Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST), now part of Western Digital (WD), has announced the launch of a dedicated 4TB enterprise-class hard drive, aimed at customers such as datacentre operators and traditional enterprises facing growing data storage requirements.
The Ultrastar 7K4000 family is shipping now in limited quantities, featuring models with 4TB, 3TB and 2TB capacities, with a 6Gb/s Serial ATA interface and 7,200rpm spin speed.
According to HGST, the new drives are designed for continuous operation in datacentres and are backed by a five-year limited warranty, with a 40 per cent improvement in mean time before failure (MTBF) of two million hours.
Customers choosing the 7K4000 will be able to cram as much as 2.4 petabytes into a single 19in datacentre rack, by filling 10 60-bay 4U format drive enclosures with the 4TB model, the firm said.
Because of their high capacity, the new models are Advanced Format drives, utilising a 4KB sector format that makes more efficient use of storage space for large files than the legacy 512 byte format.
"With our new Advanced Format Ultrastar 7K4000 drives, we are providing enormous capacity earlier than otherwise possible for environments optimised for this technology," said HGST's vice president of product marketing, Brendan Collins.
HGST said that the 7K4000 provides compatibility for existing systems via 512 byte emulation (512e) implemented on the drive itself, which involves packing eight 512 byte sectors into one 4K sector on the disk.
However, the downside of this technique is that writing a single 512 byte sector requires the drive to first read the 4K block it is contained within, insert the new data, then write the updated 4K sector to the drive, in what is called a Read-Modify-Write cycle.
Most current operating systems are Advanced Format-aware and take account of this, including Windows versions from Vista SP1 onwards, Mac OS X 10.4 and above, according to HGST.
The Ultrastar 7K4000 also cuts power consumption, using 24 per cent fewer watts per gigabyte than earlier Hitachi models, the firm claimed.
The firm claims the devices are the first enterprise-class 4TB devices on the market, although it announced the Deskstar 7K4000 and 5K4000 products last year that also offer 4TB of storage, but claimed these were for desktop computing and PC gaming uses.
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