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Seagate SSD uses supercapacitors for data protection

Solid State Drives provide extremely fast access times while drawing much less power than conventional magnetic hard disk drives. Not only does this save money on electricity, but on cooling and space needed as well. While short-stroked 15k RPM HDDs are still commonly used in datacenters, there are being rapidly supplanted by SSDs despite their relatively high costs. The performance from several SSDs allows for the replacement of several racks of HDDs, even relatively small numbers are used in a tiered storage solution.

“The enterprise SSD market is now primed and well-positioned for growth from both a revenue and unit perspective, with Gartner estimating unit growth to double and sales to reach $1 billion for calendar year 2010,” said Joseph Unsworth, Research Director at Gartner. “Superior enterprise SSDs provide transformational capabilities when optimized in storage and server environments.” 

Seagate is the world's largest manufacturer of hard drives, and it has been working on several SSD projects even as Intel, OCZ Technology, and Western Digital have entered the enterprise SSD market. The best performance available still comes from PCI Express solutions due to the current limits of SATA, but there is still a healthy and growing market for 2.5 inch solutions.

The company is announcing its first entry into the SSD market, and it has a very interesting feature set. Pulsar series SSDs feature Power Loss Protection through the integration of a supercapacitor inside the drive. Pulsar’s data architecture is designed for integrity and protection,  enabling customers to use Pulsar with the write cache enabled for maximum performance without worry. The company won't say who makes the controller or flash, but Seagate has undoubtedly leveraged its years of experience into optimizing the firmware.

“Seagate is optimistic about the enterprise SSD opportunity and views the product category as enabling expansion of the overall storage market for both SSDs and HDDs,” said Dave Mosley, Seagate's Executive Vice President for  Sales, Marketing, and Product Line Management.

Pulsar will be available in 50GB, 100GB, and 200GB capacities and within a 7mm, 2.5-inch form factor. It uses Single-Level Cell NAND flash and connects through a 3Gbps SATA interface. It achieves a peak performance of up to 30,000 read IOPS and 25,000 write IOPS, with 240MB/s sequential read and 200 MB/s sequential write.

The company is predicting an annualized failure rate of 0.44%. A five-year warranty is standard.

Seagate began shipping Pulsar units to select OEMs for revenue sales in September 2009. These drives are targeted solely at the enterprise market with a focus on blade servers, and will not be generally available to the public, although a few units may hit the grey market. Consumer SSDs are expected from Seagate in the future, although the company is being tight with details.

“Our strategy is to provide our customers with the exact storage device they need for any application, regardless of the component technology used. We are delivering on that strategy with the Pulsar drive, and you can expect additional products in the future from Seagate using a variety of solid state and rotating media components,” Mosley added.

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