Seagate ships 400 GByte nearline SATA harddrives

Scotts Valley (CA) - Seagate today announced that it has begun shipping nearline SATA drives that are designed to fill the gap between online and offline enterprise storage. The company claims that the new NL35 are more reliable than desktop drives, while offering a lower-priced enterprise storage solution for applications such as disc-to-disc backup, archive, and tiered storage.

Nearline is an emerging storage segment that so far has not received much media attention but is quickly gaining interest especially from IT managers. These drives are designed to bridge a growing gap in price and performance between online and traditional archive storage products. While similar to a the architecture of a common desktop drive, nearline devices such as the NL35 come with a higher life expectancy, better manageability as well as improved capability for integration in tiered storage environments.

According to Seagate, the additional features include workload management, error recovery control, one-step microcode download, and write-same technology. The reliability is rated at one million hour MTBF (mean time between failure) rating. Equipped with a SATA interface, the NL35 can be integrated in SAS-based infrastructure, with potentially hundreds of drives within a single SAS domain. Performance enhancements compared to desktop drives include 16 MByte of cache. Native Command Queuing is standard on Seagate's nearline drives.

The NL35 series is available in 250 GByte and 400 GByte SATA versions as well as a 400 GByte Fibre-Channel model. Average seek time is rated at less than 9.0 ms, sustained data transfer is up to 65 MByte per second, according to Seagate. The company did not release pricing information on its NL35 drives, but said that retail pricing of the devices is likely to reflect a 10 percent premium over comparable Barracuda desktop drives.