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Wednesday, February 19, 2003
Western Digital enters enterprise storage market with world's first 10,000 RPM Serial ATA hard drive


Western Digital announced that it is entering the enterprise hard drive market with an Enterprise Serial ATA (ESATA) product called WD RaptorTM. The new hard drive offers systems builders and storage vendors enterprise-class specifications: 1.2 million hours MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure), 10,000 RPM, 5.2 milliseconds (ms) average seek time and a five-year warranty.

“Over the last three years, Western Digital’s business has progressed significantly,” said Arif Shakeel, president and COO for Western Digital. “Our entrance into the enterprise market marks the next step in our growth. With this announcement, Western Digital extends beyond our consistently profitable desktop market, and brings unique Western Digital know-how to the enterprise market. With exploding growth predicted, Western Digital is poised to continue to be an important player in the core of the rapidly growing storage marketplace.”

According to IDC, an industry analyst firm, average year-over-year storage growth between 2002 and 2006 will be 46%, with a gradual increase to about 60% in 2006. At the same time, storage industry experts, including IDC, expect average IT budgets to grow at relatively slow rates – single-digit percentages year-over-year. As a result, many organisations are looking for innovative ways to increase storage at minimal cost.

Serial ATA (SATA) is a new interface technology that offers storage providers and customers the critical reliability, availability, scalability and performance attributes that enterprise environments demand. Combined with a SATA interface, Western Digital designed a new, enterprise-class mechanical platform for the WD Raptor hard drive to meet the 24x7 demands of the enterprise environment.

With its WD Raptor, Western Digital applies its high-volume design and manufacturing principles and economies of scale from its ATA business to an enterprise-class platform. The result is an ESATA hard drive with a significant cost advantage over SCSI devices.

In storage systems, hard drives typically represent the greatest cost. The WD Raptor hard drive enables storage vendors and systems builders, from large to small, to minimise their customers’ storage hardware costs, while not sacrificing reliability, data integrity or performance.

“Never before have enterprise storage vendors, systems builders and users been able to take advantage of the high-volume, low-cost benefits of ATA technology and the reliability and performance of an enterprise-class platform,” said John Donovan, vice president of TrendFOCUS, an industry analyst firm. “TrendFOCUS estimates that currently ATA storage accounts for more than 10 percent of the enterprise market. SATA will replace a growing percentage of SCSI drives in the enterprise market. Combining SATA, 10,000 RPM and enterprise mechanics, Western Digital’s WD Raptor will be a strong enterprise contender.”

SATA offers system-level benefits in the enterprise environment, including point-to-point configuration, which utilises the full bandwidth of each drive interface in a networked environment; scalability; hot-plug support for system design flexibility; and advanced error detection for data integrity.

“The WD Raptor SATA drive represents a significant milestone for enterprise storage,” said Barbara Murphy, vice president of marketing at 3ware, which offers SATA RAID (redundant array independent disk) controllers. “WD is delivering enterprise-class reliability and performance at a hugely attractive price point, enabling the economical deployment of RAID redundancy across the entire corporate data set.”

Expected to be shipping later this month, the WD Raptor hard drive is expected to sell for approximately 30 percent less than competing SCSI hard drives. Initially, the hard drive will be available in a 36 GB capacity. In addition to its 5.2 ms average seek time, 10,000 RPM, 1.2 million hours MTBF and five-year warranty, data throughput is 150 MB/second from the SATA interface. The performance roadmap for SATA extends up to 600 MB/second, ensuring a reliable standard for storage providers and customers in the years ahead.


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