Hitachi releases first enterprise-class 4TB hard drive

The new Ultrastar drive has four different power settings

Hitachi's former disk-drive division today announced what it said it the first enterprise-class 4TB hard disk drive.

The drive has a greater areal density that offers 33% more capacity in the same 3.5-inch form factor at 24% lower watts-per-gigabyte than its predecessor.

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST), now owned by Western Digital, introduced the new Ultrastar 7K4000 line, which uses the new 512e Advanced Format.

The industry as a whole is moving to the Advanced Format standard because 4KB sectors on hard drives offer higher capacities and addresses current technological limitations with 512-byte sectors in some OSes, such as Windows XP. Laptop drives, or 2.5-in hard drives, adopted the 512e Advanced Format in 2010.

Advanced Format HDDs, also known as 512e HDDs, will emulate 512-byte SATA, allowing them to maintain backward compatibility.

Ultrastar 7K4000
Hitachi's Ultrastar 7K4000 4TB hard drive.

The new Ultrastar 7K4000 drive is the third generation using the Ultrastar design. It has five platters that spin at 7,200rpm. The drive uses a 6Gbps SATA interface and a 64MB cache buffer. It has a 2 million hour mean-time-between-failure rating.

Western Digital is marketing the drive for use in 24x7 enterprise applications such as big data, cloud computing, data warehousing, video-on-demand, disk-to-disk backup and massive scale-out storage implementations.

The predecessor to the 7K4000, the Ultrastar 7K3000 drive, held up to 3TB of data. With the new 4TB model, IT managers can get 2.4 petabytes of capacity in the footprint of a standard 19-inch storage rack by stacking 10 4U (7-in high), 60-bay enclosures.

Using the Advanced Power Management API developed by Intel and Microsoft, the Ultrastar 7K4000 can take advantage of four modes and achieve up to a 59% reduction in power usage, from peak usage to low RPM idle mode. In stand-by or sleep mode, the drive uses just 1 watt of power.

The Ultrastar 7K4000 family is now shipping in limited quantities. Models are available with a native data encryption option.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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