100TB 3.5″ Hard Drives by 2025?

Interesting look by Tom Coughlin of Coughlin Associates on the future of magnetic media. The Advanced Storage Technology Consortium recently released an updated roadmap that estimates areal density on hard drives will increase roughly 10-fold by 2025 — if that actually happens, that would allow for 100TB hard drives in 2025.

Seagate and other manufacturers have already announced plans for 10TB hard drives in 2015 with plans for 20-30TB hard drives by 2020.

To go to 100TB, however, will require deploying new technologies like Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording “in which a small laser is used to heat the part of the disk that is being written to.”

Faster, please.

HGST Ships 6TB Hard Drive

Nice to see that Western Digital-owned HGST is shipping a 6TB hard drive that uses helium to assist in cramming 6.5TB into a 3.5″ form factor.

According to an HGST press release,

Leveraging the inherent benefits of helium, which is one-seventh the density of air, the new Ultrastar He6 drive features HGST’s innovative 7Stac™ disk design with 6TB, making it the world’s highest capacity HDD with the best TCO for cloud storage, massive scale-out environments, disk-to-disk backup, and replicated or RAID environments.

“With ever-increasing pressures on corporate and cloud data centers to improve storage efficiencies and reduce costs, HGST is at the forefront delivering a revolutionary new solution that significantly improves data center TCO on virtually every level – capacity, power, cooling and storage density – all in the same 3.5-inch form factor,” said Brendan Collins, vice president of product marketing, HGST. “Not only is our new Ultrastar helium hard drive helping customers solve data center challenges today, our mainstream helium platform will serve as the future building block for new products and technologies moving forward. This is a huge feat, and we are gratified by the support of our customers in the development of this platform.”

What’s really wild is HGST’s suggestion that since they are sealed to keep the helium from leaking out, that this could lead to some clever liquid cooling options (emphasis added),

One solution, which has been explored by many, is liquid cooling. Liquid, which is denser than air, can remove heat more efficiently and maintain a more constant operating temperature. However, traditional drives cannot be submerged as they are open to the atmosphere and would allow the cooling liquid inside, damaging or destroying the HDD. HGST’s HelioSeal platform provides the only cost-effective solution for liquid cooling as the drives are hermetically sealed and enable operation in most any non-conductive liquid. Today, HGST is working with leading innovators in this space such as Huawei and Green Revolution Cooling.


Plugable USB 3.0 Lay-Flat Hard Drive Docking Station

Plugable Lay Flat Hard Drive DockAfter a couple months with a USB 3.0-enabled laptop, my USB 2.0 hard drive docking station just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Looking at reviews on Amazon, though, it seemed that there were a lot of issues with USB 3.0 docks — in part it seems that the USB 3.0 chipset market isn’t nearly as mature and stable as the USB 2.0 chipsets, which isn’t too surprising.

Then I ran across reviews for Plugable’s USB 3.0 Lay-Flat Hard Drive Docking Station. Reviewers reported no disconnect issues, which plague some docks, and consistently fast transfer speeds. At $29.95 on Amazon, it is also one of the cheapest USB 3.0 docking stations.

I bought one back in February, and after two months of solid use, this is awesome. I’ve been using Thermaltake vertical docks for years, but the Lay-Flat design of the Plugable just makes it so much easier to insert and remove hard drives (at the expense, of course, of taking up more space).

I was worried about potential-heat related issues since the entire underside of the hard drive is in contact with the dock. After doing several large 3-terabyte copy jobs that took 9+ hours to complete, however, I haven’t seen any issues at all (if anything, the hard drives are cooler to the touch after such long operations in the Plugable dock than they are when I do the same sort of intensive job with the Thermaltake).

5 TB Hard Drives Finally on Their Way in 2013?

Interesting speculation at Tom’s Hardware based on an alleged document leak that Western Digital plans to release a 5 terabyte hard drive by the end of 2013.

If it hadn’t been for the Thailand floods of 2011, a 5TB hard drive would have probably already made it to market. The flooding wiped out a significant portion of hard drive manufacturing plants which led to a decline in the number of hard drives shipped worldwide and a sharp rise in hard drive costs.

Western Digital only recently got around to releasing a consumer level 4TB hard drive, so a 5TB by the end of the year would be most welcome.

Silicon Forensics Hard Drive Shipping Case

I really like Silicon Fornesics’ hard drive transporter for 3.5″ hard drives, but I’ve got 10-12 hard drives stuck in a locking drawer, and the bulk from 10 or 12 of the hard drive transporters would be a bit much. Enter Silicon Forensics’ Hard Drive Shipping Case:

Silicon Forensics Hard Drive Shipping Case

Holds 12 hard drives in a foam padded case suitable for shipping, if you wanted to — though I just want a nice storage solution for a bunch of loose drives.

This thing goes for $129.99 and weighs 8 lbs. I can’t wait to get one.