Seagate Refreshes 3.5-Inch Cheetah Drives

New hard disk drives for Tier 1 storage line offer better performance, larger capacity, and reduced power consumption

January 13, 2009

2 Min Read
Network Computing logo

While many companies are moving to 2.5-inch hard drives in their storage infrastructure, there are still many that have not yet made the switch and continue to rely on 3.5-inch disks. That market is still healthy and Seagate Technology Inc. (NYSE: STX) is upgrading its Cheetah line of 3.5-inch drive to offer customers better performance, larger capacities, and lower power consumption.

Gianna Dagiau, senior marketing manager for Seagate's Enterprise Compute Business, says 3.5-inch drives are still a big piece of the Tier 1 storage market, making up around 65 percent of the market last year. That will drop to 13 percent of the Tier 1 storage market in 2011. "We expect there to still be a lot of demand for 3.5-inch in the next year or two, although it is clear that the market is shifting to 2.5-inch drives because they use less space and require less power," Dagiau said.

Seagate today introduced the Cheetah NS.2, the second generation of a 10,000-rpm drive used mostly for networked storage. The company in the second quarter will roll out the Cheetah 15K.7, a 15,000-rpm drive. Seagate is boosting the capacity of the new drives to 600 Gbytes, reducing the cost per gigabyte and saving on overall power and cooling costs. It also is adding technology to the Cheetah NS.2 called PowerTrim that cuts power consumption by more than 20 percent, Dagiau said. The new drives also offer faster RAID rebuilds and improved reliability. Both will include 6-Gbyte/s SAS and 4-Gbytes/s Fibre Channel interfaces.

Most of the 2.5-inch drives are showing up in storage systems shipped with servers, and not many vendors or customers have shifted to the smaller drives in their external storage systems, said John Rydning, a research director specializing in hard disk drives at research firm IDC . "I don't see external storage system [equipment makers] beginning to migrate en masse to the 2.5-inch form factor until 2010 at the earliest. Hence, there is a good volume of 3.5-inch performance optimized HDDs that will continue to ship each quarter to these external storage system customers."

The company also is adding self-encryption to the Cheetah NS.2 and plans to extend that feature to all of its drives. The feature allows for erasing the drive when the data on it is no longer needed, allowing the drive to be reused or returned when a lease expires. "That lets companies get some money or credit back by returning it or reselling it," Dagiau said.The key enhancement is the larger capacity, said Rydning. As companies try to make their infrastructure last longer during a rough economy, they are looking to extend the life of their 3.5-inch storage infrastructure. Those customers "would not have been satisfied with only 450 GB of capacity for several more years, the maximum capacity that Seagate made available on its prior generation Cheetah," he said.

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights