Print 13 comment(s) - last by Silver2k7.. on Nov 9 at 1:09 AM

WD S25
Should Seagate be worried?

Western Digital Corporation (WDC) is the second largest hard disk drive maker in the world. Their strength has been in the retail and enthusiast market, especially with their 10k RPM VelociRaptor drive. The company is also enjoying strong sales of products built around their 500GB platters, such as the world's first 2TB hard drive.

There are a few opportunities for the company to grow, and the most lucrative is the enterprise storage market. Currently, that market is dominated by companies like Seagate, which offers 15k RPM drives, and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, which integrated the remnants of IBM's hard drive divisions.

In order to compete, WDC had to bring out drives with support for Serial Attached SCSI (SAS). SCSI has long been the standard for enterprise servers and workstations due to higher reliability and better ECC. SAS has been replacing parallel SCSI steadily for the last couple of years, as it has no termination issues and eliminated clock skew.

WDC is now shipping its new WD S25 drive, available in 300GB and 147GB capacities and spinning at 10k RPM in a 2.5-inch form factor. It is available at 3 Gb/s and 6 Gb/s interface speeds (which SATA just achieved), and has a sustained sequential data rate of 128 MB/sec.

Superficially, the WD S25 appears similarly to the VelociRaptor, but it has much faster read and write seek times at 3.6 ms and 4.2 ms respectively. It also has a slightly high MTBF rating at 1.6 million hours.

WDC says this is a "mission-critical class" drive, and will be targeting data centers and large storage arrays. Despite the growing adoption of Solid State Drives, traditional hard drives are still used as the primary means of storage due to their high capacities and low costs. SSDs are most often used in tiered storage scenarios in an enterprise environment in order to boost IOPS.

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By chick0n on 11/3/2009 12:14:01 PM , Rating: 2
But Ever since Raptor came out, Well, I made the switch and I use 2 Raptor as my boot drive. Then have 2 TB drive for storage.

Hmm, I was thinking of going back to SAS but ... if its a bit more cheaper I might think about it.

By rippleyaliens on 11/3/2009 12:14:23 PM , Rating: 2
About time is all i have to say.

By amanojaku on 11/3/2009 12:27:04 PM , Rating: 2
This will be more expensive than a single Raptor due to the improved MTBF and seek times. The RPM being limited to 10K is surprising at the 2.5 size, too, so I wouldn't consider dumping your Raptors any time soon. A 10K RPM 300GB Raptor is $230; a 15K RPM 300GB SAS drive is $300. The price difference for one drive is largely insignificant, but two drives begins to add up, and with a minimal performance gain at that. WDC would have to sell this at $250-$270 to make it competitive, but then it would cannibalize Raptor sales.

By mars2k on 11/3/2009 4:49:10 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah a bit of competition never hurts. Get those SAS drives down in price bump the speed to 15K RPM and wait for the SSDs to catch up in capacity and $$

WD VelociRaptor vs. WD Caviar Black
By EglsFly on 11/5/2009 11:17:52 PM , Rating: 2
How do these compare for performance? Any links to these head to head? Trying to figure out what drive(s) to get for my next gaming build rig. (Pri boot drive and Sec data drive)

RE: WD VelociRaptor vs. WD Caviar Black
By Silver2k7 on 11/9/2009 1:06:22 AM , Rating: 2
probably not worth writing home about =)

if you think you need space for any reason get the Black Caviar
or Seagate 7200.12 (slightly faster than caviar).. Seagate Barracuda XT (latest gen. but only avalible at 2TB atm.) is probably slightly faster again.

By Silver2k7 on 11/9/2009 1:09:56 AM , Rating: 2
this late in the game, if you buy a small disk for pure speed its probably time to think of SSD.

irrelevant comparison?
By semo on 11/3/09, Rating: 0
RE: irrelevant comparison?
By amanojaku on 11/3/2009 2:58:47 PM , Rating: 3
You are correct in that SATA interfaces are half-duplex while SAS interfaces are full-duplex, and that the comparison is irrelevant. It doesn't matter, however, for two reasons:

1) No hard disk is capable of performing more than one I/O at a time
2) No hard disk is capable of transmitting data at 3Gbit/sec (~355MB/sec)

The SATA interface is meant to connect one disk to one channel. The SAS interface is also meant to connect one disk to one channel, but both interfaces support expanders/port multipliers. SATA therefore can scale up to 15 drives per channel, but realistically three-six drives is enough to hit the performance wall.

SAS, on the other hand, can scale up to 16K devices per channel, with a realistic limit of about 8-12. SAS interfaces can handle multiple IOs for multiple drives (SAS interfaces have replaced the SCSI bus in storage arrays, after all), but the disks perform better than SATA and eat up more bandwidth.

Good for Western Digital
By AnnihilatorX on 11/3/2009 12:26:48 PM , Rating: 2
While their drives aren't the cheapest, I had nothing but joy using WD drives. I've bought over 7 drives so far and none so far had failed. I still had 4 failed Maxtor drives back from the old days.

late to the party
By tastyratz on 11/3/2009 1:06:34 PM , Rating: 2
about time.
I hope this is a stepping stone into the enterprise market, but they are really late in the game. SSD just about screams enterprise and the more it matures the more it gains acceptance in corporate environments. The sas mechanical drive market has probably peaked and ssd based drives will likely become dominant over the next few years. This at least gives WD an entrance to building a name in a true enterprise class market and give them a place to transition to in future storage.

By johnsonx on 11/3/2009 5:37:27 PM , Rating: 2
or is the Velociraptor 49-day bug now an Enterprise Feature?

yes, yes, I know WD finally has a fix for that, I'm just still bitter about it after having a server crash and corrupt data every 49 days for a year before we figured out what the hell was going on. Also bitter that it took WD over 3 weeks to get me replacement drives, and it looks like I'll still have to flash the firmware myself.

Did I mention I'm bitter?

New CRTs?
By icanhascpu on 11/3/09, Rating: -1
"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
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