This morning, Western Digital announced that it is entering the Enterprise hard drive market with the release of its new Raptor Series Enterprise Level SATA hard drives. The new Raptor Series drives will give system builders and storage vendors Enterprise-class specifications encompassed in this new Raptor Series. The first Raptor Series drive will be available in a 36 GB capacity, with a 5.2 MS average seek time, 10,000-RPM rotation speed and a whopping 1.2 million hours MTBF. Western Digital will offer a five-year warranty on these Enterprise-class hard drives. The performance road map for the SATA Interface extends up to 600 MB/second, ensuring a robust and reliable standard for storage providers in the years ahead. Initially, the first Raptor Series drives will be limited to 150 MB/second from the SATA Interface.
"In the last three years, Western Digital's business has progressed significantly," said Arif Shakeel, President and COO for Western Digital. According to industry experts at the IDC, storage growth between 2002 and 2006 will be approximately 46%, with a gradual increase to about 60% by 2006. At the same time, the IDC expects average IT budgets to grow at a relatively slow rate, perhaps as low as single digit percentages through those years. Consequently, many Enterprise IT shops are going to be looking for innovative ways to increase storage at minimal costs.
While the new WD Raptor Series offers attractive specifications with the capacity of the Raptor Series limited to single platter drives with 36 GB capacities, obviously these drives are squarely aimed at Enterprise Level applications. The Raptor Series products will retail for significantly less than comparable SCSI solutions. Western Digital, having no SCSI business to protect, is sure to be aggressive in both pricing and distribution to gain significant market acceptance quickly. WD has announced that they are working with a variety of third-party controller and housing manufacturers, including 3Ware, Adaptec, Intel, Promise, Marvell, Serverworks, Infotrend, AIC, AIS, Eurologic and JMR Electronics. In working with such a large group of third-party developers and manufacturers, WD will be able to ensure cutting edge performance and compatibility of its products with the SATA Interface.