Seagate, a company that has been known in the circles of storage companies for decades has launched what appears to be a new chapter in the company?s history. Seagate is launching a fully comprehensive hard drive and solid state drive enterprise line up for customers. In the past, Seagate only made their SSDs available to a select few OEMs in order to create more focus on their SSD development. Currently, Seagate only plans to continue SSD development in the enterprise space. This time, though, the second generation Seagate SSDs named Pulsar.2 and Pulsar XT.2 will be available to all OEMs and will be a much broader offering.

Seagate Pulsar SSDs

The first part of Seagate?s launch is their highest performing one, their SSDs. Their SSD offerings will consist of the Pulsar.2 and the Pulsar XT.2. The difference between these two is primarily the fact that the Pulsar.2 is a new drive that is their first MLC based SSD. The Pulsar.2 is specifically designed for the enterprise with the ability to automatically detected and correct any data errors that may result during normal drive operation. These drives are intended to fill the most demanding data applications where speed is the most important thing. Some applications include online transaction processing, cloud computing, content delivery and even possibly high frequency trading.

As many people know, many MLC drives have issues with performance degradation over time, as a result Seagate has perfected their drives by creating a tailored solution with their own controllers and Samsung NAND flash. The relationship that Seagate and Samsung have created has enabled Seagate?s Pulsar drives to be capable of sustained performance for the entire life of the drives.

 These drives also have Auto-Lock and Instant Secure Erase which allow for the utmost highest level of security. These drives are secured via the AES-256 bit encryption key which makes the drives extremely secure if they were to ever be stolen. The Auto-Lock feature locks the drive?s data if the drive is suddenly removed or stolen and makes the data unreadable to anyone unauthorized to access the drive.

The Pulsar.2 will come in capacities ranging from 100GB upto 800GB and will come in 6Gb/s SAS as well as SATA 6G. These drives will also be capable of 10 full drive writes per day, which is more than the majority would expect to use on a single drive, let alone on a multi-drive array. These drives also have power loss data protection in the event of a power outage and are supported by a 3 year warranty. This is all possible due to the fact that Seagate uses enterprise class MLC rather than consumer grade MLC found in other MLC SSDs. But because it is MLC, these drives should cost about 30-40% less than their SLC companion but also mean less longevity.

The Pulsar XT.2 will come in small capacities ranging from 100GB to 400GB and will only be available in the 6Gb/s SAS interface. Furthermore, these drives also utilize SLC NAND which results in high performance. The XT.2 is capable of random reads/writes of 48K and 22K respectively while obtaining sustained reads and writes of 360 and 300 MB/s. On top of being faster, the Pulsar XT.2 is also capable of more longevity than the Pulsar.2 with over 35 full drive writes per day which is more than anyone would ever use in almost any usage scenario since that effectively means 3.5TB per day of writes per drive. In total, the Pulsar XT.2 is capable of having 25 Petabytes or 25,000TB written to it for the life of the drive. These drives claim to have a 2 Million MTBF(mean time between failures) which results in a Seagate maximum 5 year warranty on these drives. The one thing that Seagate stressed heavily was that all of these performance figures are sustainable over the lives of their drives rather than for the first few weeks, months, or years.
Savvio 15K.3 and 10K.5

Even though Seagate has created themselves a new category of storage in SSDs, they still recognize that not everything can or should be accomplished with SSDs. Not only does it create a whole slew of issues, but its simply not cost effective. In order to be more cost effective, Seagate has a multi-tiered system with SSDs being at the top and 3.5? extra-large drives at the bottom. The Savvio 15K.3 sits right below the SSDs in performance while still saving quite a bit of space as they are in the 2.5? form factor; and the Savvio 10K.5 right below it. Both these drives have data security and power saving features that make them extremely attractive to the enterprise space.

The Savvio 15K.3 is still a very high-performance drive that still gives the benefits of being a physical spinning drive. Furthermore, because it is a 15K RPM drive, it is extremely fast? to the point where it is comparable to some consumer SSDs. The Savvio 15K.3 comes in two sizes, 146GB and 300Gb which both require an SAS interface but run are capable of utilizing SAS 6Gb/s. The average seek time on the Savvio 15K.3 is also ridiculous as it is a measly 2.6ms for reads and 3.1ms for writes on the 300GB model. Furthermore, Seagate claims that this drive is literally the fastest hard drive available today. While we cannot necessarily validate these claims until we have tested these drives, Seagate states that the drives should be capable of sustained transfer rates of 202 to 151MB/s. On top of that, Seagate has also significantly increased the cache of their drives by quadrupling it to 64MB from a previous 16MB.

The Savvio 10K.5 is their slightly slower HDD compared to the Pulsar and Savvio 15K.3 but is still capable of some of the fastest HDD performance figures in a hard drive today. The Savvio 10K.5 comes in 300GB, 450GB, 600GB and 900GB capacities and is available in the 6Gb/s SAS and 4Gb/s Fibre Channel. As far as we know, the 900GB drive is the biggest 10K RPM drive to date. Also, the 900GB model has seek times of 3.7 and 4.1 ms for read and write while the other drives have seek times of 3.4 and 3.8 respectively. The performance on these drives is a little slower than the 15K RPM and Solid State drives, but is still very comparable to other 10K RPM drives out there. Currently, Seagate claims speeds of 168to 93MB/s which are partially backed by the 64MB of cache like the 10K.5 drive. On top of that, these drives have very low idle power ranging from 3.5w on the 300GB model up to 4.4w on the 900GB model. In total, performance and wattage per gigabyte are improved.  At the moment of publication, Seagate has not provided us with the random seek power consumption, but we will update this article as those come in.
Constellation ES.2 3TB

Last but not least, definitely not least, is the Constellation ES.2. This drive is the only remaining drive in Seagate?s enterprise lineup that will be in the 3.5? form factor. The ES.2 will come in only one capacity, 3TB. This is because Seagate only expects the ES.2 to fill bulk data storage and RAID arrays. These drives are primarily intended as backups for the faster smaller capacity drives. Because of this, these are also the slowest drives that Seagate offers in their enterprise line-up. This results in an average read /write seek time of 8.5 and 9.5ms respectively for the ES.2 drives with sustained transfer rates of 155MB/s up from 150MB/s using SATA 6Gb. So, even though this is technically their slowest HDD they?ve still managed to make it faster. In addition to that, the drives will consume 7.4w on SAS and 7.7w on SATA in idle use. This marks a reduction of idle power from 8w on SAS. Meanwhile, these drives consume 10.43w and 10.15w in random read/write conditions which make them less attractive when trying to be constantly accessing data. This is why Seagate is pushing a tier storage system. In order to make these drives more attractive for things like RAID Seagate has added features like PowerChoice and RAID Rebuild. Powerchoice enables the selection of different drive spin up speeds in order to reduce power consumption and to control it with four different settings. RAID Rebuild is a feature that Seagate is still working on, but is stated to reduce RAID rebuild times by 80% once implemented. The only issue is that RAID controller manufacturers need to be onboard in order for RAID Rebuild to be able to function properly. Hopefully we will see a few announcements soon.

Seagate has quite a large enterprise drive offering that they are simultaneously launching. They have been putting a lot of focus on tiering their drives and showing that the storage industry is moving towards smaller (2.5?) form factors and that SSDs are finally beginning to see their places in enterprise computing. As the market grows, we can expect to see SSDs capturing 5% or more of the entire enterprise market by volume and likely much much more in revenue. It is good to see that Seagate acknowledged the fact that SSDs are an important factor in the growth of the storage industry but at the same time realizes that HDDs are not necessarily going anywhere either. The proper balance of the two will likely yield Seagate a solid business model into the future and is a recipe for success and profit growth. While it is likely that Seagate going private could have helped the company, this sort of a comprehensive enterprise offering is likely going to support the company for years to come. Well, that about wraps it up; we look forward to seeing these drives available soon and giving you guys our own test results.