Nov 09, 1998

HP and Seagate Plan for Storage Networking Growth with Roadmap to Multigigabit Fibre Channel

Hewlett-Packard Company and Seagate Technology, Inc. today announced development plans to deliver products based on 2 gigabit-per-second (2Gb/s) Fibre Channel technology, with a roadmap leading to 4 Gb/s and higher. This multifold increase in bandwidth addresses the emerging needs of computer system OEMs to build arbitrated loops with higher bandwidth and to build topologies capable of cascading several 1 Gb/s loops together via high-speed switches interconnected by multigigabit links.

The development successes of HP with transceivers and fibre channel protocol controllers and Seagate with high performance fibre channel hard drives will help lead the industry's implementation of the enhanced data rates already defined in the Fibre Channel specification. The maximum bandwidth potential of a 2Gb/s link is 800MB/s when its full duplex capability is used in combination with dual-port Fibre Channel disk drives. This is twice the bandwidth potential of a 1Gb/s link and several times the bandwidth potential of other storage I/O technologies. This increased bandwidth is needed to keep pace with the increasing data rates of today's high-performance disk drives, such as those in Seagate's 10,000-rpm Cheetah family.

HP and Seagate are working closely with other industry leaders within the Fibre Channel standards community. Their efforts will help ensure that future multigigabit Fibre Channel products interoperate and co-exist with today's 1Gb/s products, as well as with other vendors' future multigigabit products. Multigigabit Fibre Channel products are expected to begin emerging in 2000.

Our customers are asking for a well-planned, smooth transition from today's maximum Fibre Channel data rate of 1Gb/s to 2Gb/s and 4Gb/s, with higher data rates in the future, said Julian Elliott, manager of HP's High Speed I/O business unit. HP's background in high-speed serializer/deserializer (SerDes) ICs for Fibre Channel and Ethernet, and in the high-performance TACHYON Fibre Channel protocol controllers, position HP as well-suited to drive Fibre Channel I/O solutions to these new levels of performance. We believe that working together with Seagate and other leaders in the Fibre Channel standards community is the best way to deliver higher Fibre Channel bandwidth to our customers.

Fibre Channel is recognized as the epitome in today's storage networking interfaces and the enabler for future advances of storage attached networks, said Don Kelly, Seagate's senior vice president of High Performance Products. Seagate's long-standing leadership in Fibre Channel technology is clear. It has grown from early work with leading partners, such as HP, in the 1980s through the debut of the Barracuda 4, the world's first Fibre Channel disk drive, in 1994. Today, it spans to the latest Barracuda and Cheetah storage products, with more Fibre Channel disk-drive units shipped from Seagate than all other manufacturers combined. Multigigabit Fibre Channel is exciting because it demonstrates the success of today's interface and the maturity that Fibre Channel is achieving.

Emerging computing requirements such as multimedia and video creation/editing/broadcasting are driving the need for higher bandwidth storage solutions, said Peter Gibbs, director of marketing for the CLARiiON Advanced Storage Division of Data General Corporation. With today's Fibre channel technology, CLARiiON. FC5000 Series full Fibre Channel disk arrays deliver unmatched performance for these bandwidth-hungry applications. New, higher bandwidth components such as 2 Gbit/sec Fibre Channel disk drives and host bus adapters will raise the bar, ultimately benefiting the end users who rely on these applications to be competitive in their markets.

"Interoperability has been and will continue to be the key to success for Fibre Channel, said Ken Hallam, director of technology for Unisys Corporation. I applaud Hewlett-Packard's and Seagate's commitment to insure that products that support 2Gbit speeds and beyond will interoperate with 1Gbit products. Our customers have already invested in 1Gbit Fibre Channel and a smooth migration path to higher performance has always been an essential goal of our own strategy.

About Seagate Technology Seagate Technology, Inc. (NYSE: SEG) is a leading provider of technology and products enabling people to store, access, and manage information. The Company is committed to providing best-in-class products to help people get information when, where and how they want it. Seagate is the world's largest manufacturer of disc drives, magnetic discs and read-write heads, an innovator in tape drives, and a leading developer of Enterprise Information Management software. Seagate can be found around the globe and on the World Wide Web at For automated news, stock and financial information by phone, dial toll-free 877-SEG-NYSE. Outside the U.S. and Canada, dial 760-704-4368.

About HP Hewlett-Packard Company is a leading global provider of computing, Internet and Intranet solutions, services, communications products and measurement solutions, all of which are recognized for excellence in quality and support. HP has 127,200 employees and had revenue of $42.9 billion in its 1997 fiscal year.

Information about HP's Fibre Channel components and solutions can be found on the World Wide Web at


This press release includes forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, delays and difficulties in research and development activities, technical difficulties, changes in the allocation of resources available for research and development, and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Actual results may differ materially from management expectations.