Hitachi Goes For Big in Small Form

Hoping to provide a jolt to its ailing enterprise hard-disk-drive business,
Hitachi Global Storage Technologies today introduced three new drives,
including the company’s first small-form-factor storage device.

The 10K RPM Ultrastar C10K147 marks Hitachi’s entry into the small-form-factor market, which has been successful for market leaders Seagate and
Fujitsu, and shows that Hitachi is serious about selling storage devices to

At 2.5 inches, Ultrastar C10K147 stores up to 147 gigabytes and stores data
via a 3Gb/s SAS  interface for servers that need high
performance but consume less power than traditional 15K HDDs.

Doug Pickford, director of market and product strategy for Hitachi, said
businesses typically fit two 3.5-inch drives with a 1U (1U=1.75 inches) rack
server. As customers move to 2.5-inch disk drives, such as the C10K147,
there will be configurations of 6 HDDs, he said.

IDC expects small-form-factor shipments to jump from 2.4 million in 2006 to
9.4 million in 2007, thanks to cost, space and low-power considerations increasingly coming into play. Such drives are important at a time when IT
organizations are looking to store more voice, video and image data.

Hitachi Ultrastar

The small form factor.

Source: Hitachi

Pickford said it isn’t inconceivable that storage arrays start employing
2.5-inch drives in the future, noting that power and so-called green
products are becoming the standard.

With a potential 300 gigabytes of storage capacity, the 3.5-inch 15K RPM
Ultrastar 15K300 is the “workhorse” of Hitachi’s drives, said Pickford. The
device, the next generation of Hitachi’s 15K147, is also accommodating to
different data-transfer protocols, supporting Ultra320 SCSI, 3Gb/s SAS and
4Gb/s FCAL interfaces.

“This is a very good choice for not just arrays because of large capacity
but also for servers because of its high performance,” Pickford said.

Finally, the 3.5-inch 7200 RPM Ultrastar A7K1000 stores as much as 1
terabyte of data and was designed for anything from high-end and lower duty
storage applications to servers requiring high availability. The device,
which uses a 3.0Gb/s SATA  interface, is the next
generation of the Deskstar E7K50O.

The new drives will be delivered to storage and server OEMs in the second
quarter of 2007.

“We’re feeling really good about this line-up here and what it will offer
not only our customers but Hitachi as a way to provide a foundation for
future profitability,” Pickford said.

Hitachi needs the new enterprise HDDs to sell well.

Facing competitive pressure from market leaders Seagate and Fujitsu, as well
as the popular Flash memory  technology, the company
last month vowed to
close its manufacturing plant in Mexico, a move that will eliminate 4,500
jobs, or 11 percent of the company’s workforce.

Hitachi’s goal is to save $300 million in operating expenses over the
next five years.

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