Filling a hard disk with helium has many advantages, as we discussed in previous years the lower drag force and reduced fluid flow forces result in lower power consumption, lower noise production, and the ability to stack more platters into a HDD than what's possible with plain old air. These disks are already available for enterprise-class applications but it's still unclear when or if the technology will move to consumer disks as well.
As with all new technology, reliability may be a concern for some but HGST aims to put this fear to rest with its new announcement that it achieved a milestone by getting a mean time between failure (MTBF) rating of 2.5 million hours for its helium-filled HDDs. For comparison, most of the firm's other enterprise HDDs have a MTBF of 2 million hours.
With more than one million helium-filled hard disk drives (HDDs) deployed, HGST (@HGSTStorage), a Western Digital company (NASDAQ: WDC) today announced it has achieved a new milestone in reliability as the only manufacturer with drives field-proven and rated for two and a half (2.5) million hours mean time between failure (MTBF). Today’s news demonstrates that HGST’s helium HDDs are poised to become the mainstream choice for data center applications where storage density, reliability and power efficiency are paramount. Now shipping its second generation HelioSeal Platform drives, HGST is shifting its volume mix and ramping Helium production to meet strengthening customer demand across cloud and mainstream data center applications.
With strong market acceptance from the largest cloud service providers, Internet giants, OEMs and businesses around the world, including Netflix, Huawei, Inspur, HP, OVH, Starline, Buffalo, DataON, DDN and Racktop to name a few, the HGST HelioSeal Platform represents proven innovation in high-capacity HDD technology and reliability, while lowering true total cost of ownership (TCO). While there are a number of ways to increase hard drive capacity, HGST’s HelioSeal platform is the only technology to provide unmatched reliability and a long-term path for delivering higher capacity storage on a standard 3.5-inch HDD form factor, while lowering power and drive temperature at the same time. All this equates to best storage density, TB-per-system weight, TB/Sq. foot and lowest watt/TB for enterprise and cloud data centers.
Since introducing the technology in 2013, HGST has been steadily increasing volume production to enable an expanding set of customers to enjoy the proven benefits of its Helium-filled technology. Now in its second generation, HGST’s HelioSeal platform is gaining broader customer support and the company is increasing production of its Ultrastar® He8, 8TB drives – the highest capacity available in the market that delivers full performance for all capacity-optimized applications. HGST’s HelioSeal technology allows this to be accomplished at standard 7,200 RPM performance with low power while competitive air based products typically reduce RPM and performance to achieve lower power.
Both the Ultrastar® He8 and the Ultrastar He6 families now feature an unprecedented reliability rating of 2.5M hours MTBF. Due to its patented manufacturing process and the inherent benefits of Helium, HGST’s HelioSeal drives are field proven and have a more robust design margin than traditional air based drives. The HGST Helium drives are hermetically-sealed, which keep air, humidity and other contaminates out of the drive, allowing them to be used in harsh or ambient environments. The Helium inside the drives also reduces disk vibration and flutter, adding to even greater reliability.
HGST will continue to extend its capacity leadership by combining two complementary technologies: HelioSeal technology and Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) in its industry-leading 10TB helium-drives. The additive nature of these two technologies, combined with the economies of scale provided by increased Helium-drive manufacturing capacity, will further enhance HGST’s TCO advantage. HGST expects that by 2017, 50 percent of its enterprise capacity drive shipments will be Helium.
“Based on the patented HelioSeal technology, HGST’s Ultrastar Helium-filled drives are the only drives that improve data center TCO on virtually every level—from storage density, power and cooling costs, to reliability, capacity and more. We also believe it is the only way to get to higher densities therefore higher capacities while maintaining reliability. All of these factors contribute to defining the true TCO of the data center,” said Brendan Collins, vice president of product marketing, HGST. “With more than one million drives deployed, the rapid industry adoption of this revolutionary technology affirms our commitment to Helium as the foundation for all future scaling technologies. With a valued-based pricing strategy in place and manufacturing investments to promote the increased volumes, HGST is on an accelerated path to delivering higher capacities and better TCO into existing and future form factor designs.”