Seagate Ships 15,000 RPM Hybrid Drive for Servers
Self-contained, solid-state hybrid hard drives for notebooks have been around for a few years now. Seagate has undoubtedly had a lot of success with the design, which fuses a mechanical hard drive with some flash memory to provide a high-capacity alternative to real SSDs. Now, though, with the help of IBM, it seems like the company has perfected its technology enough to begin deploying it into a different environment – one requiring much higher reliability and performance. Meet the server-targeted Enterprise Turbo SSHD.
Packing 600GB worth of platters rotating at a whopping 15,000 RPM in a standard 2.5”-wide casing, the Turbo's base performance should be on par with other enterprise drives. Boosting that performance by up to three times, though, at least according to Seagate, is a 32GB flash memory cache. Similarly to the company's existing laptop hybrid drives, the Turbo SSHD caches frequently-read data at the I/O block level (as opposed to literally copying whole files and folders to the flash), and does so transparently, meaning the drive is ready to use as-is – no software installation is required.
Unfortunately, it's not very clear whether or not the Turbo SSHD's flash also caches incoming data writes, though the description on the product page seems to suggest that it does not. If so, writes will instead transfer directly to the platters, and thus that performance aspect should be similar to normal 15K RPM drives.
An enterprise-flavoured SAS (Serial-Attached SCSI) interface, self-encrypting drive options and a five-year warranty round out the rest of the main specifications. Admins looking to upgrade their servers with either normal hard drives or pure solid-state drives will soon have a best-of-both-worlds alternative in the form of these drives, though they'll probably have to wait until September to be able to actually buy them.