Brian

Toshiba Ditching 3.5" Drives in Enterprise

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Toshiba has announced a product designed to encourage enterprises to move to smaller 2.5-inch form factor hard drives. The MBF2xxLRC is a 2.5-inch enterprise HDD mounted in a 3.5-inch bracket, allowing the drive to be used in legacy systems.

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So... how many enterprises are going to bother with this? It's a 2.5" 10K drive with a 3.5" bay converter. A bit like the 2008 VelociRaptor, then. I don't see it getting that much enterprise penetration. If you're buying a new server and want to use 2.5" disks, get one with 2.5" bays - you'll accommodate more disks that way. How many enterprises are going to bother to retrofit their existing 3.5" systems with 2.5" drives, just to save power? The cost of the disks, the effort of installing them and the energy usage/carbon emissions from their manufacture would outweigh any cost or carbon savings.

The only reason Toshiba is doing this is because they don't (want to) have any 3.5" offerings. Fair enough, but if I get a server with 3.5" bays, it's because it lets me fit more capacity into the same server than 2.5" bays. Otherwise more or less everything is 2.5" by default, and has been for years.

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It's probably because certain key customers have installed bases with 3.5" bays and they don't want to upgrade them. Replacement 3.5" drives are going to become harder and harder to find (kinda like PATA drives in the consumer market) and this is one way of getting around it.

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Right, I don't think the expectation is enterprise users will run out and upgrade their 3.5" disks to 2.5" with adapters, it's more about the replacements of those 3.5" drives in servers with the larger bays.

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Seriously? Admittedly most of my experience is with HP, who aren't the first to cease selling and supporting older technology, but I was under the impression that 3.5" server drives would continue to be available for many years to come (at least on the SAS/SATA side of things, maybe not so much parallel U320 SCSI). I guess if it gets to the point that no-one is developing new ones, and you can get the same capacity and speed in a 2.5" form factor for the same price or less than the 3.5" equivalent, that's when it starts to make sense to use adapters. But I thought that was years away!

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No, I think you're right - WD and Seagate will keep selling their 3.5" enterprise drives. I think the issue is more like Toshiba didn't have a new product to compete on the top-tier level. In the notebook space, they can release middling drives, since they stuff them in their own PCs ;) but in the enterprise they'd actually have to make a good drive. I don't think they ever made a 3.5" enterprise drive after the Fujitsu purchase.

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