Storage firm HGST has unveiled the industry's first 10TB hard drive, but the technologies used to deliver this capacity mean that it is not a drop-in replacement for current enterprise hard drives and is best suited for applications where high capacity at low cost is more important than speedy access to data.
HGST, formerly known as Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, is aiming the Ultrastar Archive Ha10 at customers such as cloud providers, which have spiralling storage requirements for online backup or bulk storage of data such as digital media.
The Ultrastar Archive Ha10 drive offers 10TB of storage, but uses a technique known as shingled magnetic recording (SMR) to achieve this density. An upshot of this is that it requires special software to access the drive, and is consequently not a drop-in replacement for existing enterprise hard drives.
In fact, the ideal application for the Ha10 is active archive storage tiers, where 'hot' data is stored on solid state drives or high-speed hard drives, while infrequently accessed data can be migrated to less costly storage media. The new drives would thus complement existing enterprise hard drives in such a deployment.
SMR overlaps, or 'shingles', the data tracks on top of each other to achieve a higher density, drawing its name from the way roof shingles are applied on a building.
This works best with data that is sequentially written, akin to tape drives, although reads can be random access as with a standard hard drive.
For this reason, initial rollout of the Ha10 is being focused on cloud and data centre customers that have the in-house ability to develop the software required, according to HGST.
However, HGST is providing an open source SDK known as libzbc to facilitate Linux application development and implementation of new SMR command sets.
The new drives also feature the second generation of HGST's HelioSeal technology, where the air inside the drive is replaced with helium, which is less dense and reduces the turbulence caused by the rotating disks, cutting power consumption and reducing friction heating.
"By layering SMR on top of helium, we are enabling massively scalable, TCO-driven storage solutions with the performance and durability necessary for the long term retention of archived data," said HGST vice president of product marketing Brendan Collins.
The Ultrastar Archive Ha10 is otherwise a fairly standard 7,200rpm 3.5in drive with a 6Gbps Sata host interface, boasting a sustained transfer rate of 68MBps for writes and 157MBps for reads.
As enterprise-class drives, the new range boasts a mean time before failure of 2.5 million hours with 24x7 availability, and is backed by a five-year warranty.
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