Seagate’s ‘Fastest-Ever’ SSD Is Good News for Network Management

By: Jeff Bertolucci| - Leave a comment

Seagate has unveiled what it claims is the “fastest-ever” solid-state drive (SSD), capable of transferring data at rates up to 10 gigabytes per second (GB/s). This is more than 4 GB/s faster than the next-best drive available. This is a boon for organizations that demand blazing performance, the company says.

Seagate didn’t announce the price of its new SSD, which is slated to ship this summer, but given the drive’s bleeding-edge specs, it won’t come cheap. The unit is targeted at large-scale cloud providers and other enterprises that process massive amounts of data in real time or for object storage. Potential uses include Web applications, weather modeling and statistical trend analysis, Seagate explained in a news release.

SSD and the Need for Speed

Seagate’s announcement was shy on specifics — most notably, it left out the drive’s storage capacities and read/write rates — but the company was clear on which organizations would benefit most from the blistering transfer rates. Streaming video providers such as Hulu, Netflix and YouTube, for instance, can maximize content delivery speeds and serve more customers simultaneously, the company told Computerworld.

Stacked against a 6 GB/s drive, the previous speed champ, Seagate’s 10 GB/s transfer rate gives enterprises a two-thirds performance boost per slot. In theory, this enables providers to stream 66 percent more data per second.

Designed for Data Centers

Seagate’s new SSD meets the specifications of the Open Compute Project (OCP), an industry consortium that shares data center product designs among major IT and financial services companies, including Apple, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, Forbes notes. OCP compatibility means the new drive is a good match for hyperscale data centers that want ultra-fast flash technology that still meets industry standards.

The device is also compatible with systems that support the Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) protocol, developed in 2011 by a group of more than 80 companies, including Seagate. Optimized for modern SSDs, NVMe was created to replace legacy Serial AT Attachment standards, which were designed primarily to interface with mechanical hard disk drives (HDDs). By eliminating bottlenecks and reducing layers of commands, NVMe allows for faster interaction between flash devices.

More Affordable Options

Seagate’s 10 GB/s technology accommodates 16-lane Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) slots. The company is also finalizing a second unit for eight-lane PCIe slots, albeit one that performs at a slower (but still very speedy) throughput of 6.7 GB/s — “the fastest in the eight-lane card category,” the company claims. The eight-lane unit is designed for enterprises with tighter budgets and/or power requirements.

SSDs are growing in popularity for a number of reasons. As IT storage professional Anthony Sequeira told Network Computing, the main advantages of SSDs include superior speed when compared to HDDs, greater durability, smaller form factor and lack of noise or fragmentation. Flash storage also offers data centers another huge benefit: By switching to SSDs, they can slash energy costs.

Will Seagate’s new drive live up to its hype? At least one industry watcher thinks so. In the Seagate statement, Forward Insights analyst Gregory Wong said, “Technology advancements continue to stretch the limits of SSD speed and performance due to growing enterprise demands that require fast data processing at scale.”

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About The Author

Jeff Bertolucci

News Writer

Jeff Bertolucci is a Los Angeles-based journalist specializing in technology, digital media, and education. His work has appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance, InformationWeek, PCWorld, Macworld, The Saturday Evening Post, The Los Angeles Times and many other publications.