We first caught wind of HGST's high capacity hard drives in 2012, when the company claimed it could boost storage capacities by 40 percent by replacing regular old air inside the drive enclosure with helium. The Western Digital subsidiary stayed the course, producing a helium-based 6 TB HDD in 2013 and 8 TB model in 2014, and has now continued the upward trend with the world's first 10 TB hard drive.
Aimed squarely at enterprise and data centers, the Ultrastar Archive Ha10 is the company's latest take on a helium-based HDD. The apparent benefits of helium when it comes to HDD storage is its markedly lower density of around one-seventh that of regular air. This means less friction with internal moving parts, resulting in less power needed to drive the device and increased data density of the individual disks.
HGST calls its version of this HelioSeal and has combined it with shingled magnetic recording (SMR), a hard drive technology that records data on overlapping rather than parallel tracks, much like roof shingles (hence the name). The company says this results in an industry-leading storage density, low power consumption and ever-reliable storage solution. However, since SMR requires the writing of entire tracks, the drive is suited for active archive duties rather than frequent update workloads.
Further to its mammoth storage capacity, the 3.5-in drive is rated at two million hours mean time between failure (MTBF) and a 10-15 unrecoverable reduced bit error rate with 600k load-unload cycles. It comes in SATA 6 Gbps and SAS Gbps varieties and HGST claims a 20 percent improvement in Watts per TB over the preceding Ultrastar He8.
To begin with, the Ultrastar Archive Ha10 will be available to cloud and OEM storage clients with the software capabilities to harness the density of the device.