Seagate unveils 8 TB HDD for enterprise

Seagate's new 8 TB HDD launch includes enterprise HDDs with conventional technology and Ethernet-connected HDDs with SMR.

Seagate Technology today unveiled three 8 TB hard disk drives (HDDs) -- two enterprise drives based on conventional technology and an Ethernet-connected Kinetic drive that uses shingled magnetic recording (SMR).

The new Enterprise Capacity 3.5 drives are due in October, and the Enterprise NAS HDDs are expected this month. Both models feature 3.5-inch, 7200-RPM drives that use Seagate's denser new 1.33-TB platters.

"A lot of folks expect any hard drive to reach the higher capacities they need to introduce things like SMR or [heat-assisted magnetic recording] HAMR technology or helium," said Joni Clark, global NAS segment manager at Seagate. "But we were able to get to 1.33 TB per platter using our conventional technology, which is really helpful to our customers.

"They don't have to worry about configuring their hosts differently, using newer drivers in the OS or any application incompatibilities or even enclosure incompatibilities. They can use this drive in their existing infrastructure with no change."

Seagate's new Kinetic 8 TB HDD, which is due in January, is based on SMR technology that writes data in partially overlapping tracks to increase the density and overall capacity. The Kinetic drives target data archiving in scale-out storage environments and have the potential to lower capital and management costs and reduce power consumption.

Seagate said the Kinetic Open Storage technology enables applications to talk directly to storage devices, eliminating the traditional storage server tier and file system, through the use of a key-value interface rather than traditional SAS and SATA.

The Kinetic drive features two Ethernet ports and supports the basic put, get and delete semantics of object storage instead of the read-write constructs of conventional block storage. Clients access the drives through a Kinetic API, which Seagate submitted to the open-source Linux community for development.

In addition to the 8 TB Kinetic drives, Seagate in November plans to make available a 5U 84-bay Kinetic OneStor chassis capable of storing 672 TB per chassis and 5.3 PB per rack.

Enterprise Capacity HDD

Seagate's Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD targets larger enterprise and cloud customers in traditional storage environments. The new 8 TB HDD improves performance, doubles the cache size from 128 MB to 256 MB and adds an on-demand PowerBalance feature to enable users to trade performance for power savings.

Barbara Craig, senior product marketing manager at Seagate, said the company expended considerable effort to improve the algorithm for random write access and increase performance by 100% over the prior-generation HDDs.

A major distinction between Seagate's industrial-strength Enterprise Capacity HDDs and the SMB-focused Enterprise NAS HDDs is the workload rating. The heads and media of the Enterprise Capacity HDDs have a workload rating of 550 TB per year, whereas the Enterprise NAS HDDs are suitable for 300 TB of drive writes per year and carry fewer "bells and whistles."

"Typically a larger enterprise is going to want to be able to alter the performance and the power. A lot of them will need SAS instead of SATA. They'll need self-encryption," Clark said. "The Enterprise NAS [HDDs] are sort of the one-flavor products. We strip out all those bells and whistles so that we can reduce the costs."

The Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD supports 12 Gbps SAS and 6 Gbps SATA interfaces, whereas the Enterprise NAS HDD supports only 6 Gbps SATA and consumes less power than the nearline SAS drives.

Seagate's Enterprise NAS HDD, is designed for mid-range NAS/RAID enclosures and cloud-based storage. Customers have the option to purchase a five-year Rescue Data Recovery option from Seagate to retrieve data in the event of a system crash, natural or man-made disaster or some other calamity. The average street price is approximately $20, if the option is added at the time of the drive purchase, according to Clark.

Kinetic HDDs

Seagate's 8 TB Kinetic HDDs target users with massive amounts of data. CERN is testing the technology with 100 PB-scale storage setups deployed with the Large Hadron Collider. The new 8 TB drive updates the 4 TB Kinetic drive Seagate introduced late last year.

"That (4 TB) drive has really emerged as more than anything a qualification platform as this market has matured," said David Burke, director of product management for Seagate's Kinetic line. "It's a new drive and a new interface … Those things don't happen overnight in this industry, but it's really enabled a lot of development."

Toshiba announced support for the key-value API that Seagate open sourced. Supermicro and Sanmina made available chassis for the Kinetic HDDs on OpenStack Swift. In the October-November timeframe, SwiftStack and Scality plan to support the Kinetic technology, followed by Open vStorage in January.

"We expect to see adoption look dramatically different in 2016 and 2017 than it has up to now," Burke said.

Seagate did not provide pricing for the new 8 TB HDDs. All of the new 8 TB drives carry five-year warranties.

John Rydning, research vice president for HDDs at IDC, said the only 8 TB drives available today do not use conventional HDD technology. He noted that Seagate's SMR-based 8 TB drive has a slow spin speed and focuses on archival use cases, and HGST's helium-based 8 TB HDD is more costly to manufacture.

Rydning said he doesn't know how Seagate plans to price its new 8 TB HDD, but he said, "Presumably it will have a cost advantage over HGST because it's using six instead of seven disks and 12 instead of 14 heads."

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