Friday, 12 August 2016 09:29

Seagate surprises SSD spectators

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Seagate, better known for its spinning disks, has stunned delegates at the 2016 Flash Memory Summit with its announcement of a 60TB, SAS, SSD and an 8TB Nytro XP7200 NVMe SSD – both at the extreme cutting edge of flash technology and usage.

Of course the 60TB, Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) unit is for data centre use as is the Nytro, but we may see the latter in professional use soon.

“The explosion of data can translate into more value for enterprises if they have the right means to accommodate that data,” said Brett Pemble, Seagate’s general manager and vice-president of SSD products. “If anything is certain, it is the fact that across industries, the limits of data growth are boundless. Seagate is committed to providing new and varied technologies to help customers stay ahead of the data management curve. New products like the 8TB Nytro XP7200 NVMe SSD and 60TB SAS SSD are a testament to that.”

“Given the demands on today’s data centres, optimal technologies are those that can accommodate an immense amount of data as needed—and without taking up too much space. As such, we are constantly seeking new ways to provide the highest density possible in our all-flash data centre configurations,” said Mike Vildibill, vice-president, advanced technologies and big data, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. “Seagate’s new 60TB SAS SSD offers an exciting possibility for customers to achieve higher server storage performance and capacity configurations never seen before.”

The 60TB SAS SSD features twice the density and four times the capacity of the next highest capacity available SSD – sufficient capacity for 400 million photos or 12,000 DVD movies. Its single controller architecture also delivers the lowest cost per gigabyte for flash available today.

It simplifies the process of accommodating “hot” and “cold” data, enabling data centres to use the same enterprise HDD 3.5” storage form factor. The drive’s flexible architecture provides a pathway from the current 60TB capacity to grow to 100TB or more, all in the same form factor.

It is currently a “demonstration technology” anticipated for commercial release in 2017.

The 8TB Nytro XP7200 NVMe SSD accommodates hyper-scale needs commonly seen in applications involving high-performance computing, scale-out databases and big data analytics, such as scientific research and weather modelling.

It features a single PCIe interface for high-speed data transfers and four separate controllers, providing processing power up to four times faster than comparable drives, but without the higher cost, power levels and latency of a PCIe switch or bridge. Applications can process more transactions faster using the industry’s highest bandwidth through one PCIe slot, and without having to invest in more hardware. Additionally, the technology easily integrates into all-flash system arrays.

The Nytro will be available through channel partners in calendar Q4, 2016.

Comment

To have 60TB in a single 3.5” form factor drive is amazing. It will change the way data centres think about storage, power requirements, cooling and so much more. Seagate also says that it believes it can get 100TB into a single drive.

Seagate doesn't make flash memory – I suspect it wishes it did. The memory is from Micron’s 3D NAND, and the controller comes from TSCM. This means we will see other assemblers not much later.

Samsung and Toshiba are also major contenders in this space, making 64-layer V-NAND and have said 100TB flash SSD drives will be here in a few years.

What this portends is the not-so-slow demise of spinning disks as memory prices continue to fall, and manufacturing costs of physical hard disks remain static. It is far easier to make a solid state device over a spinning disk.

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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