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Biztech Sep 14, 2012

HGST Announces Helium-Based Hard Disk Drive Platform

By Staff

HGST (formerly Hitachi Global Storage Technologies and now a Western Digital company) has announced a new helium-based hard disk drive (HDD) platform, which is at the forefront of advanced technology for increasing capacity and significantly reducing total cost of ownership (TCO) for enterprise and cloud customers.

This new platform allows HGST to design seven-platter drives in a standard 3.5-inch form factor that will cost-effectively extend the capacity and cost-per-gigabyte curve for many product generations to come. In addition, the inherent benefits of the platform, including the helium fill, allow HGST to significantly improve datacentre TCO on virtually every level: capacity, power, cooling and storage density.

With the explosion of data resulting from mobile devices, Internet services, social media and business applications, corporate, cloud and big data customers are constantly looking for ways to improve their storage infrastructure costs and their bottom lines. Also, new storage models, such as cold storage, are evolving in ways that require enormous amounts of data to be stored and available within a moment’s notice. These hyperscale datacentres must deploy massive amounts of storage with the best TCO to help them manage their costs and growing storage needs. And when it comes to TCO, numbers matter most – cost-per-terabyte, watt-per-TB, TB-per-system weight and TB-per-square foot.

The density of helium is one-seventh that of air, delivering significant advantages to HGST’s sealed-drive platform. The lower density means dramatically less drag force acting on the spinning disk stack so that mechanical power into the motor is substantially reduced. The lower helium density also means that the fluid flow forces buffeting the disks and the arms, which position the heads over the data tracks, are substantially reduced allowing for disks to be placed closer together (i.e., seven disks in the same enclosure) and to place data tracks closer together (i.e., allowing continued scaling in data density). The lower shear forces and more efficient thermal conduction of helium also mean the drive will run cooler and emit less acoustic noise.

“The benefits of operating a HDD with helium fill have been known for a long time. The breakthrough is in the product and process design, which seals the helium inside the HDD enclosure cost effectively and in high-volume manufacturing,” said Steve Campbell, CTO, HGST. “We are excited about the introduction of this platform, which demonstrates HGST technology leadership and is the result of more than six years of development in materials science, mechanical engineering and process technology. Thanks to the hard work of our research and engineering teams, our initial pilot lines are up and operational, putting HGST in position to introduce this technology first into the market.”

“As a technology innovator, HGST continues to invest in multiple R&D efforts that will help us win new customers, gain deeper market penetration and deliver a significant return on investment for our customers,” said Mike Cordano, President of HGST. “Our new breakthrough platform delivers unprecedented innovation with new features optimised to meet the performance, scalability, efficiency and TCO demands of both corporate and cloud datacentres, which could not be achieved using conventional techniques. With these improvements, customer interest has been positive and we look forward to qualifying our new drives in 2013.”

by Staff

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