Seagate has begun shipping 400 GByte nearline SATA hard drives, claiming that the new NL35 are more reliable than desktop drives, but are available at a competitive price. The drives, which Seagate sees as suitable for disc-to-disc backup, archive, and tiered storage and other such uses, are designed to bridge a growing gap in price and performance between online and traditional archive storage products. Nearline, an emerging storage segment, facilitates higher life expectancy, better manageability, and improved capability for integration in tiered storage environments.
According to Seagate, the additional features include workload management, error recovery control, one-step microcode download, and write-same technology. The reliability is rated at one million hour MTBF (mean time between failure) rating. Equipped with a SATA interface, the NL35 can be integrated in SAS-based infrastructure, with potentially hundreds of drives within a single SAS domain. Performance enhancements compared to desktop drives include 16 MByte of cache. Native Command Queuing is standard on Seagate's nearline drives.