Seagate lets loose 1TB and 2TB Enterprise hard drives

Yes, that headline is correct. No, you didn't "Quantum Leap" back to the halcyon days of the first terabyte-capacity hard drives. Seagate is actually releasing 3.5" magnetic hard drives for the enterprise market in 1TB and 2TB capacities, built for data centers with replicated servers and legacy solutions that require 512-byte sectors. The drives spin at 7,200 RPM and sport 6Gbps SATA interfaces, rather than the 12Gbps SAS interface commonly found on server drives. The drives employ conventional magnetic recording rather than the trickier and slower shingled magnetic recording.

The new drives aren't going to light the world on fire with 194 MB/s maximum transfer rates or 4.16ms latency, but those specs are hardly the point. The key in the server arena is reliability in 24/7 continuous operation and the ability to withstand the vibration of being packed in an array of many drives. To that end, Seagate touts "industry-leading rotational vibration design" to ensure consistent performance in dense systems.

Some gerbils are probably clacking their claws against keyboards to ask why an SSD isn't a better choice when vibration is a concern and low capacity isn't a problem. Besides having 512-byte sectors, these drives are rated to write 550 TB per year and hopefully make it through a five-year warranty. Just yesterday we reported on tests that showed Intel's 600p 256GB SSD biting the dust after just less than 110 TB of total writes—a number that's well beyond what power users need but falls short of what a server might require. Mean time between failure is listed as two million hours.

In other Seagate-related news, reports are circulating that the company is closing its largest drive production plant, the 1.1 million-square-foot facility in Suzhou, China. The company is reportedly laying 2,200 employees at the plant, which was opened in 2004. The move appears to be part of Seagate's plan to reduce its global staff by a head count of 6,500.

Several websites are offering the new Seagate drives for sale. The 1TB drive appears to go for around $100 and the 2TB model lists for just under $145. These prices may seem high, but consumer hard drives lack some of the features these drives have, like improved vibration handling and RAID-tuned firmware.

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