HP's new EVA 4100, 6100 and 8100 can have a set of Fibre Channel drives fitted or customers can specify 500GB FATA drives. These are, simplisticly, Seagate ATA drive mechanisms with a 2GB/sec Fibre Channel interface.

SATA drive capacities from Seagate are heading towards 1TB capacity from the current maximum of 750GB. When that happens then SATA drives will have twice the capacity of FATA drives and this could disadvantage FATA customers, who buy systems from HP and IBM and one or more additional suppliers. I asked HP's SAN product marketing director, Kyle Fitze, whether FATA drives would increase in capacity?

He replied: "FATA drives are essentially a large capacity, slower spindle speed drive with a FC interface. The same drives are also configured and sold with SATA interfaces. As we continue to ride that platform, we will introduce similar capacity points as seen in SATA, however, depending on the drive vendor's roadmap, we may choose to skip some along the way. We do plan to introduce a higher capacity drive later this year."

Hmm. The only capacity point to be skipped, assuming 1TB comes to pass, is 750GB. So we might expect a 1TB FATA drive from HP later this year with the 750GB capacity point missed out.

Seagate is using perpendicular magnetic recording across the board now. I suspected that the 500GB FATA drives didn't use perp recording and that's why they have stayed at the 500GB capacity for over a year or more. Fitze said: "Although our current drives don't, future drives will use perpendicular recording."