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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