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WD leapfrogs Seagate with world's highest capacity 10TB helium drive, new flash drives

Lucas Mearian | Sept. 10, 2014
WD said it will end production of air-filled hard drives for the data centre.

10tb smr coldstorage
HGST's new He10 10TB hard drive seals in helium and users singled magnetic recording to pack its capacity into a 3.5-in form factor. Credit: HGST

Western Digital's (WD) HGST subsidiary today announced it has added 8TB and 10TB hard drives to its HelioSeal product line, which hermetically seals in helium in order to reduce internal drive friction and power use.

WD also announced its first NVMe (non volatile memory express) product with a PCIe-attached flash drive; the company also announced a new 2.5-in solid-state drive (SSD).

WD also unveiled a new "flash fabric" software and hardware platform that acts as a multi-server volume manager, linking up to 128 servers and 16 PCIe drives for up to 38TB of pooled flash storage. HGST is rebranding Virident Solutions 2.0 software.

The HGST Virident Solutions 2.0 software can create a high availability, mirrored cluster that can be managed through an graphical user interface for shared storage applications like Oracle RAC and Red Hat Global File System that traditionally rely on dedicated SANs.

It also provides MySQL environments with greater levels of availability and efficiency where a single stand-by server can be deployed as an alternative to dedicated replication pairs, saving as much as 37% on total server count, according to HGST.

The Virident Solutions 2.0 software can be added to HGST's already-shipping Virident ClusterCache for SAN acceleration, Virident Share for Flash pooling and remote access to Flash, and Virident HA for replication.

"Companies that invest in flash are going to want to be able to scale out and share that capacity without compromising the performance of their flash," said Mike Gustofson, a general manager at HGST. "

Massive hard drive upgrade
Last November, HGST announced its first helium-filled hard drive, the 6TB (He6) model that broke all previous records for hard drive areal density.

Today, HGST said that by 2017, it plans to end production of air-filled hard drives for use in corporate data centers, replacing all of its models with helium filled products.

Along with the thinner gas's ability to reduce power use, the helium-drives run at four to five degrees cooler than today's 7200rpm drives, HGST stated. Sealing air out of the drive also keeps humidity and other contaminates from getting in.

HGST's announcement comes less than two weeks after Seagate announced its highest capacity enterprise hard drive, an 8TB model that bypassed helium for air.

Instead of helium, Seagate uses a technology called shingled magnetic recording (SMR) to increase the capacity of its drives beyond 4TB. Seagate has said SMR holds the promise of creating 20TB drives by 2020.


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