RealTime IT News

HP Goes Small With 2.5 Inch Hard Drives

HP has issued a 2.5-inch hard drive for its entire ProLiant server line in an effort to lure customers from IBM, Dell and EMC.

Small form factor hard drives are prized in the industry because they provide a number of advantages over their more traditional 3.5 inch drives, including the ability to do online transaction processing.

Smaller drives are more dense, meaning administrators can generally pack about 50 more drives per server. HP's new drive also runs on serial attached SCSI (SAS), which pipes data at 1,200 megabits per second (Mbps). The smaller size also means the devices consume less power and are more reliable than 3.5 inch gadgets.

For example, when HP's ProLiant DL360 server was outfitted with the new drives it enabled applications with greater performance requirements than its 3.5-inch predecessor.

Paul Perez, vice president, storage, networks and infrastructure at HP, said the new offering should give the Palo Alto, Calif., company a leg up over the competition. It might even help HP sell more than the one million drives per quarter it currently ships, Perez suggested.

Of the larger systems vendors, only IBM offers a 2.5-inch drive. But it offers the box to customers in parallel SCSI technology, which is naturally slower than serial approaches. Moreover, IBM only offers that device for one specific server, the HS20 blade server.

To further support its cause versus rivals, HP has enlisted a gang of support from fellow hard drive makers Fujitsu, Hitachi and Seagate, all of whom helped develop the new drive.

The 2.5-inch, 10K hard drive is expected to be available in HP ProLiant servers in mid-2005. Perez said HP will bring the 2.5 inch drives to its Integrity, BladeSystem and StorageWorks lines by 2006.

HP also plans to increase shipments of 3.5-inch, 15K RPM SAS drives for server and storage applications requiring the highest levels of system performance. The idea is to leave the older 3.5-inch drives behind.

While the 3.5-inch drives will be hard pressed to deliver the benefits of their 2.5-inch gadgets, the performance increase from 10K to 15K will let businesses meet their data transfer requirements with more densely packed storage systems.