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HGST Comes Out With Industry’s First 6TB Hard Drive

HGST is using its patented HelioSeal process, which hermetically seals the helium-filled in the Ultrastar He6 drive, for the first time in the Ultrastar He6.

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--Western Digital's HGST (formerly Hitachi Global Storage Technologies) division on Nov. 4 moved the storage capacity needle up a big notch by launching the only 6TB, 7,200 RPM, 3.5-inch enterprise-class hard drive currently available.

And that's not all that's new about it. The new drive is sealed with helium, not air, inside.

The announcement was made at the Cloud Expo 2013 here at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

The helium-filled Ultrastar He6 hard disk drive is designed for 24/7 enterprise applications such as big data analytics, cloud computing, data warehousing, video-on-demand, disk-to-disk backup, and massive scale-out storage implementations, the company said.

A year and a half ago, HGST came out with the first 4TB 3.5-inch HDD, the five-platter Ultrastar 7K4000, which turned out to be a high-selling item.

The 6TB, seven-platter Ultrastar He6 uses 5.3 watts at idle, weighs 640g, and runs four to five degrees cooler than previous models, HGST said. Using helium, which is one-seventh the density of air, helps it run that much cooler.

The new drive features HGST’s 7Stac disk design with 6TB, making it the world’s highest capacity HDD with a high TCO for cloud storage, massive scale-out environments, disk-to-disk backup, and replicated or RAID environments.

HGST is using its patented HelioSeal process, which hermetically seals the helium-filled in the Ultrastar He6 drive, for the first time in the Ultrastar He6. It is the industry’s first HDD with this feature that can be cost-effectively manufactured in high volume, the company said.

The development of the hermetically sealed process arrives just in time as market requirements are impacting HDD areal density constraints. According to industry researcher IDC, areal density growth rates have slowed and are expected to increase at a rate of less than 20 percent per year from 2011 to 2016.

GST said that the helium-based unit will serve as the main platform for new technologies such as shingled magnetic recording (SMR) and heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR). The helium platform will also serve as the future building block for growing market segments such as cold storage, a space that HGST said it plans to address over the next couple of years.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...