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Written by Olin Coles   
Monday, 21 September 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
Seagate Interview: SSD and Enterprise Storage
Seagate Interview: HDD Storage
Seagate SSD Technology
Final Thoughts and Looking Forward

Interview with Seagate Technology

Benchmark Reviews has demonstrated a voracious appetite for high-speed storage technologies over the past few years, primarily fueled by our research and testing with Solid State Drive products. In this article Benchmark Reviews Executive Editor Olin Coles submitted several industry-specific questions directly to storage expert David Szabados, the Senior PR Manager responsible for enterprise storage, security, and future emerging storage technologies at Seagate Technology. David took time out of his busy schedule in the middle of the Seagate Barracuda XT 6Gbps SATA-III HDD product launch to directly answer many of the questions we asked. Benchmark Reviews asked Seagate questions that cover everything from increasing spindle speeds and Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording to offering SSD products, which all help shape this technology interview into an extremely rare opportunity for our readers to learn of upcoming and developmental product plans directly from the manufacturer.

Storage is a topic most people either respect and appreciate, or could care less. As a system builder for the past ten years, experience has taught me the secret to high-performance computer systems is not the processor or system memory. The biggest bottleneck of any computer is the Operating System drive. For example, an Intel Core i7-920 Processor yields an L1 cache latency of about 1 nanosecond (10-9 second) while its DDR3 memory response time takes 4000% longer when averaging 40 ns. Even when you factor in the fastest storage products, such as an SSD, you're still waiting at least 0.1 millisecond (10-3 s) for a response from the drive and the fastest hard drives may increase that wait to 4 ms. So ultimately the difference between a CPUs L1 latency (1 ns) and the fastest SSD (0.1 ms) is about 100,000%, while the fastest HDD yields a 4,000,000% difference. Knowing this, you can understand why the storage industry always welcomes technology improvements.

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It's still too early to tell if or when HDDs will be replaced with SSDs, although basic wisdom indicates that both will be favored among their intended markets for a few years to come. Personally speaking, I have been a fan of SSD technology from the beginning; but even I can acquiesce to Seagate's product road map for the short term future. SSDs can't possibly touch the value and capacity delivered by HDDs, and that's not something that will soon change.

There's no argument that HDDs still capture the capacity-hungry market segment; especially since SSDs cannot compete there. But the premium high-performance desktop storage enthusiast market is losing patience with Hard Disk Drive technology, and as a result those consumers are turning towards Solid State Drive technology in large numbers. This is exactly why the new SATA-III 6Gb/s interface and 64MB cache buffer was so important to desktop storage technology, and delivered at exactly the right time. Sure, this new bump in performance will add considerable boost to the HDD market, but at the same time it's no surprise that premier names in the industry have also invested in their own SSD solutions.

Seagate answers many of the lingering questions still hanging in the air after a year of consumer attention has been focused elsewhere. This Question and Answer interview features a line of questions that fits perfectly with the launch of 6 GB/s SATA-III storage products, and doesn't sidestep the obvious concerns surrounding SSD technology. Please continue on to the next section where we begin our interview with David Szabados, and define the current state of hard disk drive technology.

About Seagate Technology LLC.Seagate-Logo-250px.png

Seagate is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of hard disk drives and storage solutions, providing products for a wide-range of applications, including Enterprise, Desktop, Mobile Computing, Consumer Electronics and Branded Solutions. Seagate's business model leverages technology leadership and world-class manufacturing to deliver industry-leading innovation and quality to its global customers, with the goal of being the time-to-market leader in all markets in which it participates. The company is committed to providing award-winning products, customer support and reliability to meet the world's growing demand for information storage. Seagate can be found around the globe and at http://www.seagate.com/.



 

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