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Hitachi GST Enters Enterprise SSD Market

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies is claiming to be the first hard-drive supplier to deliver enterprise class Serial Attached SCSI and Fibre Channel solid state drives. Built around Intel NAND flash technology and available in 100, 200 and 400Gb capacities, the Ultrastar SSD400 family features both 2.5-inch 6Gb/s SAS and 3.5-inch 4Gb/s FC interfaces.

Analyst John Chen, Trend Focus, says HGST may be the first HDD vendor making this claim, but there are existing competitors. "Pliant has released a true SAS model, and, of course STEC has been in both markets. It is a significant announcement as this drive is a compelling competitor to STEC's offering."

HGST says the Ultrastar SSD400S family delivers the industry's highest sequential throughput, being the first to reach up to 535MB/s read and 500MB/s write throughput with 6Gb/s SAS, and 380MB/s read and 350MB/s write throughput with 4Gb/s FC. It also delivers up to 46,000 read and 13,000 sustained write IOPS, reaching speeds 100 times faster than traditional hard drives. The 400GB SSD can endure up to 35 petabytes (PB) of random writes over the life of the drive.

SSD analyst Jim Handy, Objective Analysis, says the enterprise SSD market is the faster growing of the two SSD markets -- enterprise and client -- with expected average annual unit shipment growth of almost 90 percent. "Objective Analysis predicts that unit shipments in 2015 will be seventeen times those of 2009 at over four million units, reaching $3.8 billion in revenues."

This new technology is a threat to enterprise HDDs, which initially replaced enterprise HDDs at a 10:1 ratio, but this drops to 2.5:1 by the end of the forecast period. This means that the enterprise HDD market will shrink faster than the enterprise SSD market can grow, states Objective Analysis.

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