Inside IT Storage

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Solid State Hybrid Drives will fuel the enterprise

Seagate just announced its latest generation Solid State Hybrid Drive (SSHD) – the 750GB Momentus XT – which made me pause and think about the potential implications throughout the enterprise. To be clear, the new Momentus XT is a client drive specifically designed for laptops. But with a 70% performance increase over its first generation model, and while also making a significant bump in capacity, there’s a lot of storage power that the Momentus XT can deliver.

Having a client-device that offers SSD-like performance along with higher capacity means that when we think about enterprise storage on a macro level, the demands on servers and storage systems and the cloud will increase as well. Ultimately more efficient and speedy client systems will mean more transaction requests can potentially be made to servers and systems on the backend.

So what does the future hold for the enterprise to handle these storage demands? Maybe it’s more SSDs to handle the performance task demands, or more HDDs to take on the capacity?

How about using enterprise-class SSHDs that again can blend the best of both areas just like they do in client applications? They can be situated at Tier 1 in between the hottest transactional data run on SSDs, and the lower tiers of bulk or infrequently accessed data stored on HDDs.

The nice thing about this mix is that the majority of storage work today is handled in Tier 1 which is the workhorse of a storage system according to IDC. It’s also an area where performance is always looking to be increased, often by short-stroking and over-provisioning. Seems bumping up this tier with enterprise-class SSHDs makes sense.

So just when can we look forward to other areas such as the enterprise turning to SSHDs? Earlier this year our CEO Steve Luczo offered a clue. “My perspective is that in 5 years – if the Silicon guys can stay on the cost curvature – 80% of our drives will be hybrid drives,” he said.

And if the adoption of hybrid drives on the client side continues to grow, we could certainly use those SSHD enterprise drives as well. Brooke Crothers of CNET recently reported that if Ultrabook vendors (which included current vendors Acer and Asus, as well as Hewlett-Packard and Dell identified as future players), “…want to hit sub-$1,000 price points next year, hybrid drives may be an imperative.”

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