In the second quarter of 2012, Seagate's market share slid from first place to second, increasing the competition between the companies for disk drive market leadership. Both Seagate and Western Digital have made acquisitions to increase their market share. Seagate took over Samsung's hard disk drive business, and Western Digital acquired Hitachi GST.
The market for hard disk drives, although slowed by floods in Thailand, is growing. According to research firm IHS iSuppli, the hard disk drive market grew by 4.3% over last year. Windows 8 accounts for much of the disk drive market shipments, according to iSuppli, who estimated that 524 million drives will ship this year.
Drives used in the enterprise account for a large number of these drives. As the amount of data grows in cloud deployments and enterprise data centers, the need for disk drives is greater.
To that end, Seagate is introducing Enterprise Value, Enterprise Capacity, and Enterprise Performance drives--three drives that are intended to be used for bulk storage, primary storage, and with applications that call for high performance.
The Seagate Enterprise Value disk drive offers as much as 3 TB of storage and is expected to be used for storage of unstructured data in cloud storage environments. It is focused on near-line storage use.
Also known as Constellation CS, the drive operates at 7,200 RPM. It is available in a 3.5-inch form factor and consumes 29% less power than competitive drives, according to Seagate's claims. In addition, for security and safe disposal, the drive features the Seagate Instant Secure Erase software, which allows the erasure of data from the drive, and features 256-bit encryption.
The Constellation CS is also available in 1-TB and 2-TB capacities. They have a 6-Gbps SATA interface, perform at 150-180 MBps sustained data transfer rates, and operate at less than 6.4 watts when inactive.
[ You can skip the SAN and still bring the advantages of local storage to a virtualized environment. See Storage That Only Looks Like A SAN. ]
Seagate also announced the Enterprise Capacity 3.5-inch drive, which is available in 1-, 2-, 3-, or 4-TB capacities and suitable for use in data centers, where its performance will be tested. The drive is also focused for use in external SAN, NAS, or direct-attached storage arrays, virtual tape libraries, and as the mainstay for surveillance appliances.
This drive, also known as Constellation ES.3, scales to 4 TB of capacity and features 7,200 RPM performance. It has a 6-Gbps SAS or SATA interface and incorporates Seagate's RAID Rebuild technology.
In addition, it features Seagate Power Choice, which allows for power savings. Finally, the Constellation ES.3 uses Seagate's Instant Secure Erase for disposal and self-encrypting drive (SED) technology. It is SED FIPS U.S. compliant and uses AES 128- or 256-bit encryption. The drive performs at 175 MBps.
The company also introduced the Seagate Enterprise Performance 10K drive, a 2.5-inch drive with 900 GB of storage that operates at 10,000 RPMs. Also known as the Savvio 10K.6, the drive has built-in security and is low power. Like the Constellation ES.3, the drive features Seagate Instant Secure Erase for drive disposal and self-encrypting drive technology that is expected to be FIPS 140-2 Level-2 compliant.
By contrast, Western Digital introduced last month the WD XE and RE drives, which are intended for use in high-performance environments and in NAS, SAN, and direct-attached storage.
Both Constellation CS drives are available now. The Savvio 10.6 is expected to be available in mid-2013. A 3-TB Constellation CS SATA drive starts at $209 from online resellers such as PC SuperStore and CostCentral.