Seagate announces Ethernet-enabled storage platform

October 28, 2013 | 10:22

Tags: #datacentre #data-centre #enterprise #ethernet #hard-drive #hybrid-drive #seagate-kinetic #solid-state #ssd #storage-area-network

Companies: #seagate

Storage specialist Seagate has announced a new standard, dubbed the Seagate Kinetic Open Storage Platform, which puts Ethernet connectivity directly on its hard drives for a claimed boost in efficiency.

Designed primarily for the data centre market, The Kinetic Open Storage Platform is designed to simplify design by exposing the hard drive directly to the network. Unlike a traditional layout, which may see a server application going through up to eleven separate layers - POSIX, file system, volume manager, driver, fibre-channel connection to a storage server running RAID with battery-backed RAM and cache, SAS connection to the storage device itself which features mapping by cylinder, head, and sector, and then the actual data itself - before reaching its goal, Seagate envisions a layout with the entire middle section being replaced with a pretty cloud icon labelled 'Ethernet.'

The idea behind the Kinetic Storage Stack is to do away with multiple layers, and design storage devices that feature on-board Ethernet interfaces to which a Kinetic Library system delivers data directly to the application. According to Seagate, the result is a system that does away with traditional storage servers and dramatically boosts rack density while dropping cooling requirements.

Using a series of open application programming interfaces (APIs,) developers gain the ability to share data between drives, direct drive-to-drive transit of data without the need for an intermediate controller system, and built-in data integrity checks which the company claims will do away with silent data corruption once and for all. To the operating system, it's all transparent: applications make direct key-based requests to the storage platform, bypassing file system drivers and other overheads.

The platform isn't a theoretical pie-in-the-sky idea, either: Seagate boasts that two major enterprise storage software vendors have already implemented the technology into their management software. What we're waiting on now, however, is the hardware itself - and here, Seagate is being silent on release dates and pricing.

The idea of a storage network without the need for excess compute hardware, however, is likely to tempt enterprises - and should the platform prove as open as Seagate is claiming, could be a major selling point for the company's hardware.

Full details on the technology, which is unlikely to make it to the consumer level any time soon, are available on Seagate's official website.
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