Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Are the predictions of 2½” FF drives shipments exceeding those for the incumbent 3½” FF fact or fiction?

As we grown to expect the end of the year brings forth a flurry of predictions that try to foretell the technology winners and losers for the coming year. What caught my eye was a post by Henry Newman’s (Enterprise Storage Forum) where he predicted that 2½” drives will out-ship 3½” drives by 4Q 2011. An unfortunate position I share with Mr. Newman is an earlier and overly bullish outlook on the adoption trajectory 2½” drives, as my December 2008 blog “Smaller is Bigger” will testify. However, judging from the increasingly frequent storage array announcements supporting this compact form factor, the availability of high performance 2½” drives such as Seagate’s Savvio drive and Seagate’s recent announcement of their 2nd generation enterprise class, 2½” drive, the Constellation2™, it does look like this form factor is finally coming of age as a viable option for enterprise storage.

While it may not be intuitively obvious storage array’s that employ 2½” drives can, and do, outperform array’s that exploit the larger 3½” form factor. With an increasing capacity, a greater volumetric capacity, higher IOPS, a faster aggregate bandwidth (higher spindle density = faster throughput) and improved energy efficiency it is little wonder that these reduced form factor drives are finally coming of age.

These advantages are why 2½” drives are on track to replace the 3½” drives as the incumbent technology in enterprise storage arrays. So to answer my own question in the title block, I predict that the predictions are based on fact not fiction.

In the part two of this blog I will look a bit more closely at these advantages and why they will drive shipments beyond current 3½” levels.

No comments: