You can't just show up in a server room with a palette of desktop drives, though. Enterprise customers are a discerning lot, and they're particularly, er, particular about reliability, power consumption, and suitability for multi-drive RAID environments. Standard desktop drives simply won't do, which is why hard drive manufacturers have developed SATA drives with enterprise-class credentials. These drives are based on desktop models, but they tend to undergo more stringent reliability testing, benefit from additional features, and come equipped with firmware tweaked to improve performance with demanding enterprise workloads.
Seagate first dipped its toe into the enterprise SATA market with the Barracuda ES, which was based on the company's then-current 7200.10 drive technology. Since then, Seagate has rolled out a 7200.11 drive platform, and with it, a new Barracuda ES.2. With a terabyte of total capacity spread over four 250GB platters and 32MB of cache, the ES.2 looks great on paper. But how does the drive's performance compare with its direct rivals and the 7200.11 on which it's based? Read on to find out.