Seagate announces new 15K rpm disk drives

Seagate Technology Inc. announced two new hard disk drives aimed at the enterprise and entry-level server markets here, a day before the CeBIT trade show starts. The storage technology vendor also unveiled a new back-up tape autoloader called Viper 2000.

The faster and more expensive disk drive, the Cheetah X15-36LP, is the second-generation Cheetah x15, which Seagate billed as the world's first drive capable of 15,000 rpm (rotations per minute). Both the Cheetah X15-36LP and the second disk drive unveiled here Wednesday, the Cheetah 36ES, can store up to 36G byte of data. The first generation CheetahX15 disc drive was announced here at the CeBIT trade show last year.

"IBM is now developing its own 15,000 rpm disk drive, and that is good because it gives this market legitimacy. There is starting to be a demand for these high-capacity, high-speed types of disk drives," said Henry Fabian, senior director of Seagate's global disk product marketing division at a press conference here.

IBM in February entered the race for this type of drive by announcing Ultrastar, its own 15,000 rpm drive, also capable of storing 36G bytes of data.

Seagate's Cheetah X15-36LP was created for high-performance, data-intensive enterprise servers and workstations. "This bigger and faster disk drive is aimed at Internet service providers and Web developers, people who have a need to get to the data very quickly," said Fabian.

The Cheetah 36ES targets entry-level enterprise servers like department servers, Internet servers and LAN (local area network) servers.

The Cheetah X15-36LP is priced between US$395 and US$750, depending on the model. The Cheetah 36ES is priced between US$335 and US$550. Both hard disk drives will be available for distributors in the second quarter of this year.

The company also unveiled Wednesday a back-up tape autoloader called Viper 2000. Aimed at the mid-range to enterprise-level server market, the autoloader holds up to 2T bytes of compressed data and can transfer data at a speed of up to 1.92G bytes per minute.

At Wednesday's press conference, the company also commented on the fact that Seagate went private at the end of last year.

"Now we are out of the rat race," said Fabian. "Our stock has been undervalued. Now we don't have to be under the constant scrutiny of Wall Street anymore," he said.

Fabian is one of the new owners of Seagate. The company's stock was bought by the investment group Silver Lake Partners, which includes Seagate executives, for US$2 billion last year. The deal was announced in March last year, and closed in November. In the same deal, Veritas Software bought back the portion of Veritas stock previously owned by Seagate, for US$20 billion.

"We will go public again, and then hopefully my stock will be worth a lot more," said Fabian.

The company will now focus on long-term investments that don't have to pay off instantly, as well as partnerships with e-business companies.

Seagate, in Scotts Valley, California, can be reached at +1-831-438-6550 or on the Web at http://www.seagate.com/.

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