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WD’s HGST introduces new 6TB, 8TB and 10TB hard disk drives

HGST, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Western Digital Corp., has introduced three new Ultrastar-series hard disk drives with 6TB, 8TB and 10TB capacity designed for data centre storage infrastructure. The new HDDs utilize WD’s latest technologies – including HelioSeal, new platters featuring perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology as well as all-new platters with shingled magnetic recording (SMR) tech.

All three new Ultrastar drives are designed for cloud datacentres and for cold storage applications (archives). All three are based on the enterprise-class platforms and therefore are optimized for maximum possible reliability depending on actual usage scenario. The key feature of the drives is to store maximum amounts of data while consuming limited amounts of energy and using limited amount of space.

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General specifications of the new Ultrastar HDDs look as follows:

  • Ultrastar 7K6000 6TB: 3.5” HDD with 7200rpm spindle speed, 128MB DRAM buffer, Serial ATA-6Gb/s or SAS-12Gb/s interface. The drive is based on five 1.2TB PMR platters and is not filed with helium. HGST declares 227MB/s maximum sustained transfer rate for 6TB models and 4.16ms typical latency.
  • Ultrastar He8 8TB: 3.5” HDD with 7200rpm spindle speed, 128MB DRAM buffer, Serial ATA-6Gb/s or SAS-12Gb/s interface. The drive is based on seven 1.2TB PMR platters and is filed with helium in order to shrink the distance between platters without increasing risks and sacrificing performance. HGST declares 205MB/s maximum sustained transfer rate and 4.16ms typical latency.
  • Ultrastar 10TB SMR HelioSeal HDD: 3.5” HDD with unknown spindle speed and interfaces (SAS, SATA expected). The drive is based on seven 1.43TB SMR platters and is filed with helium. Actual performance of the drive was not revealed, but do not expect it to be truly high since SMR platters cannot enable leading-edge performance. Keeping in mind that the HDD is designed for mostly for cold storage, its performance is not as important as its capacity. HGST/WD is currently sampling 10TB SMR HelioSeal HDD. Commercial shipments are not expected to start before calendar 2015.

In addition to announcing its new HDDs, HGST said that while its air-based HDD high-capacity platforms have served the industry for decades, to better serve the evolving data centre’s capacity and efficiency needs, all future HGST enterprise capacity HDDs will be built on the HelioSeal platform and will thus be filed with helium. Expect the future 3.5” enterprise capacity HDDs from HGST to feature six or seven platters as well as very high capacities.

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“By providing complete solutions for both performance and capacity centric environments, we’re enabling our data center customers and partners to focus on developing new services and capabilities that drive competitive differentiation and profitability for their businesses,” said Mike Cordano, president of HGST.

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KitGuru Says: It is really interesting to note that HGST plans to stop development of capacity-optimized enterprise-class hard disk drives. It is unclear whether Western Digital itself will do the same and will borrow the HelioSeal technology from HGST, or will continue with air-filed HDDs. If WD adopts the sealed-HDD technology, then we can talk about a new industry trend towards gas-filed capacity-optimized HDDs, which means that eventually the technology could be used for capacity-optimized consumer drives too. If not, it will mean that WD and HGST will simply offer their products to different kinds of customers. The latter will address clients with demands for maximum storage density, while the former will concentrate on those, who need certain other things.

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