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HGST starts to sample 10TB HDDs, expects helium-filled drives to thrive

HGST, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Western Digital Corp., on Tuesday said that its Ultrastar HelioSeal hard disk drives are now field-proven and rated for two and a half million hours mean time between failure (MTBF). In addition, the company said that it had begun to sample its 10TB hard drives with select customers and that 50 per cent of its enterprise-class HDDs will be filled with helium by 2017.

While helium-filled hard disk drives are harder to produce than traditional HDDs, because helium’s density is seven times lower than that of air, it is possible to install more platters inside such drives and also reduce power consumption of motors. This allows to retain 7200rpm spindle speed on high-capacity hard drives. The manufacturer claims that the helium inside the drives also reduces disk vibration and flutter, which further improves reliability. Finally, since Ultrastar HelioSeal are hermetically sealed, air, humidity and other contaminates are kept out of the drive.

“Based on the patented HelioSeal technology, HGST’s Ultrastar Helium-filled drives are the only drives that improve data center TCO on virtually every level—from storage density, power and cooling costs, to reliability, capacity and more. We also believe it is the only way to get to higher densities therefore higher capacities while maintaining reliability. All of these factors contribute to defining the true TCO of the data center,” said Brendan Collins, vice president of product marketing, HGST.


The company said that so far it has sold about one million Ultrastar HelioSeal HDDs, which is not a lot. Nonetheless, the company believes that in the coming years helium-filled hard drives will account for 50 per cent of its enterprise-class HDDs.

HGST is shipping its 6TB Ultrastar He6 and 8TB Ultrastar He8 helium-filled drives commercially today. HGST’s 10TB Helium HDDs with SMR are sampling with select customers.

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KitGuru Says: Without any doubts, helium-filled hard disk drives are great for datacentres, where every additional terabyte matters. However, it does not look like such HDDs will ever be offered for consumers as they are still pretty expensive to make.

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