Anybody remember when hard drives were measured in megabytes? How far we've come from those primitive days in computing. Further distancing us from the stone age of storage, Seagate today has begun shipping the world's first 8TB hard drive. The feat comes a mere five months after Western Digital's HGST subsidiary shipped the first 6TB HDD -- could a capacity war be at hand?
That last time we heard from OCZ was back before the end of 2013, when the company was in the grips of bankruptcy and nobody was sure what its future held. Fast forward to March 2014, and things are looking rather good for the formerly beleaguered company, much to everyone’s surprise. Rather than simply dissolve and fade away like we had feared, the company has been acquired by storage behemoth Toshiba, and is now operating as an independent subsidiary.
Note: This review was originally featured in the May 2014 issue of the magazine.
Every mobile user who is limited to just one storage bay wants the best of both worlds: SSD speeds with HDD capacities. Both Seagate and WD have a one-drive solution to this problem, with Seagate offering a hybrid 1TB hard drive with an SSD cache for SSD-esque performance, and WD offering a no-compromise 2.5-inch drive with both an SSD and an HDD. These drives are arch rivals, so it’s time to settle the score.
The WD Black2 is an answer to the prayers of mobile users who have just one drive bay but want the speed of an SSD with the capacity of a hard drive. Unlike a hybrid drive, which stores all data on a hard drive but uses a limited amount of flash storage for caching, the WD Black2 features an all-new design whereby a single 2.5-inch enclosure houses both a hard drive and an SSD—two distinct drives that appear to the OS as such, so you can put your OS on the SSD and your data on the hard drive. It’s a brilliant solution that unfortunately gives up a bit of performance in order to conform to the small form factor, but if we had just one storage bay in our notebooks, we’d upgrade to this bad mutha immediately.
Pleased with initial feedback on ‘customer development units’
Seagate on Thursday reported its financial results for the fiscal fourth quarter and year ended June 27, 2014. The company exited the quarter with some decent numbers, reporting gross margin of 28 percent and net income of $320 million on quarterly revenue of $3.3 billion. But if we ever feel the urge to cast our mind back to the fourth quarter of company’s fiscal 2014, it’s more likely to be on account of the insanely large capacity enterprise hard drives it began shipping during the period than those numbers.
No, it's not likely that you're going to pick up HGST's new 1.8TB hard drive for your build, not unless you're erecting a data center. While we've moved on to solid state drives at home, enterprise customers still have a high level of interest in certain mechanical hard drives due, in part, to the price-to-performance ratio. It's those customers that HGST is targeting with its Ultrastar C10K1800 HDD.
New capacities and cloud capabilities highlight Seagate's latest batch of Wireless Plus HDDs
Seagate this week unveiled a new family of Wireless Plus mobile storage solutions that offer more capacity and features than the previous generation. The Wireless Plus line is now available in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities and come with integrated cloud services, including Dropbox and Google Drive. These are designed for a wide range of mobile devices and platforms, such as Android tablets and smartphones, iPhone, Kindle Fire, Windows 8 PCs, and just about any device with Wi-Fi connectivity.
A high capacity hard drive intended for cloud-based data centers
The enterprise market now has another option when it comes to high capacity storage solutions. That's because Seagate announced it's now shipping its 6TB "Enterprise Capacity v4" HDD, which the company claims is the fastest 6TB HDD on the planet. This particular model isn't likely to find its way into consumer homes, as Seagate is targeting enterprise customers who need super sized storage solutions, particularly in data centers that drive cloud services.
Industry's first enterprise-class NAS to use helium-filled HDDs
We imagine Buffalo's TeraStation 7120r enterprise-class NAS box talks to end users in a funny high-pitched voice as they walk around holding the thing on a string like a balloon. None of that is true, of course, though it is the first NAS box of its kind to come with a belly stuffed full of 6TB HGST Ultrastar helium-filled hard drives, up to 72TB total capacity (TS-2RZH72T12).
If it weren't for pesky budgets and a little thing called fiscal responsibility, most businesses would opt for super fast and capacious solid state drives, but in the interest of balance sheets, hard drives are still vogue. There's also room for continued improvement and innovation in the HDD space, which Toshiba tackled with its new enterprise-grade AL13SXB and AL13SXQ HDDs.