Western Digital subsidiary HGST announced today that it is shipping a 6TB hard disk drive with a twist: it’s a hermetically sealed, helium-filled HDD.
The new Ultrastar He6 drive is the world’s highest capacity HDD with the best cost of ownership for cloud storage, massive scale-out environments, disk-to-disk backup, and replicated or RAID environments, according to HGST.
“With ever-increasing pressures on corporate and cloud data centers to improve storage efficiencies and reduce costs, HGST is at the forefront delivering a revolutionary new solution that significantly improves data center TCO on virtually every level capacity, power, cooling and storage density all in the same 3.5-inch form factor,” Brendan Collins, vice president of product marketing at HGST, said in a statement. “Not only is our new Ultrastar helium hard drive helping customers solve data center challenges today, our mainstream helium platform will serve as the future building block for new products and technologies moving forward.”
Why helium? According to HGST, helium has “one-seventh the density of air,” so using helium “dramatically reduces the turbulence caused by the spinning disk, cuts power consumption and results in a lower temperature within the disk drive.”
The Ultrastar He6, which maintains the traditional 3.5-inch form factor, is being targeted at businesses, and companies that have signed on to try it out include HP, Netflix, Huawei Unified Storage, CERN, Green Revolution Cooling, and Code42.
“The Netflix Open Connect delivery platform is a highly optimized video content delivery network. We serve billions of hours of streaming video per quarter to over 40 million subscribers,” said David Fullagar, director of Content Delivery Architecture at Netflix. “As part of our efforts to optimize the delivery ecosystem for Netflix and our Internet Service Provider partners, we strive to build better and better streaming appliances. The high storage density and lower power usage of the Ultrastar He6 hard drives allow us to continue with that goal, and create a great customer experience.”
As PCMag’s sister site, Geek.com, pointed out, these helium-filled drives have been in the works for more than a year, but are now finally shipping.