Hitachi Launches New Line of Enterprise SSDs

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2011-08-10 Print this article Print

New Ultrastar drives, which use Intel's 25-nanometer high-endurance NAND flash, are designed to serve as a Tier 0 layer for high-transaction-type applications.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Hitachi's global storage division, needing to find a way to keep up with the constant advances in NAND flash at competitors such as Toshiba, Samsung, Micron, SanDisk and Seagate, on Aug. 9 introduced a new line of MLC (multi-level cell) solid-state disks for enterprise systems.

The announcement was made at the annual Flash Memory Summit here at the Santa Clara Convention Center, which continues through Aug. 11.

Hitachi's new Ultrastar SSD400M drives, which use Intel's 25-nanometer high-endurance NAND flash, come in a 2.5-inch form factor with a 6Gb SAS interface in capacities of 200GB and 400GB. It is designed to serve as a so-called Tier 0 layer for high-transaction-type applications.

Tier 1 storage, also known as production storage, usually consists of high-speed SAS (serial-attached SCSI) hard drives and is considered the primary tier for production data. Tier 2 and Tier 3 storage tiers (generally consisting of slower, cheaper SATA -- or serial ATA -- drives) handle non-critical data that does not require the speed of Tier 1 storage. Some archiving is done at the Tier 3 level.

Tier 0 is SSD-based storage used to improve performance beyond what current Tier 1 storage can offer for selected applications, such as financial services, retail sales, and others. Early on, Tier 0 storage has consisted of a RAM disk, which is more expensive than NAND flash. NAND flash is moving quickly into this space.

Ultrastar SSD400M 400GB features write endurance of 7.3 petabytes (PB) lifetime random writes, Hitachi said, which equates to 10 full drive writes per day for five years. The new multi-level SSDs also include all of the enterprise features found in the company's front-line Ultrastar single-level cell (SLC) drives, such as end-to-end data protection, error correction and error handling, Hitachi said.

"Tier 0 enterprise applications are of increasing importance as more and more IT managers are redesigning their data centers for improved total cost of ownership, and to support advances in cloud computing, virtualization and thin provisioning," said Joseph Unsworth, research director of NAND Flash and SSD at Gartner.

"The insatiable desire for data is challenging storage ecosystems to deliver high-performance access to information while controlling data center costs," said IDC SSD research manager Jeff Janukowicz. "The introduction of MLC-based SSDs, such as Hitachi GST's Ultrastar SSD400M, helps foster the market as it lowers SSD acquisition costs while still delivering the enterprise performance and reliability for which many IT managers desire in traditional enterprise storage and cloud computing environments."

Hitachi GST is now shipping, and the company is currently qualifying its Ultrastar SSD400M drives with select OEMs. Broader qualification samples are now available with channel distribution scheduled in September, Hitachi said.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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