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Ethernet hard drive

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

An Ethernet hard drive is an external hard drive with a direct Ethernet interface to simplify storage networks, data centers and cloud operations.

 The Ethernet drive makes much of the equipment involved in traditional storage area networks (SAN) unnecessary for those using a cloud-based approach. A typical storage system architecture can comprise multiple mainframes housing numerous RAID controllers for almost innumerable disks. An Ethernet-connected drive behaves as a server, contributing to power and TCO (total cost of ownership) savings of up to 50 percent.

Seagate was first to market with the Ethernet drive. Seagate’s product connects storage applications via Ethernet direct to disk using simple put and get commands via an open source object storage protocol API.

 HGST followed with their own Ethernet hard drives. HGST’s offerings differ in that they have Ethernet flash storage drives that don’t require software changes in the systems that use them. This ability is achieved through an integrated CPU and memory resources on the drive hardware running Linux. Because the drive doesn’t require software changes, it can be added to existing infrastructure and run storage apps directly on the drive hardware, as close to the bare metal as possible.

This was last updated in November 2014

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