drive market representing some $16 billion. At 97 percent, the market represents $21 billion.

At the top of the new applications is a one-half terabyte drive -- the NL35 Series 500GB Fibre Channel -- that delivers near-line storage on existing Fibre Channel SANS. Bradfield noted the increase in demand for near-line storage -- users need access to vast amounts of data. "But they only need it occasionally and when they do they need it fast," she said. "Medical records are a perfect example here."

Near-line storage needs are increasing due to a broad array of new demands -- regulatory compliance requirements are growing because of new laws like the Sarbanes-Oxley requirements that require improved record keeping. New versions of the firm's established Cheetah family also address enterprise backup and recovery applications. The Cheetah 15K.4 disc drive has a Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) interface and with capacities of 36, 73, and 147 GBs also features what Seagate calls the industry's first 15K-rpm drive with a Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) rating of 1.4 million hours.At the other end of the storage usage spectrum are gaming applications and Bradfield envisions Seagate's Barracuda 7200.8 drives (400GB with 16-Mbyte cache, 7200-rpm spin speed and 8.0-msec average seek time) being used by gamers. She expects to see robust gaming configurations created by pairing two 7200.8's through serial interfaces.

There's something useful in the brace of announcements for the traveling professional, too -- the Seagate Portable External Hard Drive, a 2.5-inch hard drive that fits in a 3x5-inch carrying case. Initially it will have 40GB capability, then 100GB. "I like to call it the briefcase drive," Bradfield said.

A new Seagate entry to compete with the popular USB thumb drives is the USB2 pocket hard drive, which she said "looks like a yo-yo and offers an incredible 5GB of storage."

Seagate is also targeting additional consumer applications that are taking off. The Seagate ST1 Series is the first drive for hand-held applications that delivers a 5GB capacity that can be used for online music downloading. Seagate expects to be able to cash in on the exploding music downloading craze lead by Apple Computer's iPod Mini music player with the ST1 Series. As it is, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies has been the leader in the 1-inch disc drive area, but it can't keep up with demand for the mini drive.

Bradfield also expects its new DB35 Series drives with 400GB will fit popular applications in home video home entertainment, enabling new applications using video on demand, high-definition DVRs and home media centers. A Compact Flash Photo drive with up to 5,000 Mbytes gives digital camera users the ability to save and archive large photography archives without having to carry extra flash media.The Seagate product line is fleshed out by versions of its traditional Savvio and Momentus families. All models announced Monday will be shipping within seven months.

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