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Data Storage Businesses The Almighty Buck

Seagate buys Maxtor for $1.9B 458

groovy.ambuj writes "Reuters reports that Seagate Technology would buy rival computer disk-drive maker Maxtor Corp. for $1.9 billion. Seagate is already world's largest hard drive manufacturer and Maxtor is the third largest after Seagate and Western Digital."
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Seagate buys Maxtor for $1.9B

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:38AM (#14308246)
    Cheap, silent, low power consumption, long warranty, no failures yet.
  • Re:This is unfair (Score:2, Informative)

    by bensafrickingenius ( 828123 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:45AM (#14308296)
    I agree with you. Maxtor has been rock solid for me. Seagate has been a dismal failure. Although my experience with Seagate has been alomst totally on the SCSI side in servers. Very high failure rate. IBM doesn't make drives anymore. Hitachi bought that division out.
  • Re:This is unfair (Score:2, Informative)

    by WTBF ( 893340 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:46AM (#14308302)
    What brand of hard drive should I choose in future? IBM?

    IBM stopped making hard drives after the death star mess, I would reccomend Western Digital if you want to avoid seagate - although I have a seagate in my MythTV box and it works with no problems.
  • by a_nonamiss ( 743253 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:47AM (#14308304)
    OK, my idiocy. Replace "WD" with "Maxtor" in the previous post.
  • by carlos_benj ( 140796 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @09:47AM (#14308309) Journal
    Yep. I've not had one Maxtor fail catastrophically, ever. I've got some that are well past their prime. I cannot say the same about Seagate or Western Digital. I've had several bad Western Digitals, with one failing after a few months. Its replacement also failed within six months. Seagate seems to fall somewhere between the two in terms of reliability. Of course, my observations are for a few hundred drives only.

    I think I'd feel better if Maxtor was buying Seagate. Far too often I've seen bigger companies buy out better companies and turn really good stuff into more mediocre stuff that fits well with their existing product line. That they might see the need to change a drive to make it a better fit for their line of drives seems silly.....

    I hope the change is a good one.
  • Re:Crap (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:00AM (#14308430)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:03AM (#14308452)
    You forgot about Excelstor and Fujitsu O_O
  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:07AM (#14308476)
    I guess this is a good time to bring up the storagereview reliability database []. It's the only third party tracking of HDD reliability that I am aware of. Whenever I buy a new HDD or have one die or taken out of service I go to storagereview and update my profile. Other people may not be so reliable, and people with problems are probably more likely to report then happy customers, but it WILL give you a good idea model vs model of the reliability of a drive.
  • by Daemonik ( 171801 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:10AM (#14308507) Homepage
    A good measure of the hard drive reliability is the warranty that the manufacturer is attaching to it.

    Then Seagate wins, their drives have a 5 year warranty, everybody else only offers 3 years max, some as little as 1 year.
  • (Score:2, Informative)

    by DeadMilkman ( 855027 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:24AM (#14308612) Homepage
    Very professional reviews and they keep up with failure rates...

    Now time for corrections:
    #1 Hitachi (NOT Western Digital) took over the deskstar line.
    #2 Hitachi is actually one of the best builders now
    (if people would stop holding onto past problems before the line switched hands)
    It is now one of the higher quality consumer HD manufactors
    (*they are head to head performance wise with WD, some can run toe to toe with the WD Raptor (10k rpm SATA) while being only 7200rpm themselves. Hitachi also has a very good reliabilty ratio compared to the other manufactors now (and has mantained it for 2 years)

    My general suggestions to buyers now is:
    #1 Buy Seagate if you want the warrenty, but your in for the slowest comparitive drives of the bunch.

    #2 If everything is between Hitachi and Western Digital, lean to Hitachi.

    #3 Go Maxtor if you are cheap OR if you find a good value on the MaxLine series

  • by ceeam ( 39911 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @10:37AM (#14308726)
    +1 here. Also - fast. It's funny actually - the worst HDD and the best HDD I've seen been Samsung drives - the worst, an ancient 1G+smth drive (stuttering, noise, bleh..), the best (of "consumer-grade" drives) is the recent 250G drive I've bought for relatives - fast, silent, reaching about 35C max without any cooling (7200RPM).
  • by COMON$ ( 806135 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @11:06AM (#14308955) Journal
    I will back you up on that, I am personally in charge of near a thousand computers on our network. The worst luck I have is with maxtors by far. We had a series of external drives that burned themselves out after a short period, with a light load. I can excuse one but had all 7 fail. Not to mention we run dell here and have a good combination of maxtor and Western Digital. I feel a bit of sorrow when I send a computer with a maxtor drive out, knowing that I will be seeing it again soon. Really hurts when I am sending the unit 400 miles to the site...

    I am sold on Western Digital, 5 year contract, excellent drives, got a 10K raptor at home myself. Low failure rate in our enterprise environment. Cant vouch for seagate though, havent had too much exposure to them other than the dirt cheap 300GB I bought that was DOA.

  • by SpinJaunt ( 847897 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @11:24AM (#14309121)
    Actually you'll find most manufacturer's now have a minimum of 3 years. Shame that this was a bit late going back as 6months ago I lost a 120GB Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 (6Y120L0131011) built back in 2003, atleast I get some nice magnets :)

    Just a couple a weeks ago I RMA'd a Hitachi 120GB which decided to go clonk, clonk & clonk and had no-chances of passing DFT. I got a brand new one in 1 business week and it came all the way from singapore!.

    On the flipside, all of my old HD's 2Gb are still working fine :S
  • by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <> on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @11:29AM (#14309171) Homepage
    Now, when ever I go out and buy a drive, I'm leaning towards Maxtor simply because I have a lot of them and one hasn't failed me with crucial data on it. I'm a lot better prepared to deal with that now as I'm older and wiser so maybe I won't ever feel that level of pain again.

    Well there's a lot of anecdotal "evidence" against all the manufacturers - people who buy a very small number of drives will scream loudly when one fails, making that manufacturer seem bad despite it only being a single failure. My _personal_ score so far is:

    2 Western Digital Caviars still running fine 11 years after they were bought
    1 Western Digital Caviar still running 4 years after it was bought
    1 Seagate Baracuda still running 2 years after it was bought
    1 Quantum Furrball died after 10 power-on-hours
    1 Quantum Furrball died after 3 years
    1 Maxtor died after 8 months
    And various 2.5" hard drives which are all working fine.

    That said, my _professional_ experience is a lot different - my old employer used to ship lots of Maxtors and Seagates in servers. Obviously there were failures in both camps, but where we would have a few failures a year from Seagates we had well over a 50% failure rate from Maxtors (and this wasn't just 1 batch, this was drives shipped over a reasonable length of time, and I'm ignoring failures outside of the warranty.) Anecdotal evidence from other people I know who have dealt with a reasonable number of Maxtors also suggests a very high failure rate (again, well over 50% in under a year of purchase, many dieing within a few weeks).

    So personally I wouldn't touch Maxtor drives these days. Oh, and compare the noise output of Maxtors against Seagates - the Maxtors are _really_ bad and the Seagates are some of the quietest drives you can get.

    What I'd like to ask slashdot readers is for a good way to measure drive quality other than throwing down chicken bones and looking at them or reading tea leaves?

    I'm not sure there is a "good" way of measuring drive quality - I've never seen any league tables of drive failure rates and IMHO MTBF figures are next to useless. The best thing to do is RAID them since then if one fails at least you can keep running... of course that also increases the cost of your storage space. Of course, by the time you've been running a particular model of drive for long enough to get reasonable statistics about failure rates then it's obsolete so league tables probably wouldn't be that useful.
  • by caseih ( 160668 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @12:34PM (#14309778)
    I'm still not convinced that ATA is suitable for enterprise use, by any manufacturer.

    SATA is just fine. It's almost as fast as SCSI and as far as the seagate barracuda drives go, the SATA disk is identical (well 7200 rpm anyway) to the SCSI disk, except it is cheaper. The rub is the RAID controller though. A good SATA raid controller is every bit as reliable as a SCSI RAID controller. A crappy SATA RAID controller (aka Dell CERC) will sour your experience with SATA. Our Apple Xserve RAID is all ATA (PATA even, although the new one is SATA) and it has proven to be extremely reliable.
  • by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @12:51PM (#14309924) Homepage Journal
    Strange it seems to me that hard drive makers all have their lemmons mixed with great quality lines. Its hard to tell.

    Does anyone else here remember when 80MB drives were high end and 120MB drives were pretty much king of the hill? 40GB was the de-facto standard desktop computer size.

    Well around that time (1991? 1992?) Seagate produced a huge run of bad 40GB drives and earned a bad rep for themselves that it took YEARS for them to shake off. If anyone on usenet or a BBS were to mention buying a Seagate drive, it'd be followed by about 30 posts claiming that Seagate sucks, "I had a 40MB seagate and it died" and so forth. Western Digital was the name to trust then.

    In recent years, IBM Deskstars became known for enterprise-level performance on the desktop, and they had many, many great high-performance destkop drives. However they had a bad run of (60GB?) hard drives, and suddenly everyone was flaming IBM "Deathstar" drives across the board. Never mind that it was one specific batch of one specific model drive that was bad. Suddenly all IBM drives were bad.

    In my personal experience (in reference to optical drives but hear me out) I had a bad experience with a Ricoh CD-RW drive - $800 at the time. I had the drive fail within the first month, sent it to Ricoh, got the same drive back, and it failed within a month again. Sent it back, received it. This happened SIX times during the warranty period. In the meantime news broke out on Usenet about a bad run of those drives (which were considered high end at the time) The last two times I sent the drive in I called them (Ricoh) beforehand to beg them to exchange the drive, or repair the specific issue. Each time I received the drive back and it died within weeks. During the warranty period the drive was in Ricoh's possession more than mine. After the warranty was out I disassembled the drive (CD-RW drives were still in the $500-$600 range by then), took apart the optical sled, cleaned it with isopropyl and lubricated it with white grease. The drive worked flawlessly from that point on. The problem was simple: Ricoh chose a poor lubrication (consistency was similar to petroleum jelly) which picked up every single piece of dust that entered the drive, and turned into a glue-like consistency, restricting the optical sled from moving smoothly, so it could no longer seek to follow the track consistently. Because of Ricoh's lousy customer service and their refusal to address the issue properly, I have never bought a Ricoh product again and never will.

    (back on topic, you'll see why I mentioned the Ricoh issue in a moment)

    I've had Western Digital drives fail. However each time WDC customer service has handled the issue with no questions asked, and in each case cross-shipped a new (or refurb) drive, and every time I've received a drive back it's lasted for many years. Because their customer service has been solid, I still buy WDC products, but ONLY the products with a three-year warranty or better.

    I am partial to Seagate though and that's all I will ship to customers in desktop computers or servers when I can help it. With their 5-year warranty on all drives in all channels, you know they're confident in the product and are willing to back it. I just hope with their assimilating Maxtor that Maxtor's quality increases, as opposed to cheapening the WDC line.

    I fail to understand why Seagate would want Maxtor though, except possibly to gain more factory space and maybe a couple of patents. Seagate's products are vastly superior, especially in terms of quality. Maybe it's Maxtor's external drive products they're after? It certainly can't be product quality/reliability.

  • rsync (Score:2, Informative)

    by higuita ( 129722 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @02:21PM (#14310716) Homepage
    in one word:


    in several words:

    i'm still waiting for a better backup too..., fast, flexible, multiplatform, incremental, network capable, etc

    the only problem is when isnt on the HD yet (ie: windows), but is solved by a copy in the network
  • by juventasone ( 517959 ) on Thursday December 22, 2005 @02:30AM (#14315387)
    Stop the misinformation! Ignoring all the previous nonsense, I'll tell you what the warranty scenerio currently is, and my take on desktop drive reliability in the past 8 years.

    As of today, when it comes to standard size drives (3.5", not retail kits, not external) the warranty from Maxtor, Hitachi, Samsung, and Western Digital is 3 years on "desktop" class drives and 5 years on "enterprise" class drives. Seagate is 5 years on both. Desktop drives (ATA,SATA) are found in home computers, standard workstations, and consumer electronics, while enterprise drives (SATA,SAS,SCSI) are found in high-end workstations, servers, nearline applications, and NAS devices. Computer enthusiasts like us could end up with either, usually depending on our budget. Each manufacturer lists in detail which models are considered which.

    A lot of the current confusion is due to two years ago when all the manufacters seemed to have followed one another in changing from 3 to 1 year on desktop drives. However, Western Digital quickly started offering "special edition" desktop drives with 3 years warrenty and Samsung re-appeared on the scene with 3 years on all their drives, to whom I believe we owe the gradual return of 3 years on all desktop drives.

    Now, reliability is a funny thing, because as history has proven, a manufacter's prior performance does not reflect their current offering. In short, if you buy a new drive today, nothing exists to base its expected reliability on, so it really is a crap shoot. That said, in my recent memory, there has been three severe drive problems in the past:

    Every Fujitsu MPG3- and some MPF- desktop drives had a controller defect that showed up years after they were manufactered resulting in eventual complete non-detection. What no one seems to have picked up on is the fact that as the heat started piling on Fujitsu, they quietly exited the desktop drive market completely! I'm not bashing them, I think they're a great company, but it was an interesting move.

    Then there was the birth of the geek-notorious Deathstar drives, also known as IBM Deskstar 60GXP and 75GXP. Most died, some still live, lawsuits abound. Also interesting is that once this defect became "notorious", IBM also exited the desktop drive market by selling it to Hitachi.

    Lastly, and this one is a bit fuzy, is the transition of Quantum to Maxtor. One of Quantum's very last series of drives was the Fireball Plus AS, which I've seen an uncharacteristically gross amount suffer mechanical-related deaths. The next line of drives from the now merged Maxtor were these odd "slim" drives that seem to lack a top plate from their enclosure and instead have what appears to be a drive-sized metallic label. I saw abnormally high rates of acoustic problems and mechanical failures, but the problems seemed to subside in future generations. Maxtor is the only one to attempt this style of enclosure, and I personally don't trust it.

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle