Maxtor Corp. last week continued its aggressive rollout of hard drives, unveiling the MaxLine series, which features ATA drives tailored for enterprise users.
The announcement came the same day the Milpitas, Calif., company launched two server drives.
ATA drives, traditionally consumer-class, have begun finding their way into business-class products from such vendors as EMC Corp., of Hopkinton, Mass.
Initially, there are two products in Maxtors series. The 320GB MaxLine II spins at 5,400 rpm and costs $349.95. The 250GB MaxLine Plus II spins at 7,200 rpm and also costs $349.95. Both are due later this year.
However, if hard drive vendors want business storage vendors to take their products seriously, theyll have to do high-end testing that hasnt previously been done on ATA drives, said Dave Reinsel, an analyst with International Data Corp., in Hutchinson, Minn.
One example is to run high-end, mean-time-between-failure tests, rather than low-end, stop-start tests, Reinsel said.
Another test is to ensure that debris in servers doesnt end up on the drives read/write heads, he said.
"Theres a long learning curve. Its going to take a while" for ATA to gain ground in the enterprise, Reinsel said.
But Maxtor officials said they expect that ATA drives will continue to make inroads into enterprise-level storage products, although some people will continue to embrace high-end iSCSI and Fibre Channel drives, no matter how good ATA products get.
"Youll always see, at the high end, the lunatic fringe," said Mike Wingert, executive vice president and general manager of Maxtors Service Products Group.
But Wingert said companies such as Maxtor need to improve ATA drives ability to conduct "superhigh [I/O-per-second] performance."
Maxtor last week also unveiled the Atlas 15K and Atlas 10K IV server drives, with capacities of 73GB and 147GB, respectively. The drives use the Ultra320 SCSI interface. Both are due next year.