June 14th, 2013 by Josh Shaman
Seagate and IBM Enterprise SSHD Announced
Seagate recently blogged about a new enterprise solid state hybrid hard drive (SSHD) though the company has yet to publicly mention the product. The new enterprise SSHD is branded as an IBM drive and is designed as a storage upgrade in IBM System x servers. From what is known so far, the drives are based off of Seagate models that are 2.5" form factor, 600GB drives that spin at 10,000RPM and interface over 6Gb/s SAS. The drive also features a robust 128MB of on-board cache, and the hybrid component comes in the form of 16GB of eMLC NAND. With the enterprise SSHD that is designed for mid-range servers and storage subsystems, Seagate is aiming at 100% better performance than the base 10K drive.
So what drives performance in an SSHD that can't be achieved with a standard HDD? Seagate uses the 600GB disk drive to store data as well as a primary copy of all cached data. The hard drive's 128MB DRAM buffers all reads while caching all writes. The 16GB of eMLC NAND acts as a read cache for all active data and a non-volatile cache (NVC) for writes cached in the hard drive's 128MB DRAM. This all adds up to greater random read performance and reduced latency. To further reliability, the NAND can be bypassed when write-intensive workloads are undertaken, and the NAND data is refreshed periodically to limit how long data lives in NAND providing higher write counts.
Seagate is reporting that based on preliminary testing the enterprise SSHD offers response times <5ms and has double the IOPS compared to the current 300GB 10,00RPM HDD.
Seagate and IBM's partnership won't stop with this new enterprise SSHD as even faster enterprise SSHDs will be available to the channel later this year.