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).
We keep waiting for the day when solid state drives (SSDs) supplant mechanical hard disk drives (HDDs), and even though prices for NAND flash memory storage has dropped significantly in the past year or so, HDDS still offer more storage space for the dollar. Combined with notebook makers offering lower cost models, the demand for HDDs just keeps growing, and that's just fine by HGST.
A winning package of low price and high performance
The Crucial M500 is the company’s third-generation 6Gb/s SSD, and the successor to the often-praised M4 SSD, which we named the “Best Bang for your Buck” SSD back in December 2012 due to its well-rounded package of decent performance at a great price. In our estimation, the new drive follows suit, though with much-improved write speeds and massively increased capacities at lower prices, thanks to its move to smaller-process NAND flash. Not only does it come in the standard 120GB, 240GB, and the 480GB version you see before you, but it’s also offered in a pants-tightening 1TB version at just $600, making it the only truly affordable 1TB SSD ever offered. Since the terabyte drive was not available at press time, we’re taking a look at the 480GB version, which sports the exact same specs as its big brother.
Note: This review was originally featured in the July 2013 issue of the magazine.
Toshiba on Thursday announced its new Q Series Pro line of high-performance solid state drives. These 2.5-inch drives adhere to the 7mm form factor, which means they're slim enough to fit into an Ultrabook, a point of emphasis for Toshiba. Judging by the graphs on Toshiba's website, the Q Series Pro drives feature sequential read performance of around 550MB/s and sequential write performance in the neighborhood of 500MB/s.
What do fast cars and fast storage have in common? We're not sure, but let's not bemoan the pairing of LaCie and Porsche Design, a German design studio founded by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, grandson of the Porsche founder and designer of the Porsche 911. These two firms decided to collaborate on a USB thumb drive and what they came up with is a slim, sleek, and secure stick that's made of steel.
HGST, a subsidiary of Western Digital, today announced it has begun shipping its new Endurastar J4K320 family of single platter hard drives specifically designed for automotive infotainment and telematics markets. The J4K320 line represents HGST's sixth generation of automotive HDDs and offers the highest capacity for such drives at 320GB. These drives are also built to handle extreme and varying temperatures and altitudes, HGST says.
Google is determined to win the cloud wars, and to prove it, the company announced that its document editing software QuickOffice is now free for both Android and iOS platforms. Prior to Google's pro bono change of heart, this was a $20 program, which is popular for its ability to let you edit Microsoft Office documents on your smartphone or tablet. Not only is it now free, but Google is giving away online storage, too.
Flash storage is sexy right now, so it's really not all that surprising that Western Digital went and scooped up Virident Systems, a provider of server-side flash storage solutions, for $685 million in cash. Virident will be integrated into HGST, a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Digital, the two companies announced today. In doing so, HGST becomes a player in enterprise solid state drives (SSDs), a market that's predicted to be worth $7 billion by 2017, according to International Data Corporation (IDC).
SMR is key to Seagate's plans to ship 20TB hard drives in 2020.
Seagate on Monday announced it has shipped over 1 million hard disk drives (HDDs) using shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technology. According to Seagate, SMR technology will play a critical role in developing hard drives of ever-increasing capacity with improved areal density, which is the amount of data that can be stored on a single disk, and is the first step to reaching a 20TB HDD within the next 7 years.