The 10,000 RPM Ultrastar 72ZX -- at 73 Gigabytes (GB) capacity -- is part of a new superfast family of server hard drives which includes the 10,000 RPM, Ultrastar 36LZX and the 7,200 RPM, Ultrastar 36LP, which each store 36 GB.
The 72ZX, which IBM claims as the world's highest capacity drive for the time being, is about the size of a paperback novel. The 72ZX and the 36LZX drives are also claimed to store the most bits per square inch -- 7.04 billion -- of any server-class hard drive. This higher density contributes to higher storage capacity.
With the new drives, IBM also announced a new and exclusive technology called Active Damping, which protects against temperature variation and vibration, improving performance and reliability. It contributes to higher mechanical (servo) performance and helps the drives withstand temperature variation and vibration. Vibration tends to have significant effects on RAID (Redundant Arrays of Independent Disks) arrays where multiple drives are used.
Just a few weeks before the announcement of the 72ZX, IBM had established a new computer data storage record of 35.3 billion data bits per square inch on a magnetic hard disk, a breakthrough expected to lead to disk drives that can store 3X more information than previously possible. Just last month, IBM began shipping the Enterprise Storage Server, which stores up to 11 terabytes, arguably the highest-capacity storage subsystem in the industry.
Said Scott Silfvast, founder and chief product officer of a manufacturer of audio mixing, recording and converter products, Euphonix: "These Ultrastar drives will achieve the speed and capacity that professional sound recording requires. In addition, they (should) demonstrate... reliability at those performance levels." The new Ultrastar drives can be used for audio, video, graphics, animation, databases, projects involving large intranets and the Internet, servers supporting on-line banking and credit card transaction processing, digital video editing, digital documentation, imaging, data mining and other storage-intensive applications.
The new Ultrastar drives also support a 1-Gbit -- and for the first time a 2-Gbit -- Fibre Channel interface, which doubles the speed of today's fibre channel and can contribute to higher performance. The drives support an updated version of the Ultra160 SCSI interface called Ultra160+. For the first time, IBM drives will feature Packetization and Quick Arbitrate Select (QAS). Packetization allows SCSI commands to be transferred bundled in data packets at the full SCSI data bus speed. QAS allows for more efficient drive operation by reducing arbitration time.
With packetization and QAS, the drives incorporate the five features of Ultra-3 SCSI specifications. The other three are Double Transition Clocking, Cyclical Redundancy Check (CRC) and Domain Validation.
The newly announced Ultrastar drives also include several proven technologies including power save and standby modes, glass disk platters, the load/unload mechanism, giant magnetoresistive (GMR) recording heads and Drive Temperature Indicator Processor technology or Drive-TIP. Combined, these technologies help increase reliability and performance, decrease power usage, and monitor the temperature of the drive.
The 36LP and 36LZX drives will start shipping in limited quantities this quarter. The Ultrastar 72ZX will ship in first quarter of the next millenium. More information at http://www.ibm.com/harddrive.