Tom's IT Pro: HGST Ultrastar He8 8TB HDD Review

Join us as we put HGST's 8TB Ultrastar He8 under the Tom's IT Pro microscope. How does it fare against competing high-capacity enterprise HDDs?

Storage vendors are making radical technology advances in an attempt to provide enough storage for the avalanche of data generated every year. The challenge is to store this influx of data economically, and that requires power efficiency and density.

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Unfortunately, low power often equates to low performance. Performance is important because data centers are tasked with getting data out to customers quickly, which doesn't mesh well with low-power requirements. Incoming data is perhaps the most valuable commodity, and performance is also important for rapid ingestion to fuel analytics routines that are capable of deriving actionable real-time data.

HGST's 8TB Ultrastar He8 Enterprise HDD wades into a data center environment that has an insatiable thirst for capacity and an equally passionate desire for efficiency and performance. HGST's capacious 8TB He8 HDD is the second generation of its helium platform, which increases density and lowers power consumption by filling the drive with helium instead of air. HGST's media caching technology is also compelling and provides a surprising boost in random write performance.

The real question is how it fares against competing high-capacity HDDs, so come along as we put the HGST Ultrastar He8 under the Tom's IT Pro microscope.

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  • vaughn2k
    And it's owned by Western Digital, by the way.. :)
  • firefoxx04
    HGST is owned by Western Digital but thats it. HGST still competes with Western Digital. Strange but they act as separate companies. The investors are happy.

    Would love to get my hands on a few of these. HGST has been leading the industry in reliability for the past few years.
  • thundervore
    Personally ive had nothing but bad luck with Seagate and WD drives so I stay far away from them. Which is why all my HDDs are now Toshiba and Samsung before they sold their HDD division to Seagate and Hitachi sol theirs to WD .
  • Rookie_MIB
    Gosh, one of these 8TB drives could replace my 5x2TB drive array. Two of these in mirror would provide redundancy. Still, the price is a little high right now. Would buy if I could.
  • somebodyspecial
    Was going to read the IT article, but:

    Wake me when they're $300. My 4TB external was <$120 recently (seagate backupplus).

    Wake me when you stop using pictures I need to flick through also. I click none of those and hate that crap. Slideshows suck, period. I also don't read if it says "click for more", "click to read more" etc. I digress...You can't login with your tomhardware account on the IT side anymore either...LOL. FAIL again. Ugh. Facebook/Twitter? ROFL (against my religion to have one of those). Give you any others? Why is my tomshardware account not enough?
  • fil333
    There is literally no point in buying just a single one of these drives. How would you feel about losing 8TB of data? You really need to buy more than one to install them into a redundant array to be safe.
  • hannibal
    Well it would be nice to put 6 of these to media server nas :-)
  • HideOut
    Also, the power consumption is backwards for the SAS version, it shows the idle and load swapped.
  • NewJohnny
    Quote:
    There is literally no point in buying just a single one of these drives. How would you feel about losing 8TB of data? You really need to buy more than one to install them into a redundant array to be safe.


    People have been saying this since the 3gb fireball drives came out. It only seems like a lot because it's new. When you're shopping for 20tb drives in the near future, 8tb will seem small.
  • PaulAlcorn
    Quote:
    Well it would be nice to put 6 of these to media server nas :-)
    That would be amazing actually. Put it on the end of a 10 GbE connection....well. 4K for sure :)
  • Deuce65
    Okay, so data wharehouses aren't paying $65.00 and up per terrabyte, and enterprises aren't buying consumer grade SATA drives just because they have an enterprise sticker on them, so that means the market for these things is consumers, which is why we're reading about it here. So this isn't really a review, it's a marketing puff piece.
  • esco_sid
    People that compare these drivers to their consumer backup drives have no idea what they are talking about this is an enterprise class hard drive and that price in Enterprise sectors isn't all that high and in business settings enterprise hdds are held to bigger reliability and performance standards.
  • Deuce65
    Thank you for proving my point. Taking a consumer level drive and putting an enterprise sticker on it does not make it an enterprise drive, which is why it is being advertised on a consumer website instead of directly to ya know, actual enterprises.

    If you ignore the sticker for just a second and look at what is actually INSIDE the drive, which of the following fit it?
    Enterprise drive: SAS
    Consumer drive: SATA
    Enterprise drive: 10k or 15K spindle speed
    Consumer drive: 7200 spindle speed (or lower)
    And most importantly data integrity:
    Enterprise drive: error rate of 1 in 10^16 or better
    Consumer drive: error rate of 1 in 10^15 or worse

    It has the exact same error rating as their other drives; tacking an enterprise sticker on it and charging twice the price doesn't magically change that. It DOES however convince people who don't really know what they're doing to spend much more money then they need to.
  • PaulAlcorn
    Quote:
    ....Taking a consumer level drive and putting an enterprise sticker on it does not make it an enterprise drive, which is why it is being advertised on a consumer website instead of directly to ya know, actual enterprises. If you ignore the sticker for just a second and look at what is actually INSIDE the drive, which of the following fit it? Enterprise drive: SAS Consumer drive: SATA Enterprise drive: 10k or 15K spindle speed Consumer drive: 7200 spindle speed (or lower) And most importantly data integrity: Enterprise drive: error rate of 1 in 10^16 or better Consumer drive: error rate of 1 in 10^15 or worse It has the exact same error rating as their other drives; tacking an enterprise sticker on it and charging twice the price doesn't magically change that. It DOES however convince people who don't really know what they're doing to spend much more money then they need to.


    @Deuce65, This is hardly the case of putting an enterprise sticker on a consumer drive. A bit of basic research easily proves all of your points to be incorrect. Every HDD manufacturer is creating enterprise SATA drives for this exact same target segment, with very similar specifications. The difference lies in the hardware reliability, the MTBF ratings, and the fact that enterprise equipment has RV (Rotational Vibration) sensors (and fw enhancements) to counteract the rigors of datacenter life. The key is power efficiency and bulk storage as the performance workloads are beginning to migrate more to flash. The environment you are describing may have been the case 5-10 years ago, but not today. Frankly, there has always been a distinction between tiers, such as mission-critical and nearline drives, it is just amplified in today's environment.
  • g00ey
    @Lasttwoposts: Some enterprise class drives actually come with 7200 rpm speeds and lower. There are also drives that are NL-SAS or NearLine-SAS (from ServerFault):

    "Nearline or Midline SAS are usually mechanically-equivalent to 7,200 RPM SATA disks, but feature a SAS interface and offer the benefits of the SAS protocol. They are available in higher capacities than enterprise SAS disks. They have a slight price premium over the same sized SATA drives. "

    NL-SAS seems to be a good option as the SAS protocol use better error detection that SATA. I prefer SAS over SATA any day.

    I also don't find 'enterprise class' drives to be that much more expensive. Something to keep in mind is that enterprise class drives commonly come with considerably longer warranties which I think should be weighed into what you pay for it. A warranty that most companies don't claim anyway should the drive fail within that period as most companies find it to be cheaper and easier to replace the drive with a new one.
  • photonboy
    How many people actually read the entire article? In particular with respect to pricing:

    "HDD power consumption often chews up more IT budget over a drive's life than the initial capital expenditure required to procure the device. "

    So as said comparing to a consumer product is pointless. Servers with constant usage look at TOTAL COST over the product lifespan.
  • Deuce65
    67821 said:
    How many people actually read the entire article? In particular with respect to pricing: "HDD power consumption often chews up more IT budget over a drive's life than the initial capital expenditure required to procure the device. " So as said comparing to a consumer product is pointless. Servers with constant usage look at TOTAL COST over the product lifespan.



    The drive is rated for 7.4 watts operating, 5.1 watts idle . I grabbed literally the lowest cost 4TB consumer level drive I could find on new egg, which happened to be a Seagate ST4000DM000. IT is rated for....7.5 watts power consumption operating, 5.0 watts idle. So no, THAT isn't it.
  • Deuce65
    1920539 said:
    Quote:
    ....Taking a consumer level drive and putting an enterprise sticker on it does not make it an enterprise drive, which is why it is being advertised on a consumer website instead of directly to ya know, actual enterprises. If you ignore the sticker for just a second and look at what is actually INSIDE the drive, which of the following fit it? Enterprise drive: SAS Consumer drive: SATA Enterprise drive: 10k or 15K spindle speed Consumer drive: 7200 spindle speed (or lower) And most importantly data integrity: Enterprise drive: error rate of 1 in 10^16 or better Consumer drive: error rate of 1 in 10^15 or worse It has the exact same error rating as their other drives; tacking an enterprise sticker on it and charging twice the price doesn't magically change that. It DOES however convince people who don't really know what they're doing to spend much more money then they need to.
    @Deuce65, This is hardly the case of putting an enterprise sticker on a consumer drive. A bit of basic research easily proves all of your points to be incorrect. Every HDD manufacturer is creating enterprise SATA drives for this exact same target segment, with very similar specifications. The difference lies in the hardware reliability, the MTBF ratings, and the fact that enterprise equipment has RV (Rotational Vibration) sensors (and fw enhancements) to counteract the rigors of datacenter life. The key is power efficiency and bulk storage as the performance workloads are beginning to migrate more to flash. The environment you are describing may have been the case 5-10 years ago, but not today. Frankly, there has always been a distinction between tiers, such as mission-critical and nearline drives, it is just amplified in today's environment.


    The drive has an operational shock rating of 70g. It has a vibration rating of .67 x,y, and z. To compare, take that same cheap seagate consumer drive I mentioned above (literally the cheapest large capacity consumer drive I could find), it has ratings of 80g, and .5 x, y, and z respectively. So THAT isn't it either.
    And as for reliability, we already covered it's unrecoverable read error rate of 1 in 10^15, (probably the most important spec) literally orders of magnitude worse then any real enterprise drive.
    Literally every single specification on this drive is right on par with the typical consumer drives already on sale for half the price\TB. Don't take my word for it, grab a spec sheet for a cheap drive and just go down the list.
    Most telling of all that it was not really designed as an enterprise drive but as a consumer drive is that it has NO end to end error correction at all. None. Really? You're going to tell me that a drive with no error correction at all is going in your data center?
    Now I will agree with you that drive makers are in fact targeting this market segment; HGST's parent company Western Digital has already realized that they can take their consumer drives and stick a red NAS sticker on it and call it enterprise and consumers will pay more money for the exact same drive.

    There is a reason these types of drives are being marketed on consumer websites (first rule of marketing, if you're reading it, it's for you) and not to enterprises. Meanwhile, HGST does make real enterprise drives (something like the C15K600) but at over a dollar per GB, they don't waste time marketing them to consumers. On the other side of the coin, as I mentioned in my first post, data warehouses (who know how to read a spec sheet) aren't paying 65+ per TB when they can get the exact same thing for half the price. But consumers will as long as it has a nice, marketable name.
  • somebodyspecial
    1449509 said:
    67821 said:
    How many people actually read the entire article? In particular with respect to pricing: "HDD power consumption often chews up more IT budget over a drive's life than the initial capital expenditure required to procure the device. " So as said comparing to a consumer product is pointless. Servers with constant usage look at TOTAL COST over the product lifespan.
    The drive is rated for 7.4 watts operating, 5.1 watts idle . I grabbed literally the lowest cost 4TB consumer level drive I could find on new egg, which happened to be a Seagate ST4000DM000. IT is rated for....7.5 watts power consumption operating, 5.0 watts idle. So no, THAT isn't it.


    LOL. But it's got blue crystals and and and fairy dust....As I said, Wake me when this consumer drive drops in price ;) I'll take another few 4TB segates for <$120 to go please sir...A few extra years of warranty is nice, but doesn't do much for the data I'm going to lose anyway. Just I get a shot at a refurb for longer...Who cares. Drop the price in half and maybe I bite, as I do like the helium (less noise, bit cooler probably). I guess I'll just be waiting on these for another year or so as 10+TB hits for all brands and reasonable prices on everything below these bleeds down to us mere mortals at better pricing.
  • PaulAlcorn
    Quote:
    67821 said:
    How many people actually read the entire article? In particular with respect to pricing: "HDD power consumption often chews up more IT budget over a drive's life than the initial capital expenditure required to procure the device. " So as said comparing to a consumer product is pointless. Servers with constant usage look at TOTAL COST over the product lifespan.
    The drive is rated for 7.4 watts operating, 5.1 watts idle . I grabbed literally the lowest cost 4TB consumer level drive I could find on new egg, which happened to be a Seagate ST4000DM000. IT is rated for....7.5 watts power consumption operating, 5.0 watts idle. So no, THAT isn't it.



    Yes that is it. You arent considering the capacity. So...a 4TB draws 7.5 watts, or 1.875 watts per TB. It idles at 5 watts, or you get 1 TB of idle power draw for every 1.25 watts of power spent.

    So...an 8 TB drive that pulls 7.4 watts is TWICE as efficient. .925 watts per TB under operation, and .6375 per TB at idle.
  • PaulAlcorn
    Quote:
    The drive has an operational shock rating of 70g. It has a vibration rating of .67 x,y, and z. To compare, take that same cheap seagate consumer drive I mentioned above (literally the cheapest large capacity consumer drive I could find), it has ratings of 80g, and .5 x, y, and z respectively. So THAT isn't it either. And as for reliability, we already covered it's unrecoverable read error rate of 1 in 10^15, (probably the most important spec) literally orders of magnitude worse then any real enterprise drive. Literally every single specification on this drive is right on par with the typical consumer drives already on sale for half the price\TB. Don't take my word for it, grab a spec sheet for a cheap drive and just go down the list. Most telling of all that it was not really designed as an enterprise drive but as a consumer drive is that it has NO end to end error correction at all. None. Really? You're going to tell me that a drive with no error correction at all is going in your data center? Now I will agree with you that drive makers are in fact targeting this market segment; HGST's parent company Western Digital has already realized that they can take their consumer drives and stick a red NAS sticker on it and call it enterprise and consumers will pay more money for the exact same drive. There is a reason these types of drives are being marketed on consumer websites (first rule of marketing, if you're reading it, it's for you) and not to enterprises. Meanwhile, HGST does make real enterprise drives (something like the C15K600) but at over a dollar per GB, they don't waste time marketing them to consumers. On the other side of the coin, as I mentioned in my first post, data warehouses (who know how to read a spec sheet) aren't paying 65+ per TB when they can get the exact same thing for half the price. But consumers will as long as it has a nice, marketable name.



    Oh. So in this research did you happen to compare the warranty period? 1 year versus 5. This speaks volumes.

    Quote:
    The drive has an operational shock rating of 70g. It has a vibration rating of .67 x,y, and z. To compare, take that same cheap seagate consumer drive I mentioned above (literally the cheapest large capacity consumer drive I could find), it has ratings of 80g, and .5 x, y, and z respectively. So THAT isn't it either.


    Correct. 34% increase in vibration detection and compensation.

    Quote:
    Most telling of all that it was not really designed as an enterprise drive but as a consumer drive is that it has NO end to end error correction at all. None. Really? You're going to tell me that a drive with no error correction at all is going in your data center?


    End-to-end data protection (a.k.a PI or DIF) is different than error correction. The drive does have error correction, just not end-to-end. E2E really isn't needed on a drive that isn't designed for mission-critical duties, data protection is handled at the hardware controller layer (RAID/HBA) or the software layer (object storage/erasure coding).

    Quote:
    Meanwhile, HGST does make real enterprise drives (something like the C15K600) but at over a dollar per GB, they don't waste time marketing them to consumers.


    The C15K600 is also reviewed on the same site as this drive. Tom's IT Pro is a trade publication for IT professionals.

    You keep returning to the "real enterprise drive" refrain. Just like vehicles, there are different drives for every application. You wouldn't purchase a Formula 1 car to move furniture, would you? I would hope not, that is an insane waste of money.

    The drives that you keep referring to as "real enterprise drives" fall into the mission-critical category. These drives have dual-port SAS and a whole suite of very expensive features that you wouldn't use for the same workloads, or storage environments, as you would use an enterprise SATA HDD for. However, they both still have a place in the datacenter, and both are deployed in the millions.

    Apparently you are under the impression that there is only one drive for each and every single type of enterprise workload.
  • bikerepairman1
    I for myself am not very fond of high capacity disks. When the array needs to rebuild, it will take a long time. (I had my 7x 1TB RAID6 array + 1x H.S. rebuild due to a disk failure.)
  • Rookie_MIB
    1990529 said:
    I for myself am not very fond of high capacity disks. When the array needs to rebuild, it will take a long time. (I had my 7x 1TB RAID6 array + 1x H.S. rebuild due to a disk failure.)


    No kidding. I had a 5x2TB array lose a drive (about 1 month after the 3 year warranty went out grumble grumble) and it took about 40 hours to rebuild. Not a big fan of that.
  • bikerepairman1
    1373686 said:
    1990529 said:
    I for myself am not very fond of high capacity disks. When the array needs to rebuild, it will take a long time. (I had my 7x 1TB RAID6 array + 1x H.S. rebuild due to a disk failure.)
    No kidding. I had a 5x2TB array lose a drive (about 1 month after the 3 year warranty went out grumble grumble) and it took about 40 hours to rebuild. Not a big fan of that.


    You got my point. Now imagine you have 5x 8TB in the array. That rebuild would take what, 140-160 hours? That is nearly a week! In a datacenter with, most likely, mission critical data? have fun selling that.