Toshiba Looks To Enterprise Storage With 2.5-Inch SSD

The storage division of Toshiba has announced a family of enterprise-class solid state drives (SSDs) that also boast of having low power requirements.

Toshiba’s new MK x001GRZB series 2.5 inch SSD drives use the company’s 32nm enterprise grade single-level cell NAND flash memory and a 6 Gb/sec serial attached SCSI interface.

“Toshiba stands alone in the market as the only SSD supplier that is vertically integrated for NAND flash and has deep enterprise HDD expertise,” said Joel Hagberg, vice-president of enterprise marketing at Toshiba Storage Device Division.

Component Control

Toshiba has a lot of control over the components that goes into its SSDs, with its own NAND flash fab facilities, controller and firmware design teams, and “critical interface technologies,” said Hagberg.

The enterprise-class drives will be available in 100GB, 200GB and 400GB storage capacities, Toshiba said. These drives are designed for new or existing tier-0 enterprise storage systems and hardware, including servers, direct-attached storage, and network-attached storage, the company said.

The new drives can manage sequential sustained 510 MB/second read and 230 MB/second write throughput rates. The company also reported 90,000 read and 17,000 write input/output operations per second.

Low Power

The SSDs require only 6.5 watts of power, making them on-par with the Seagate Barracuda Green, the latest eco-friendly hard disk drive from Seagate Technologies.

The 200GB and 400GB drives have a guaranteed lifespan of five years with no limit on write operations, said Toshiba. The 100 GB has an 8 petabyte limit on the total number of write operations over five years.

“The performance and energy benefits of SSDs can outweigh the cost difference compared to HDDs, and many organisations will want to use solid state technology for applications that require extremely fast data access,” said Joseph Unsworth, research director of Gartner.

2011 Arrival

The drives also include features such as error correction, rotational vibration compensation technology for multi-drive systems, and enhanced power condition state technology to ensure the drives are operating optimally at all times, Toshiba said.

Toshiba will be shipping samples of the new SSDs for equipment manufacturers to qualify with products in the first quarter of 2011. The drives will go into volume production in the first half of 2011, said Toshiba. Pricing was not disclosed.

Toshiba doesn’t use catchy product names such as the ones Western Digital selected for broad consumer market drives like Caviar Green and Scorpio Blue, because the MKx001GRZB it is built to work in enterprises with high-performance computing environments.

These drives will likely compete with Seagate and Hitachi’s joint Ultrastar SSD offering. UltraStor comes in the same storage sizes, but features both SAS and Fibre Channel interfaces.

“The total share of the enterprise market that uses SSDs will remain relatively small until at least 2013,” said Unsworth. Storage suppliers who can offer customers a unified product line with both SSD and HDD technologies will “gain the most” from the shift, he said.

Toshiba acquired Fujitsu’s hard drive business last year.

For businesses looking for higher reliability and high capacity than what is currently available on SSDs, Toshiba also included the new MKx001TRKB and MKx002TSKB hard disk drives in its enterprise storage lineup. These 3.5-inch 7200 rpm drives have a capacity of 2TB with SAS and SATA interfaces.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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