Originally announced in March, Seagate is finally prepared to launch its Pulsar XT.2 server-grade solid-state drives later this month. The new 2.5-inch drives are available in 100GB, 200GB, and 400GB packages that utilize SLC NAND flash memory and 6Gb/s SAS or SATA for enterprise-worthy speed and stability. There's also talk of an 800GB model, but it isn't currently listed on Seagate's product page.
The Pulsar XT.2's performance is identically advertised across all capacities, with a maximum read speed of 360MB/s (writes aren't advertised, but 300MB/s is reported at various sites). Although most SSD announcements focus on speed, Seagate spends more time emphasizing stability. In fact, the company's press release claims that most SSD suppliers are oblivious to that aspect of enterprise drives.
"Most SSD suppliers aren't fully aware of the needs of the enterprise," said Jim Handy of Objective Analysis. "It isn't just a fast interface like SAS, Fibre Channel, or PCIe that they need, and it isn't just IOPS levels in the tens to hundreds of thousands. Without data integrity and reliability, an SSD is worthless to most enterprise users." However, Seagate has acknowledged that requirement from the get-go.
The Pulsar XT.2 meets the Storage Performance Council's most rigorous standards for consistent and sustainable performance, regardless of the workload complexity or fluctuating server I/O intensity. Such conditions often lead to erratic performance, but the Pulsar XT.2 produced a result of 20,008.82 SPC-1 IOPS with an average response time of 2.05 milliseconds, and that was consistent for four hours.
Pricing isn't clear, but The Register reports that the Pulsar XT.2 will cost about $0.32 per IOPS (based on the SPC-1C performance above). That's a drastic improvement over Seagate's mechanical drives. With an IOPS of 180.48, the 500GB Barracuda costs about $2.50 per IOPS. The Pulsar XT.2 is the only SSD that's been SPC-tested, so comparisons against other flash drives are currently impossible.