Business

Seagate moves deeper into flash memory as it launches consumer solid-state drives alongside enterprise line-up

seagate ssd

Seagate was born many decades ago as a pioneer in hard disk drives, which are now generating $10 billion a year in revenue for the company. But now it is launching its own line of flash memory-based storage devices that mark a strategic shift for the company and the storage industry. Seagate first announced its move into flash, or solid-state drives (SSDs), in 2009. It has played in the enterprise flash market for a while, but now it is expanding into client-side SSDs.

Today, Seagate is unveiling its complete consumer-to-enterprise solid-state drive lineup that will be sold along with Cupertino, Calif.-based company’s hard disks and hybrid hard drives, or storage devices that combine both speedy flash memory chips and high-capacity hard disks. For consumers, this means that laptops should boot four times faster and applications should load twice as fast compared to a normal hard drive.

Gary Gentry, the senior vice president and general manager of Seagate’s solid state drive business, said in an interview with VentureBeat that Seagate is expanding its presence in the enterprise SSD market, which is about $8 billion in annual sales. The hard drive market is expected to be about $32.7 billion in 2013, down about 11.8 percent from $37.1 billion last year, according to market researcher IHS iSuppli. One of the reasons for that change is that SSDs are taking market share from hard drives. Hard drives have a cost advantage over SSDs, especially at higher storage densities. But SSDs are more power efficient and faster in some data center applications.

Seagate’s new lineup includes four major product lines: the Seagate 600 SSD, the Seagate 600 Pro SSD, the Seagate 1200 SSD, and a PCIe accelerator card, dubbed the Seagate X8 Accelerator powered by Virident. The latter product means that Seagate is going into battle with Fusion-io, which is a leader in the accelerator card market. Seagate made an investment in Virident in January, and the new card is a collaborative effort between the two companies.  Seagate is also fighting head-to-head with Fujitsu in the enterprise market.

The client-side Seagate 600 SSD has 6 gigabit-per-second performance and faster boot-up times than hard drives. The results means you won’t wait as long to access your programs and retrieve your data.

“SSDs continue to be among the most popular product categories on Newegg.com as more consumers increasingly turn to them to deliver more speed, faster boot-up times, and superior performance,” said Patrick Chung, the vice president of global product management at Newegg. “Seagate’s new line of SSDs, including the new 600 SSD, will be a great addition to our existing assortment. We’re excited to introduce the new SSDs to our customers and look forward to continuing our strategic partnership with Seagate.”

Tiger Direct, Rorke Data, and others will be selling the Seagate SSDs. The SSDs use about 2.8 watts while operating, dramatically reducing energy used compared to a hard drive. If the device loses power suddenly, it won’t lose the data. Seagate is pitching the products for both consumers and enterprises.


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