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Old 11-03-2009, 02:26 PM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default Western Digital Enters SAS Market with S25 Drives

From our front-page news:
Earlier this year, Western Digital issued a press release that revealed something not too surprising... that it was getting into the solid-state side of things. This happened via way of an acquisition of SiliconSystems, and we saw the first products to result from this a few months ago. Today, the company unveils yet another venture, this time focusing on the enterprise market. The company's S25 SAS hard drives are its first, and are designed for "mission-critical" applications.

The company's move to SAS at this point in time is an interesting one, because the technology isn't entirely new. Its new-found commitment to the drives show that it must believe that there's still a long life for SAS ahead, which will be interesting to anyone believing that SSD is sure to take over within the next few years. Although SAS drives are typically faster than regular hard drives, thanks in part to higher-grade components and 10,000 RPM rotational speeds, their read and write still can't compare to solid-state storage.

Compared to the VelociRaptor, also an enterprise drive, the real-world transfer rates are likely very similar, but the SAS drive experiences improved seek times, from 4.2ms to 3.6ms read, and 4.7ms to 4.2ms write. These tighter latencies would be appreciated in server or enterprise environments where a lot of reading and writing is going on all the time. As for transfer rates, the S25 is specified as being 128MB/s, but whether that's read or write, or both, I'm uncertain.

Pricing on the S25 drives hasn't been revealed, but you could expect a noticeable premium over the VelociRaptor drives, where the current 300GB model retails for around $270. The two available densities are 147GB and 300GB on the SAS side as well, with support for both 3Gb/s and 6GB/s interfaces.

"Our entry into the traditional-enterprise market continues the strategic expansion and diversification of WD's broad market and product portfolio, and significantly increases our addressable revenue opportunity," said John Coyne, president and CEO of WD. "As with our previous market expansion and diversification efforts, WD will approach the traditional enterprise space with the same focus on quality, customer service, technology and value that has earned us strong positions in every market we serve."

Source: Western Digital Press Release
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