Tech Industry

Hitachi pumps up server drives

Hitachi Data Systems gets a leg up in the race to offer larger, higher capacity drives, jumping ahead of rivals IBM and Seagate.

By Peter Judge

Hitachi Data Systems has jumped ahead of IBM and Seagate in the race for higher capacity server disk drives with a 147.8GB, 3.5-inch hard disk set to launch at the Comdex trade show next week.

The drives will only be for sale through server manufacturers in Europe, starting in mid-2002.

Hitachi and IBM are competing to offer larger drives, while applications like virtualization and large Web servers are making increasing demands on the speed that data can be delivered from the disk, causing interfaces such as Ultra320 SCSI and Fibre Channel to emerge for servers.

IBM will use Comdex to spruce up its desktop IDE drive line, launching a 120GB model, the Deskstar 120GXP. The company's leading server drive remains the Ultrastar 36Z15, which has a speed of 15,000rpm but a capacity of only 36.7GB.

Meanwhile, Seagate announced that its Cheetah X15-36LP, which it claims is the fastest drive in the world will be used in LSI Logic's Ultra320 SCSI RAID array storage devices.

"Advances in disk drives have to take place in step," said Mac Motraghi, product marketing manager at Hitachi U.K. "Higher densities per unit area couple with higher revolution speeds to make data come off the disk a lot faster, so interfaces have to get faster to keep up."

Hitachi's DK32EJ, which the company says is the highest capacity 10,000-rpm enterprise-class drive, has a density of 30GB per square inch, and will be available, with Ultra320 SCSI and Fibre Channel interfaces, next year. It can transfer data at 500 megabits per second.

Staff writer Peter Judge reported from London.