Hitachi Repositions Deskstar 7K500 for the Enterprise

Renamed the E7K500, Hitachi's SATA drive has a new five-year warranty to attract enterprise customers.

In recognition of the rapid growth of the enterprise market, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies has chosen to remarket its Deskstar 7K500 Serial ATA drive in a way it considers more attractive to that market segment.

To increase its attractiveness to enterprise customers, Hitachi has added a new five-year warranty and published MTBF (mean time between failures) ratings for the newly renamed E7K500, a SATA hard drive with 3.0GB per second transfer rates and a 500GB capacity, as well as features like staggered spin-up, NCQ (Native Command Queuing) and RVS (Rotational Vibration Safeguard).

The MTBF ratings measure how reliable the drive is, based on a sample population. The E7K500 clocks in at one million hours MTBF, according to the San Jose, Calif., company.

Both longer warranties and high MTBF ratings are requirements for most enterprise storage applications and make the drive more attractive from a reliability standpoint, said Greg Piligian, a business executive in the enterprise business unit at Hitachi Global Storage Technologies.

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"We recognize the growing importance of this segment of enterprise storage. With the growth of both SATA and SAS [Serial Attached SCSI] enterprise storage solutions, particularly when used in the same enclosure, these steps to provide greater reliability assurances to customers can help them take advantage of these types of application," he said.

By making this move, Hitachi joins competitors Seagate Technology, with the Barracuda ES, Western Digital, with the WD Caviar RE (RAID Edition), and others in offering enterprise-class SATA drives, said Dave Reinsel, program director of storage research at IDC, a market research firm based in Framingham, Mass. Samsung is the only major SATA hard drive manufacturer left that has not defined a special SATA SKU designed for the enterprise, he said.

Given the explosive growth of the enterprise segment, it is imperative that Hitachi, like its competitors, offer a high-capacity, lower-cost drive fit for enterprise storage, Reinsel said.

"The enterprise customer is being asked to store more and more data every year, and much of the data being stored is not accessed often, so it doesnt need to reside on high-performance drives," he said. "Instead, enterprise customers are looking for systems that leverage lower-cost components, yet maintain a certain level of reliability, for enterprise storage. It all equates to a lower dollar per gigabyte purchase."

Although Hitachis Piligian would not divulge any specific plans, he did say Hitachi would continue to innovate around its hard drives—including the Ultrastar enterprise drives as well as the Deskstar E7K500—to address the enterprise segments needs.

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