SAS Product Update

Author: Jim Pascoe, Corporate Communications
Hitachi Global Storage Technologies

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a report on energy efficiency in data centers and the results were staggering. According to the EPA, energy usage at data centers doubled between 2000 and 2006, and it’s poised to double again by 2011. Space, system cost and low power considerations in data centers are of primary importance to IT executives in the next few years.

In response to these trends, many data center managers have begun transitioning to small form factor enterprise hard drives for use in their server and storage applications. These 2.5-inch 10K RPM enterprise-class hard drives have been designed to deliver increased performance, improved server/storage density, greater thermal efficiency and lower total cost of ownership for enterprise computing.

Small form factor hard drives were designed from the ground up to leverage the benefits of Serial Attached SCSI (SAS). SAS is able to provide customers improved performance, reliability and scalability, while delivering greater configuration flexibility than previously used parallel architectures. Its smaller connectors and cabling also works well for blades and other high-density server applications.

2.5-inch, 10K RPM SAS models offer more drive spindles per server, with available capacities up to 147GB. They are best suited for performance-intensive applications such as online transaction processing. A key new product in Hitachi’s enterprise product portfolio is the Ultrastar C10K147, the company’s first small form factor enterprise drive. The Ultrastar C10K147 was developed specifically for the high performance, low power requirements of servers.

In April, 2007, Hitachi also began shipping its second-generation 3.5-inch, 15K RPM SAS model with up to 300GB of storage capacity. The Ultrastar 15K300 is Hitachi’s highest-performer, delivering average seek times as fast as 3.4 ms, average latency of 2 ms and large 16MB cache sizes. The Ultrastar’s performance characteristics allow customers to access their data more quickly and efficiently. The drive is ideally suited for use in mission-critical enterprise computing environments, such as online transaction processing, data analysis and other multi-user applications.

The Ultrastar 15K300 is built on a mature design platform to provide greater reliability. Several Ultrastar 15K300 design attributes combine to protect customer data, including Rotational Vibration Safeguard (RVS) technology. RVS is used to protect drive performance in high rotational vibration environments, primarily in multi-drive configurations. Fluid dynamic bearing (FDB) motors deliver a low acoustic rating and improved data integrity. Hitachi also offers the only 3.5-inch enterprise-class hard drive utilizing a head load/unload ramp, which minimizes integration induced drive damage.

One of the primary benefits of SAS is that it can coexist with Serial ATA (SATA) within a single storage enclosure, using common backplanes, connectors and cabling. This allows for the development of systems using a combination of SAS drives to provide the highest levels of system performance and SATA drives as a low-cost-per-gigabyte solution for nearline storage, disk-to-disk backup and other low-I/O applications. Many IT managers are pairing the new Hitachi SAS drives with high-capacity SATA solutions, such as the Ultrastar A7K1000. This combination provides a great deal of flexibility to design disk arrays and other storage systems that provide exactly what the application requires for the least cost and maximum return on investment.

Hitachi GST (originally as IBM) was among the founding members of the Serial Attached SCSI Working Group before submitting the emerging standard to the SCSI Trade Association and the T10 Committee. Hitachi continues to participate as an active member of these two standards organizations.

For additional information about the Hitachi Ultrastar 15K300 and C10K147, please visit

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