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Hitachi shows off 1.2TB 10K SAS drives for enterprise market

29 Jan 2013
Hitachi Ultrastar C10K1200

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST) has introduced a 1.2TB 10K RPM Ultrastar drive, claimed as the highest capacity enterprise-class hard disk available and enabling datacentres to cram 33 percent more capacity into the same rack space.

Shipping now, the Ultrastar C10K1200 is a development of the firm's existing Ultrastar C10K900 line, but adds a fourth platter within the same 2.5in drive format to boost total storage capacity up to 1.2TB.

This enables datacentres to fit over 28TB of storage into a 2U rack-mount server chassis, according to Hitachi, which is now part of Western Digital after being acquired in 2011.

Like Hitachi's existing drives, the new Ultrastar uses a SAS 6Gbit/s serial attached SCSI (SAS) host interface and spins at 10,000RPM. It is aimed at enterprise customers and cloud computing service providers, who seek ever greater densities to meet ballooning data storage requirements.

"This is a key product for large storage arrays as you can fit a higher capacity within the same space restrictions. No one else in the industry has a higher capacity than 900GB in this segment at the moment," Hitachi senior sales director for EMEA, Nigel Edwards told V3.

The new drive also meets customer requirements around quality and reliability, Edwards said, with an estimated mean time between failures (MTBF) of two million hours.

While the adoption of solid state drives (SSDs) has been growing in the enterprise market, conventional hard drives will continue to make up the majority of datacentre storage because of their larger capacities, Edwards said.

"We see the two technologies complementing each other for the foreseeable future, because of the huge demand for space," he said, with SSD serving the role of a cache for hard disks or as a small "Tier zero" in the storage hierarchy.

Hitachi is currently "squeezing the maximum it can" from the current perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology, before introducing drives with a newer Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) in the 2015 timeframe, a technology that uses partially overlapping tracks to achieve a greater recording density.

"Today we're sitting at 4TB as the maximum for desktop drives, but it won't be long before we will be up at 8TB or 9TB in the 3.5in space," Edwards predicted.

Later this year, Hitachi also plans to introduce helium-filled drives, which it claims will cut power consumption by 23 percent because helium is less dense than air and thus less power is needed to spin the platters.

Disks with this technology have the potential to significantly reduce the total cost of ownership for enterprise and cloud customers simply by reducing energy bills, according to Hitachi.

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Daniel Robinson

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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