Seagate's pulsar drives bring SSD to enterprise primetime

Seagate is the first of the established enterprise storage vendors to enter the SSD market with its new Pulsar SSD drives.

Seagate jumped into the SSD (solid state drive) market today with the unveiling of its Pulsar drives. SSD drives have been a growing segment, but Seagate adds significant credibility and opens up new possibilities for the nascent technology.

There are dozens of players in the SSD market, but none of them have the name recognition and instant credibility of Seagate.

Teresa Worth, senior product marketing manager for Seagate, also points out that the smaller players aren't prepared to handle the enterprise market. "If your iPod drive dies, that's a bummer; if your enterprise-level drive dies, that's an oh-my-god situation."

Toward that end, Seagate didn't just create a "me too" copycat SSD drive. Seagate wanted to ensure that its SSD drives provide superior reliability and dependability. The Pulsar series of drives include a supercapacitor which holds enough power to enable the drive to complete any write operations without losing data in the event of a power outage.

According to Joseph Unsworth, research director at Gartner, "The enterprise SSD market is now primed and well-positioned for growth from both a revenue and unit perspective." Unsworth stated that Gartner estimates sales of SSD hardware to reach $1 billion in 2010.

SSD drives have been found mainly in the high-end range of low-end equipment--providing faster and more reliable storage for upper end netbooks. Seagate brings a solid reputation and credibility in the storage industry to the SSD market to build some bridges to more high-end applications in enterprise data centers.

Seagate's Worth says "What's needed out there is a level of expertise that's truly enterprise-class, with a global presence to support larger OEMs." Seagate has established enterprise and OEM relationships it can leverage to promote the Pulsar SSD drives.

Seagate's executive vice president for sales, marketing, and product line management, David Mosley, said in a press release "Seagate is optimistic about the enterprise SSD opportunity and views the product category as enabling expansion of the overall storage market for both SSDs and HDDs."

Western Digital, and other Seagate competitors, are not far behind. As the drive vendor big boys move into the neighborhood, smaller SSD drive manufacturers could end up squashed. That will be bad for them, but the increased visibility and respectability of mainstream vendors like Seagate and Western Digital will help SSD technology move into mainstream enterprise adoption .

Seagate's Pulsar SSD drives are available in 50Gb, 100Gb, and 200Gb models. The drives have previously been available for select OEM's, but Seagate has now opened them up for all OEM partners.

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Tony Bradley

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