Hitachi’s Big Plans for Small Drives

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Hoping to boost its enterprise hard disk drive business, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies this week introduced three new drives, including the company’s first small form factor storage device.

The 10K RPM Ultrastar C10K147 marks Hitachi’s entry into the small form factor market, which has been successful for market leaders Seagate and Fujitsu, and shows that Hitachi is serious about selling storage devices to businesses.

At 2.5 inches, Ultrastar C10K147 stores up to 147 gigabytes and stores data via a 3Gb/s SASinterface for servers that need high performance but consume less power than traditional 15K HDDs.

Doug Pickford, director of market and product strategy for Hitachi, said businesses typically fit two 3.5-inch drives with a 1U (1U=1.75 inches) rack server. As customers move to 2.5-inch disk drives such as the C10K147, there will be configurations of 6 HDDs, he said.

IDC expects small form factor shipments to jump from 2.4 million in 2006 to 9.4 million in 2007, thanks to cost, space and low-power considerations increasingly coming into play. Such drives are important at a time when IT organizations are looking to store more voice, video and image data.

Hitachi Ultrastar

The small form factor.

Source: Hitachi

Pickford said it isn’t inconceivable that storage arrays will start using 2.5-inch drives in the future, noting that power and so-called green products are becoming the standard.

With a potential 300 gigabytes of storage capacity, the 3.5-inch 15K RPM Ultrastar 15K300 is the “workhorse” of Hitachi’s drives, said Pickford. The device, the next generation of Hitachi’s 15K147, also accommodates different data transfer protocols, supporting Ultra320 SCSI, 3Gb/s SAS and 4Gb/s FCAL interfaces.

“This is a very good choice for not just arrays because of large capacity, but also for servers because of its high performance,” Pickford said.

Finally, the 3.5-inch 7200 RPM Ultrastar A7K1000 stores as much as 1 terabyte of data and was designed for anything from high-end and lower-duty storage applications to servers requiring high availability. The device, which uses a 3.0Gb/s SATAinterface, is the next generation of the Deskstar E7K50O.

The new drives will be delivered to storage and server OEMs in the second quarter of 2007.

“We’re feeling really good about this lineup here and what it will offer not only our customers, but Hitachi as a way to provide a foundation for future profitability,” Pickford said.

Hitachi needs the new enterprise HDDs to sell well.

Facing competitive pressure from market leaders Seagate and Fujitsu, as well as the popular Flash memory technology, the company last month vowed to close its manufacturing plant in Mexico, a move that will eliminate 4,500 jobs, or 11 percent of the company’s workforce.

Hitachi’s goal is to save $300 million in operating expenses over the next five years.

Article courtesy of

Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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