Western Digital’s HGST Begins to Ship 6TB Helium Filed Hard Disk Drive

WD’s HGST Begins to Ship World’s First Sealed HDD with 6TB Capacity

by Anton Shilov
11/04/2013 | 11:10 PM

HGST, a subsidiary of Western Digital Corp., on Monday introduced the world’s first hard drives that boast 6TB capacity as well as filed with helium. The new Ultrastar He6 drive features HGST’s innovative 7Stac disk design with 6TB, making it the world’s highest capacity HDD with the best TCO for cloud storage, massive scale-out environments, disk-to-disk backup, and replicated or RAID environments. Key OEM, cloud and research leaders working closely with HGST to qualify the drive.

 

Through HGST’s innovative and patented HelioSeal process, the Ultrastar He6 drive is the industry’s first hermetically sealed helium-filled HDD that can be cost-effectively manufactured in high volume. The breakthrough development of the hermetically sealed process is arriving just in time as key market requirements are colliding with HDD areal density constraints. According to IDC, areal density growth rates have slowed, and are expected at a rate of less than 20% per year from 2011 to 2016. Moving forward, HGST’s helium platform will serve as the main platform for new technologies like shingled magnetic recording (SMR) and heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) where HGST will continue to push the HDD areal density envelope. The helium platform will also serve as the future building block for new, growing market segments such as cold storage, a space that HGST plans to address over the next couple of years.

“With ever-increasing pressures on corporate and cloud data centers to improve storage efficiencies and reduce costs, HGST is at the forefront delivering a revolutionary new solution that significantly improves data center TCO on virtually every level – capacity, power, cooling and storage density – all in the same 3.5-inch form factor. Not only is our new Ultrastar helium hard drive helping customers solve data center challenges today, our mainstream helium platform will serve as the future building block for new products and technologies moving forward. This is a huge feat, and we are gratified by the support of our customers in the development of this platform,” said Brendan Collins, vice president of product marketing at HGST.

The amount of data that companies need to store is growing exponentially, but IT budgets remain flat. With 6TB, a low 5.3 idle watts, a reduced weight of 640g, and running at 4°C-5°C cooler, the new Ultrastar He6 lowers data center TCO on virtually every level. Key TCO benefits when compared to a 3.5”, five-platter, air-filled 4TB drive include: highest capacity HDD on the market; lowest power consumption with best watts-per-TB; best density footprint in a standard 3.5” form-factor; lighter weight than a standard five-disk 3.5” HDD.

"HDD industry areal density growth is not keeping pace with the rate of storage capacity growth in enterprise data centers. HGST's proprietary, new, hermetically sealed, helium-filled HDD solution – the industry's first helium filled platform that simultaneously increases capacity while lowering power consumption and operating temperature – is intersecting the market at a time when IT managers are seeking out capacious and energy efficient new disk drives that will help to reduce the total cost of ownership of enterprise storage systems," said John Rydning, research vice president of IDC.

Data center designers and server vendors are continuing to pack more capability into smaller spaces, and with that, effective cooling is becoming a new challenge due to hotter components and less space for efficient airflow. One solution, which has been explored by many, is liquid cooling. Liquid, which is denser than air, can remove heat more efficiently and maintain a more constant operating temperature. However, traditional drives cannot be submerged as they are open to the atmosphere and would allow the cooling liquid inside, damaging or destroying the HDD. HGST’s HelioSeal platform provides the only cost-effective solution for liquid cooling as the drives are hermetically sealed and enable operation in most any non-conductive liquid. Today, HGST is working with leading innovators in this space such as Huawei and Green Revolution Cooling.

The 6TB HGST Ultrastar He6 hard drives are now generally available and are shipped with five-years limited warranty.