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Toshiba announces dual-stage heads for 900GB SAS drive

Impressive performance claims
Thu Jul 12 2012, 12:45
Hitachi GTS USC 10K 900 Hard Drive

STORAGE VENDOR Toshiba announced a 2.5in 900GB 10,500RPM Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) hard drive that is the first to deploy dual-stage head positioning.

Toshiba's hard drive operations got a boost after Western Digital had to flog parts of its hard drive business to appease regulators during its takeover of Hitachi, and now the firm is seemingly focusing on the high margin enterprise market. Toshiba has been working on dual-stage head positioning technology for some time but has finally introduced it in the AL13SE series of hard drives.

While Toshiba's dual-stage head positioning technology is the real innovation in the AL13SE the basic specifications are pretty impressive too, with capacities ranging from 300GB to 900GB with platters rotating at 10,500RPM, backed up by a 64MB cache and using the SAS 6Gbit/s interface. As with most enterprise hard drives, Toshiba has slapped a five-year warranty on the units.

Toshiba's dual-stage head design adds a second actuator on each arm that holds the magnetic heads above the platter. The firm claims it delivers a 32 per cent increase in sustained transfer rate but doesn't provide any figures in the AL13SE specifications.

"The AL13SE Series provides enterprise customers with capacities up to 900GB that support a broad range of enterprise applications," said Joel Hagberg, VP of marketing at Toshiba's Storage Products Business Unit. "The increased performance and reliability of the AL13SE reflect our collaboration with our key partners to deliver small form-factor hard disk drives that address market requirements for mission-critical storage."

While hard drive makers have been facing stiff competition from solid-state drive (SSD) vendors in the consumer market, the server market is still predominantly stuck with hard drives, with SSDs being used as cache drives. If Toshiba's dual-stage head technology can deliver on its performance claims then the firm will manage to extend the life of traditional hard drives in servers for a bit longer. µ


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