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Seagate hauls out fat form factor throwback hard drive

Bulky, low-capacity spinner built for SMBs

By Chris Mellor, 17 Jan 2017

It's back to the future for the latest Seagate large form factor disk with a low capacity.

The company has introduced a 3.5-inch 1TB and 2TB disk drive spinning at 7,200rpm with a slow 6Gbps SATA interface, and called it an Enterprise Capacity drive.

Remarkably, other 3.5-inch Enterprise Capacity drives of Seagate's go up to 8TB when air-filled, and 10TB when helium-filled, and have much faster 12Gbps SAS interfaces. What gives?

The new drives use ninth-generation PMR recording and are aimed at a market niche that needs an entry-level, small-capacity drive in the 3.5-inch format, not the 2.5-inch one. It's a cheap (we assume; no prices supplied) and cheerful spinner with a 128MB cache, 194MBps transfer rate, two million hours MTBF rating, five-year warranty, and supports 24x7 workloads of 550TB per year.

That's 10 times a desktop drive's workload. Seagate says the drives are built specifically to address the entry-level bulk data needs of system architects, sales engineers and owners of small to medium-sized businesses, and suggests these application areas could use it:

Seagate_Enterprise_Capacity_v5_1_2TB
  • Hyperscale applications/cloud data centres with replicated storage
  • Scale-out data centres and big data analytics
  • Legacy mainstream applications requiring 512n block size
  • High-capacity density RAID storage
  • Mainstream enterprise external storage arrays (SAN, NAS, DAS) Distributed file systems, including Hadoop and Ceph
  • Enterprise backup and restore – D2D, virtual tape
  • Centralised surveillance

When we read "High-capacity density RAID storage" in this list we thought Seagate might be being ironic but, presumably, it's done its market research and there is sufficient demand for a drive of this type.

As far as price goes, Seagate talks about this enterprise-class nearline bulk data storage drive having the lowest possible cost structure for up to five years, which encourages us to think it will be good value.

Grab a datasheet here [PDF].

One possibility that has been mentioned to us is that Seagate is merely listening to a large vendor’s request for a very cheap HDD – slow, but with relatively good reliability. If true, Seagate will have delivered. ®

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