There has been a lot of coverage of Seagate’s new Constellation family of enterprise disk drives, mostly leading with something about 2 TB.  While the 2 TB capacity is newsworthy, Constellation is a much bigger deal than that capacity milestone. 

Chris Mellor caught a glimpse of it. (UPDATE: fixed the broken Chris Mellor link.  Thanks Chris Evans!)  Here’s my take:

  1. The first 2 TB enterprise drive.  You know that already. 
  2. The first 500 GB  enterprise 2.5″  high capacity drive.  This is game-changing.  For the first time, 2.5″ storage systems have a capacity-optimized drive that let them compete with 3.5″ systems on overall cost/GB.  As server makers know, the power savings from switching to the 2.5″ drive format dwarfs the incremenal power improvements possible at 3.5″ from any vendor. 
  3. The most power efficient enterprise drives available. The Power Choice feature allows system makers to actively manage power at each drive.  Most drives are idle most of the time in most applications.  Why keep them spinning?  Unlike other vendor’s Green schemes, this can be done without sacrificing performance.
  4. All-SAS storage systems and servers.  Constellation comes in SATA flavors of course, but also SAS.  For the first time, storage and server makers have a full complement of SAS drives: 3.5″ performance (Cheetah), 3.5″ capacity (Constellation ES), 2.5″ performance (Savvio), 2.5″ capacity (Constellation).  The door has opened to fully leverage the system-level value of SAS whatever the application. 
  5. Universal enterprise encryption. Constellation drives are self-encrypting drives (SED – previously known as Full Disk Encrption). Coupled with encryption capabilities in Cheetah and Savvio drives, core drive-level encryption will able to be implemented across the enterprise.  This has huge implications as data centers are being driven to get their arms around data security gaps.

Dell and other OEMs get it. I’d love to hear from other system builders and users.  What does Constellation make possible for you?  What would you like to see from Constellation that you don’t today?

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