The Hard Drive 'Arms Race'

The hard drive storage ‘arms race’ is heating up. Seagate have announced their second generation of helium-filled drives, aimed at capacity-demanding businesses, with a whopping 12TB of storage.

In 2016, Seagate have unveiled the world’s first 10TB hard disk drive for home users, following the release of the first 10TB enterprise drive in 2015. This is an unprecedented level of storage and was designed to compete with the rapid increase in SSDs. Traditional magnetic hard disk drives (HDDs) a rapidly losing ground to solid state drives (SSDs), and as technology improves, the cost goes down. But HDDs are still better value in terms of cost per bit of data, which is attractive to many businesses and home user. Plus, in the event of a data loss incident, hard drive data recovery is comparitively easy compared to retrieving data from SSDs.

Now, Seagate have announced their second generation helium-filled hard drives, with 12TB of storage. This new drive consumes much less power thanks to its helium-filled interior as opposed to air, which keeps running costs down. Utilising eight platters, customers should be able to store 20% more data per rack than the previous model.

The Enterprise Capacity v7 3.5-inch 12 TB HDD has eight perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) platters, with each one having a capacity of 1.5TB. The drive’s 16 heads rotate at 7200 RPM, allowing a transfer rate of up to 261 MB/s, slightly higher than the previous generation. The random write performance is also a little higher at 400 IOPS, although this is still way below that of even entry-level SSDs.

But Seagate aren’t stopping there – the hard drive giant is planning to release a 16TB hard drive in 2018. This isn’t a clunky, multi-drive unit, it’s a standard-issue 3.5 inch SATA drive, no bigger than existing HDDs. This hard disk drive will also be helium-filled, keeping in line with the trend Seagate have set. 

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