IBM Wants to Shake Industry, Not Hard Drive

Big Blue unveils new anti-vibration technology in release of new server-class hard drive.
In a move aimed at re-staking its claim in the high-end hard drive market, IBM Tuesday unveiled a new industrial-strength server hard disk drive.

The Ultrastar 146Z10 debuts IBM's new anti-vibration technology called Rotational Vibration Safeguard (RVS), which seeks to improve performance in large disk arrays.

Vibration has become a serious obstacle to performance as the rotational speeds of drives have continued to increase. This problem is compounded in large disk arrays, where multiple drives are stacked on one another. While anti-vibration mounts for the arrays address part of the problem, RVS seeks to rectify the problem in the drive itself.

IBM's new system compensates by identifying the direction and intensity of the vibration and canceling out the deleterious effects of the vibration. IBM is the first to implement the technology for mass production.

The drive also features advanced software for disk drive intelligence and self-analysis; antiferromagnetically-coupled media (AKA "pixie dust") for temperature and data stability; and sophisticated read/write component designs for high-speed recording and data access.

This is the first major drive release since IBM and Hitachi merged their hard disk drive operations into a standalone joint venture in April of this year. The release of the Ultrastar 146Z10 follows the division's plan to recapture the disk market by focusing on research and technological innovation

"We have the utmost confidence that the Ultrastar 146Z10 will give customers what they need and break the strides of our competitors," said Doug Grose, general manager, IBM Storage Technology Division.

The company, through its partnership with Hitachi, is trying to battle back from a fall in market share in the server hard drive market over the last 3 years.

According to research firm IDC, Big Blue's share fell from 37 percent in 1999 to just 10 percent in the first quarter of 2002. Seagate currently dominates the market with a 57 percent market share, followed by Fujitsu, who boasts a 24 percent share.

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