On more than one occasion I’ve discussed the idea of putting 2.5″ drives into mainstream storage arrays and asked the question why they’ve not been widely adopted. Probably the most common response has been to justify their non-adoption by quoting the lack of multiple suppliers for the technology.
Look in your storage arrays today and you’ll see typically that 3.5″ drives are supplied by either Seagate or HGST (formerly IBM). Vendors will claim that having two suppliers let’s them cope with demand, mix and match suppliers for cost reductions and change suppliers if one or other is found to be supplying faulty hardware. All reasonable, but this argument seems to have been forgotten as we discuss solid state drives (SSDs).
All the major array vendors (EMC, Hitachi, IBM, HP) are using SSDs from STEC with no apparent second supplier. They’re also being used by smaller vendors (e.g. Compellent and Dell). There seems to be no mention of the concentration of risk being placed by the entire storage industry on a single supplier – who could hit all manner of production problems at any time – with no alternative product to put in its place.
Incidentally, if 2.5″ drives haven’t been adopted because of the sole vendor issue, then why aren’t they being seen in enterprise storage arrays?