As we've alluded to several times in the past, the industry is slowly but surely witnessing the sunset of the 7200 RPM SCSI drive. Seagate Technology now stands alone as the sole manufacturer of 7200 RPM SCSI units. Though 10k RPM drives now dominate mainstream server and workstation markets, Seagate feels there's niches that are still best served with venerable Barracuda technology.
One such niche is the market for massive capacity. Huge databases, data warehouses, etc require multi-terabyte arrays to effectively manage information. A large-capacity drive, even in a 1.6" high form factor, can yield long-term benefits in reliability and cost. Not so long ago one required hundreds of drives to create a magical TB array. With drives such as Seagate's new Barracuda 180, however, a fully redundant TB array requires only 12 drives.
The 'Cuda 180 is a 1.6" high drive that packs 15 gigs of data onto each of its 12 platters to yield its monstrous 180 gig capacity. Since maximal storage space with a minimum amount of heat and power consumption was the goal, Seagate's largest drive features a 7200 RPM spindle speed. At 7.4 milliseconds, the 180's specified seek time is on the high side for a contemporary SCSI drive. The drive features a rather large 16 megabyte buffer. A five year warranty protects the drive. While the unit reviewed here features a standard Ultra160 SCSI interface, as one may expect, the 'Cuda 180 is also available in SCA and Fibre Channel versions.
Let's turn to this behemoth's performance.