Western Digital could topple as the king of enterprise disc shipments Seagate thanks to its helium drives, according to analysts IHS. The technology has been produced by WD’s subsidiary Hitachi GST.
Read / write heads and spinning magnetic platters in hard-drives full of helium encounter less drag instead those in devices comprising clean air, and thus consume up to 23 per cent less energy according to Hitachi GST.
Also, as much as seven platters could be set inside such a drive instead of the maximum of five seen today.
A 4TB five-platter drive would turn into a 5.6TB drive utilizing the same 800GB/platter areal density technology. Therefore Hitachi GST can optimize helium drives for low power consumption and high capacity or a combination of the two – and give Seagate a right shoeing.
IHS storage systems believe helium hard drives could propel Western Digital to the top business drive spot, dethroning Seagate along the way.
Helium filled drives could raise drive capacity before data storage systems – including heat
assisted magnetic recording – reach the market. Their projections show the marketplace for helium drives will mount from virtually zero in 2012 to over one hundred million units in 2016, especially in case that the high prices of production are brought down.
But will the prices come down? And also the IHS speculation assumes the seven-platter helium filled monsters still fit in conventional 3.5-inch drive bays.
One answer would be to add flash to the enterprise drives and turn them into go faster hybrids. Hitachi GST could do the same, and we’d have helium gas-filled hybrids. As these technologies permutation are played out it’s going to be an interesting few years.