With hard drive manufacturers fighting to gain any advantage in the ever competitive HDD market, Seagate CEO Steve Luczo revealed last week that 8TB prototype HDDs have been delivered to key enterprise customers for testing.
'We have also delivered 8TB customer development units to major customers and cloud service providers, and the initial customer feedback has been very positive," Luczo said. "While it’s still early in the development of our Kinetic object-based storage platform, we are in deep technical discussions with a very broad base of enterprise customers. We believe our focus on developing key values for object-based storage will make the Kinetic platform a differentiated offering in the cloud storage marketplace."
The highest capacity we have previously seen is HGST's 6TB Ultrastar He6 helium-filled HDDs; a year ago the company said it had shipped 7TB drives for testing also but we haven't seen those being sold. What everyone wants to know is what technology Seagate is using to build the 8TB HDD, along with pricing and availability, but Luczo did not provide those details.
The only thing we can assume is that it will be a while before an 8TB HDD will be available to consumers.
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But the fact of the matter is that this is a dead technology. In the enterprise sector the pricing for high quality HDDs is not that much different from SSDs anymore. SSDs also provide ridiculous amounts of speed, more graceful/predictable failures, much less heat output, much less power usage, and typically a much smaller form factor for a relatively small increase in price. Plus SSDs are starting to ship with insane 10 year warranties... I don't think we will be seeing HDDs with those kinds of claims any time soon.
As cool as this tech is, it is bound to be one of the last new products that they make. Even Seagate is jumping into the SSD market these days, so it should not be too long now before we see them start replacing their own enterprise equipment with SSD based solutions.
all the same, I really wonder what kind of tech they are using for these. Even at a 1.2TB/platter density it would need some 7 platters to hit 8TB, and I am not sure you can cram that many layers in a standard HDD form factor.
The only HDDs SSDs might kill any time soon are those overpriced 10-15k RPM monstrosities.
As far as reliability goes, if your data is really important, you should be using RAID6 or some other forms of logical and physical redundancy regardless of whether you choose to use HDDs or SSDs anyway.
Product cycles and progress are not going to get any faster any time soon if ever; all signs point towards things slowing down even further unless there are some major breakthroughs in technology, processes and materials.
Plus there is the whole access issue. Who is going to buy an 8TB HDD and only want ~150-200MB/s access to it? On a sequential read you are talking about almost 12 hours, and with non-sequential loads you are talking about ridiculous amounts of time to access data. It becomes more and more like drinking the ocean through a straw. It is still OK for things like 4K video storage, but once you start adding multiple users who demand this kind of storage then you very quickly find that it is just not enough on the throughput end of things, no matter how much storage there may be on the drive.
If you need to serve a subset of that data on a more regular basis to a wider audience, that's what tiered storage systems and caches are for... pull something from the archive at 500MB/s, replicate it across content caches and serve it out at several GB/s aggregate bandwidth. A single SSD would not be able to handle this alone either.
The other big supposed use for these kinds of drive is surveillance so that you can store several months, or even a year of video on a drive. But this is Seagate, King of the 2 year warranty. Are we really going to see 2 year drives being thrown into appliance settings that may have lifespans of 5-10 years? How out of balance is that?
About the only use for these things is cold storage where you have a massive collection of movies that you don't watch all that often, but don't want to get rid of. And even there I would like to think I have a decent movie collection (granted I am not a big movie buff) and can easily fit all of my movies in ~1.3TB of space at native quality. I suppose I would need more space if more of my collection was in bluray, but even if it was we would be talking about ~2-3TB of storage... not 8TB.
I guess I am just confused as to who actually buys these things in enough bulk where it could be cheap enough to sell as a consumer drive, which is why I assumed it would be more expensive.