New products push the envelope of storage technology

BANGALORE, FEB. 26. Indian corporate customers of computer storage were today offered a plethora of new products — the result of intense technology churning in this neck of the information technology business. The result may make bulk enterprise-type storage cheaper, faster and more secure.

The U.S.-based Seagate unveiled its new class of enterprise disk drives named `Savvio', short for high density and Savvy Input-output solutions, the first products in the enterprise-class storage sector to shrink the drive from the 3.5 inch size to 2.5 inch. This 70 per cent reduction in space and consequent 40 per cent power saving, also makes the drives about 15 per cent faster is expected to be the size new standard. By 2006, one in three enterprise disk drives will come in the shrunk form factor, says market watcher Gartner.

Seagate's Country Manager, Sharad Srivastava, said here today at the product launch, that the Savvio drives were immediately available for the Small Computer Systems Interface (SCSI) and would also be made for Fibre Channel and Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) interfaces by mid 2004.

While Seagate's new product line, offers hard disk drives for space-constrained applications such as the new generation `blade' servers as well as high density local applications such as automatic teller machines (ATMs) and medical imaging equipment, Japanese storage giant Hitachi, has this week announced two products at opposite ends of the storage spectrum: the world's first 300 GB enterprise hard drive for mission critical storage — as well as the imminent release of a tiny Microdrive that can be embedded in hand-held devices such as Pocket PCs, voice recorders and MP3 music players. The 300 GB leviathan, the Ultrastar 10K300 (for 10,000 rpm and 300 gigabytes) comes in the 3.5 inch form factor. Packing an unprecedented 61 billion bits per square inch at this high spin rate, poses some serious technical challenges according to independent analysts. The product is the first major technology breakthrough for Hitachi after it took over IBM's hard disk business in 2002.

Steve East, Vice President, Global Account Technologies for the U.S.-based Hitachi Data Systems, a sister company of the hard disk maker, speaking to The Hindu during a storage workshop, jointly organised today, with Wipro and Sun Microsystems, suggested that it was time to understand yet another buzzword, Object Storage. Traditional storage architectures which dealt with data as either files or blocks, and were realised as Storage Area Network (SAN) or Network Attached Storage (NAS) systems, were rapidly evolving. At the centre of the new emerging architecture were so called `storage objects', combinations of application (that is, file) data and its storage attributes (metadata). Object-based storage was largely fuelled by the computational clout of the increasingly popular Linux-based clusters and their data-intensive applications.

Last week, the other storage player EMC, announced its own line-up of new solutions for India — 12 products and associated software.