It's been a long time since we measured hard drive storage in megabytes, let alone gigabytes. This is the terabyte era, and though it's been overshadowed a bit by the cloud, hard drive makers are still pushing ahead with increasing capacities. Forget about that 4TB or even 6TB HDD that seemed massive just a short while ago -- Western Digital's HGST subsidiary announced the world's first 10TB HDD!
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).
Helium filled hard drives will find homes in cloud data centers
HGST just made every home consumer a little bit jealous today by announcing that it's now shipping the 6TB Ultrastar He6 hard drive to massive scale-out data center environments. For the time being, you can't head over to your favorite online vendor or local electronics store and pick up a 6TB drive with helium inside, but perhaps this technology -- and the resulting capacities -- will trickle into home user territory. In the meantime, these drives will end up being utilized by companies like HP, Netflix, Huawei Unified Storage, CERN, Green Revolution Cooling, and Code42, all of which are working with Western Digital's subsidiary to qualify the drive.
As long as hard drive makers keep making technological advances, these mechanical devices will maintain a capacious advantage over their solid state brethren. Wondering what the next thing in HDD design is going to be? Try helium. Turns out that helium is useful for more than making funny sounding voices and filling up balloons -- it's also the key to building bigger capacity HDDs (and no, they don't float).