updated 09:50 am EDT, Fri May 30, 2008
Seagate Preps SSDs and 2TB
Seagate is gradually planning a reversal of its stance on solid-state drives, the company's CEO Bill Watkins says. The storage producer has clung to rotating hard disks but will introduce a solid-state drive in 2009 that it will primarily market to enterprise-class users, who Seagate argues are most likely to need very high-speed disks regardless of the price. In turn, the company also plans to cater to proponents of traditional storage with a 2TB drive also ready next year.
The move marks a partial contradiction on the part of Watkins, who threatened lawsuits against Intel and Samsung as a means of protecting his company's rotating hard disk business. The executive also attacked SSD-reliant notebooks such as the high-end MacBook Air for being unnecessarily expensive compared to hard drives.
Watkins nonetheless maintains that most of the market isn't ready for solid-state and points to both price and reliability as issues. Pricing won't be feasible for most users during the "next few years," while the flash-based technique also has questionable reliability. As solid-state eventually loses the ability to write to every storage cell, some users may have to replace the storage sooner than expected. Even those enterprise users being served by the 2009 SSD will likely want to use conventional hard disks for long-term storage and leave the SSD only to speed-focused tasks, the executive says.
Seagate is however considered relatively late to embracing SSDs, as Samsung, SanDisk, Toshiba, and multiple other storage firms already promote the technology. Samsung in particular is believed to have overcome a major hurdle in SSD adoption with a 256GB drive it says costs less to make than past drives while avoiding some of the sacrifices made in the past.