Tape cartridge maker Imation rolls out first solid-state drive lines

New drives are based on technology gained in partnership with South Korean firm

Imation Corp. today unveiled its first solid-state drive offerings -- the MOBI 3000 line for mobile and notebook computers and the PRO 7000 for high-end systems in the corporate data center.

The MOBI 3000 and the PRO 7000 solid-state drives, each with a Serial ATA interface, are currently shipping in 2.5-in. and 3.5-in. models, respectively. The MOBI 3000 drive provides up to 32GB of flash storage, and the PRO 7000 has a capacity of 64GB, the company said.

Pricing for the MOBI 3000 series begins at $700, and the PRO 7000 series is priced from $1,160.

The new flash drives feature solid-state technology derived from Mtronstorage Technology Co. under a joint development agreement announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, noted Steve Swenson, product strategy and innovation manager at Oakdale, Minn.-based Imation. The agreement called for the companies to jointly develop and distribute solid-state disk and controller components, Swenson said.

Swenson said that under the agreement, Seoul, South Korea-based Mtronstorage will sell the flash drives in Asia and Imation will sell them to customers in the rest of the world.

He said Imation hopes to help its data center customers now buying its tape cartridges and other removable storage media transition to solid-state storage technology. Analysts predict that the transition to solid-state will likely begin in earnest this year as use of Web-based applications increases, driving the need for high-performance drive technology like solid-state.

"Solid-state drive technology is very new," said Swenson. Imation engineers can advise data center managers on "how to deploy it, where to deploy it or how to configure it. There's quite a bit of work to be done between buying the SSD product and properly installing it," he added.

Composed of either nonvolatile NAND flash or volatile synchronous DRAM memory, solid-state drives have no moving parts and can significantly reduce heat, storage device wear and tear, and power consumption, compared with spinning physical disk drives.

The list of solid-state offerings is growing fast; vendors like Micron Technology Inc., BitMicro Networks Inc. and Apple Inc. have all unveiled new solid-state products in recent months.

Imation's PRO 7000 series moves data at read times of 120MB/sec. and write times of 90MB/sec. The solid-state device offers an average access time of 0.1 millisecond and provides 78,000 sequential I/O operations per second. Swenson said the flash drive can support applications running on Web servers, database servers and network appliances.

The low-end MOBI 3000 features a sustained read time of 100MB/sec. and sustained write times of 80MB/sec.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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