Western Digital Delivering 6TB Helium Drives

Mike Vizard
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Ten Steps You Shouldn't Take to Make Storage Run Faster

With the massive amounts of information that will be created in the years ahead, the ability to cost effectively store that data has become a major concern for companies of all sizes.

To address those concerns, manufacturers of magnetic storage have been pursuing new approaches that promise to substantially increase the amount of data that can be stored on magnetic disk drives. For example, Western Digital’s HGST unit has been developing magnetic disk drives that make use of helium to dramatically increase the number of platters that can be incorporated within each magnetic disk drive.

According to Brendan Collins, vice president of product marketing for HGST, a new class of Ultrastar He6 hard disk drives (HDD) is capable of storing 6TB of data per drive. In production now, Collins says these drives will start showing up in storage systems in first half of 2014.

Based on HelioSeal technology that HGST first unveiled last year, the new drives make use of a process through which Samsung removes all the air in the drive and replaces it with helium, which is naturally much lighter. Because of that, HGST can deliver 7200 RPM drives that consume less power while providing 50 percent more capacity.

As the first iteration of helium drives, the Ultrastar He6 series is the first in a series of magnetic storage innovations that includes shingled magnetic recording (SMR) and heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technologies.

All this innovation in magnetic storage is particularly good news when you consider not only the rate at which data is growing, but also the ever increasing percentage of the overall IT budget that it continues to consume each year.

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