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Enterprise array vendors contradict Seagate's 2.5 inch drive roadmap

Simon Sharwood with David Raffo

Seagate has announced a new 2.5 inch drive the company says takes the form factor beyond the laptop and into the enterprise storage array.

The “Savvio 10k.3,” launched this week, is a 300GB, self-encrypting drive which is more than twice the capacity of Seagate’s previous SAS drives. It also supports the SAS 2 interface and its 6 Gbit/s speed. Smaller drives are also said to have lower power consumption.

“300-gig drives will be more attractive to storage vendors, and they’re starting to find the small form factor drives more compelling,” said Henry Fabian, executive director of marketing for Seagate’s enterprise business. “You’ll start to see the small form factor ship in the second half of the year in storage arrays because of higher capacity and lower power requirements.”

Fabian’s comments about the devices imminent inclusion in enterprise arrays is not, however, supported by three major storage vendors that searchstorage.com.au asked about the drives.

EMC, for example, would not confirm that the drives will work in any of its current arrays and sent searchstorage.com.au a statement saying that “The 2.5 " drives are something that EMC is looking at as we always look at the technology that is on the horizon. As we see that these drives can help our customers with the reliability and availability we require at the right economic benefit to our customers we will bring them to market.”

John Derrett, IBM’s A/NZ Storage Product Manager is another fence sitter.

“As of today IBM is not marketing disk products using the 2.5" DDMs (Disk Drive Modules),” he wrote to Searchstorage.com.au. “[The] Storage Solutions Group are of course evaluating such products and with increasing disk densities IBM may well utilise the 2.5" disk in future products.”

NetApp’s position is very similar, with the company saying it “currently doesn’t have products on the market that work with 2.5” hard drives.”

The company did, however, offer some hint about when the drives may be pressed into service.

“They are in the roadmap,” the company confirmed. “3.5” hard drives are set to exit the market in 2010/2011. NetApp will continue to monitor the performance profiles and how they would integrate into existing and future product sets.”

Seagate, meanwhile, insists that “major OEM evaluations of the Savvio 10K.3 drive have begun,” and adds that “General product availability is planned for the second half of calendar year 2008.”