Helium-filled WD drives promise huge boost in capacity
Density of helium is one-seventh that of air, thus reducing hard drive platter drag
Computerworld - For more than 50 years, hard disk drives have run on air. That's about to change.
Western Digital is preparing to launch a line of hard drives filled with helium gas that is said to drastically reduce internal friction and thus lower power consumption by 23% while increasing capacity by 40%.
The 3.5-in data center drives, developed by WD subsidiary Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST), are expected to be available next year.
The hermetically sealed drives are filled with helium, which is one-seventh the density of air.
Brendan Collins, vice president of product marketing at HGST, said helium drives reduce drag on the disk's platters while the seals keep humidity and other contaminates out. Less drag means the drives operate at temperatures that are four to five degrees cooler than today's 7200 rpm drives, Collins added.
A sealed drive can also operate in more severe environmental conditions, according to HGST.
"The industry has been trying to make this work for the past 10 years. They've been trying to ensure that the gas doesn't leak and that the drives can be efficiently produced in mass volume. That's the key to our proprietary technology," Collins said.
Collins called HGST's announcement more of a technology platform than a product. The helium-filled drives will be targeted for use in public cloud computing systems and in corporate data centers, he added.
"We believe the technology will be around for the next 10 years and will be the foundation of cloud-based storage in the data center," Collins said.
The helium gas-filled drives will let HGST increase the overall platter count from five to seven. At the same time, the technology allows for increasing platter density -- with more tracks per square inch.
Both HAMR and SMR are about two years away from production, Collins said.
"I'm really interested to see how people react to [helium-filled drives]," said IDC analyst John Rydning. "I don't think people are aware that it's been in development for a long time."
Today, HGST data center drives offer up to 4TB of capacity on five internal platters.
While HGST would not say what capacity the helium-filled drives will sport, it could be as much as 5.6TB based on the company's estimate of a 40% increase over current technologies.
Today's capacity limitations
All drive makers have been closing in on a storage ceiling due to disk platter wobble or vibration that comes with spinning at thousands of revolutions per minute.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Using VM Archiving to Solve VM Sprawl This CommVault whitepaper discusses how archiving virtual machines can mitigate VM sprawl with a comprehensive approach to VM lifecycle management.
- Keep Your Network Available, Efficient and Secure Make the most of your network by working with experts who "get it." CDW and F5 have partnered to keep networks highly optimized....
- VCE Converged Infrastructure Enables Continuous Operation for Swiss Power Plant Read how Vblock™ Systems, running in active-active mode, enabled KKL to transform its twin data centers in just two months, enable continuous operations,...
- The Future of IT: A Customer First Approach Explore how customer-first policies can make use of social, mobile and cloud technologies to give workers the freedom and flexibility they desire to...
- Live Webcast Best Practices for the Hyperconverged Enterprise Network To the Age of Constant Connectivity and Information overload
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Endpoint Backup & Restore: Protect Everyone, Everywhere Arek Sokol from the bleeding-edge IT team at Genentech/Roche explains how he leverages cross-platform enterprise endpoint backup in the public cloud as part...
- Make or Break: New Auto Products Must Go To Market On Time This Webcast quantifies the value of time to market for the auto industry and highlights how Primavera Enterprise Portfolio Management can help organizations.
- IBM Flash Webcast: Optimizing your Datacenter for Efficient Storage & ROI Register for this webcast to learn the benefits of flash storage from IBM Customer, Leonardo Irastorza of Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd and Storage... All Data Storage White Papers | Webcasts