New Flash based products coming to a server near you

Subject: General Tech | April 4, 2013 - 10:40 AM |
Tagged: memristor, non-volitle RAM, mlc, PCIe SSD, hitachi, hp, dell

The Register assembled a brief look at the near future of flash storage products from HP, Hitachi, Dell and NetApp.  HP expects to be shipping memristor based storage devices by the end of the year as well as photonic inter-node backplanes which will offer much faster transfer than copper based solutions.  Hitachi Data Systems believes they have made a breakthrough in MLC flash and controller technology which will not only extend the usable life of the memory but they expect price parity with high end SAS HDDs by the end of 2015.  Check out those stories as well as Dell's server plans and NetApp's new OS right here.

rcjMemristor.jpg

"In every minute;

  • More than 600 videos are uploaded to YouTube
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Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Hitachi does external USB 3.0 drives well

Subject: Storage | December 3, 2012 - 02:14 PM |
Tagged: usb 3.0, Touro Mobile Pro, hitachi, external drive

If you spot the Hitachi GST Touro Mobile Pro USB 3.0 external HDD for a reasonable price you really should consider picking it up.  Just looking at the speed charts on NikkTech shows you that this USB 3.0 drive can keep up with eSATA drives and other USB 3.0 drives.  At 80 x 126 x 15mm and weighing 155g it is extremely portable, though the cable only being 1' long is a pity.  If you are in the market for large portable storage that is quick enough your copying doesn't take all night this is worth checking out.

NT_touro_mobile_prob.jpg

"Only 25 or so days before we go dark for our much anticipated Christmas vacations (which shouldn't last more than 10 days in total) and so we decided to mainly focus on reviews requested by some of you during the last 2 months. Needless to say we are already testing quite a few gaming peripherals for the past 2 weeks so there isn't really much time for anything else that requires time and effort to test, however since the primary concern of most of you have been 2.5" portable hard disk drives (much easier/faster to test) we gathered quite a few of the latest USB 3.0 models here to see which delivers the most bang for your buck. The first of those portable USB 3.0 HDDs is no other than the latest Touro Mobile Pro 500GB by HGST."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: NikkTech

The media might last a million years, what about the reader?

Subject: General Tech, Storage | September 25, 2012 - 10:19 AM |
Tagged: hitachi, foresight

Hitachi has created a sliver of quartz glass 2cm square and 2mm thick with the storage density of a CD, 40MB/in2 which they claim will remain viable for millions of years.  Even radiation, water, most chemicals and heat above 1000C will not damage the data stored on this chip and in theory dropping it shouldn't hurt it too much either.  Long term storage is a real problem, in some cases paper documents have a better chance of surviving long term in a readable state than do optical or magnetic media.  That doesn't even bring readers into the loop, there are many obsolete formats which cannot be read by current readers and finding an old working Zip drive is not an easy task.  Hitachi told The Register that they foresee no problems increasing storage density which is good considering the size of crystal you would need for large sized storage.  As long as someone can read the binary etched into the glass they would recognize that there was data stored there, on the other hand what is the likelihood they would be running a compatible file system.  At least the data will still be there which is more than you can say for the vast majority of storage media used today.

ElReg_hitachi_glass_storage.jpg

"Company researchers displayed the storage unit, consisting of a sliver of glass 2cm square and 2mm thick, which can hold 40MB of data per square inch, about the same as a standard CD. The data is written in binary format by lasering dots on the glass in four layers, but the researchers say adding more layers to increase storage density isn't a problem."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

HGST Working With Helium To Inflate Hard Drive Capacities

Subject: Storage | September 19, 2012 - 08:27 AM |
Tagged: western digital, WD, patter density, hitachi, hgst, helium, Hard Drive, 6tb

Western Digital-owned Hitachi Global Storage (HGST) recently announced that it is pursuing the mass production of helium-filled hard drives. The culmination of six-plus years of research and development, Hitachi’s engineers have come up with a workable solution to craft a sealed enclosure to contain the helium and internal drive hardware over the long term and in a way that can be mass produced. While the company is not ready to talk specifics or announce individual products, HGST (Western Digital) is going on record in stating that its helium-filled “hard drive platform” will offer up performance, power efficiency, and capacity improvements in a 3.5" form factor (with up to seven platters) sometime in 2013.

helium hard drives.jpg

Don't try this at home folks, it won't actually work :).

The current crop of hard drives have small holes on the top to allow air pressure equalization, as the drives are not a fully-sealed design (and is why dunking them in oil is a bad idea). The proposed helium-filled hard drives would change that design, by being fully sealed from the outside environment after being filled with the noble gas. Steve Campbell, CTO at HGST stated the following in the company's press release:

 “The benefits of operating a HDD with helium fill have been known for a long time. The breakthrough is in the product and process design, which seals the helium inside the HDD enclosure cost effectively in high-volume manufacturing,”

But why exactly is helium better for hard drives? In short, the gas is one-seventh (1/7) as dense as the air around us. This reduction in density allows for the platters to spin faster, or at the same spindle speeds at today's drives while experiencing less resistance and turbulance from versus an air-filled hard drive. Thanks to the reduced drag force, Hitachi can pack the platters closer together, which means that it can place more platters into the 3.5" hard drive form factor than ever before – up to seven with the current design. Further, the motor does not have to work as hard to drive the platters which results in quieter operation and more power savings. HGST also claims that using helium allows for better thermal conductivity, and allows the helium-filled hard drives to run up to 4°C cooler than an equivalently-configured air-equalized drive. Granted, 4°C is not that much of an improvement when looking at a single drive (or even a few in a desktop system), but it can add up to some decent cooling savings when these drives are utilized in datacenters.

Hitachi Global Storage does not yet have any specific products to announce publicly, but the company did offer up a few performance numbers that certainly seem promising – an in line with the company's goal of reducing the "total cost of ownership," or TCO. In addition tot he temperature improvements, the company claims up to 23% power reduction versus air. And when HGST factors in its seven-platter design, they have managed to bring the Watts-per-Terabyte (W/TB) 45% versus current drives. Assuming the helium-aided hard drives use the same (or more) amount of platter area as the company's previous drives, Hitachi/Western Digital could offer up to 7TB hard drives when combined with the company's 1TB per platter areal density improvements.

It has the potential to get even better, however. Should the engineers be able to integrate Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) – similar to what Seagate is pursuing – helium hard drives could offer up approximately 85TB 3.5" drives thanks to the additional two platters. Previously, Seagate envisioned up to 60TB HAMR hard drives in the 3.5" form factor. Those numbers are fairly far off in the future (and theoretical), however. On the other hand, Seagate believes that 6TB HAMR hard drives are reasonably close to public consumption, and if a HAMR drive could also benefit from the extra platters, potential spindle speed improvements, and power savings of using helium, I think 8TB+ is not out of the question while using less power than a traditional air-equalized (not sealed) 6TB HAMR-equipped hard drive.

Extremetech does bring up an interestng point about pricing, though. Mainly that helium is much more expensive than simply using the air around us! And as it is used up, it will only get more expensive, which are likely costs that will be passed onto consumers. Fortunately, it should not be too much of a premium that customers would have to pay (over a traditional hard drive) because a 3.5" hard drive will need only a small amount of the helium gas to realize the benefits, according to PC Perspective's resident storage guru Allyn Malventano.

What do you think about the prospects of a heluim-filled hard drive? Will we see such devices within our lifetimes, and just how much will these things cost? I suppose we'll have to wait until next year to find out!

Source: HGST

OCZ isn't the only one with a new drive today, Hitachi now offers a 4TB Ultrastar

Subject: General Tech | April 4, 2012 - 10:07 AM |
Tagged: ultrastar, sata 6Gbs, hitachi, 7K4000, 4TB

There aren't any benchmarks yet to see what the new Hitachi Ultrastar 7K4000 4TB HDD but with the similarities to the 3TB model some assumptions can be made.  The 7200RPM drive contains five 800GB platters and a 466Gbits/in2 areal density with a 64MB cache and a rated sequential transfer rate of up to 171MB/sec.  They also managed to increase the energy efficiency of the drive somewhat, using 24% less watts per GB while offering 33% more storage.  The Register reported on both this drive as well as the 4TB Thunderbolt edition which was recently released.

hgst_7k4000.jpg

"Hitachi GST has laid a nice Easter egg: a 4TB enterprise disk drive and a first at this capacity level. It's HGST's second 4TB product.

This 3.5-inch drive technology first surfaced in September when Hitachi GST launched its 4TB G-Drive external Thunderbolt product. Now it has updated its Ultrastar line, jumping from the 3TB 7K3000 to this 7K4000 product."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

The SSD market gets passed a TRIM command

Subject: General Tech, Storage | March 7, 2012 - 10:39 AM |
Tagged: western digital, ssd, hitachi, flash, EMC

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, which was the result of the merger of Hitachi and IBM's HDD businesses, is likely being purchased by Western Digital tomorrow for about $4.3 billion.  This makes sense as WD has been using Hitachi GST as a sales partner when providing  EMC with high end flash disks.  This deal comes on the heels of a major sell, the SSD400S flash disk which uses Intel's 34nm SLC NAND and the SSD400S-B which utilizes the new 25nm NAND developed by Intel.  Check out the specifications of the flash drives as well as the new SSD company over at The Register.

intel-nand.jpg

"WD is buying Hitachi GST and the acquisition is expected to be formally announced tomorrow with a condition of two years of independence for Hitachi GST - imposed by a Chinese anti-competition regulator. EMC has certified Hitachi GST's SSD400S flash disks for use in its VNX mid-range unified storage arrays, including the all-flash VNX5500-F, so WD will effectively fulfil this deal once the acquisition is announced."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

HDD Warranties Slashed By More Than Half - But Why?

Subject: Storage | December 30, 2011 - 06:45 AM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, Warranty, Seagate, hitachi, hdd

It's been a few short months since Thailand saw some serious flood damage. The flooding had a huge impact on everything from Automobile production to the making of fiber optic cables. The largest impact to the computer industry was that of storage devices. While flash memory fabs were spared, makers of HDD components were hit hard.

Hitachi.jpg

Hitachi plant in Thailand, partially submerged.

This effect quickly trickled down to the HDD quickly spiking prices by nearly 200% by Halloween. Inventories remained at critically low levels for a 60-day window - long enough to have far reaching impact on the PC industry as a whole. With a key component missing from PC production chains, the effects caused dips in demand from the PC suppliers, eventually trickling back up the chain to other component makers. Intel was forced to scale back their chip production. The industry finally saw a reprieve just a few weeks ago, as HDD production recovered sufficiently as to begin the slow replenishment process, and it started to look like everything would be ok.

...and then the other shoe dropped.

Right as HDD Suppliers started catching up on supply, Western Digital made a surprising announcement. Starting on January 2nd of next year, most of their drive lines will see a drastic reduction to warranty periods. Caviar Blue, Caviar Green, and Scorpio Blue drives see a 50% drop from 3 to 2 years. Seagate quickly jumped on the bandwagon, cutting the 5-year warranties of several of their lines down to three. Even worse, the Baracuda, Baracuda Green, and Momentus (laptop) drives will be cut from five all the way down to 1-year warranties. Seagate's reductions go into effect December 31, 2011.

momentus-5.jpg

The Momentus XT, while technically a Hybrid SSD/HDD, was not spared in the warranty cuts.

This isn't the first time warranties saw an across-the-board cut in duration. Back in 2002, Western Digital and Seagate (as well as Maxtor - since acquired by Seagate), jointly cut their warranties back to just one year. The reasoning back then was claimed to be strictly business, and that it was done to be in-line with the 1-year warranty provided by PC OEM's, but was that the only reason? We would need a bunch of data on HDD failure rates to know for sure...

Continue reading our post about the lowered HDD warranties for more thoughts and analysis!!

Source: The Register

Hard Drive Prices Spike on Thailand Flooding

Subject: General Tech, Storage | October 27, 2011 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: wdc, shortage, Seagate, Samsung, hitachi, hdd, Hard Drive

Chances are good you have heard about the recent flooding in Thailand - as Yahoo puts it: "The country's worst flooding in half a century, caused in part by unusually heavy monsoon rain, has killed 373 people since mid-July and disrupted the lives of nearly 2.5 million."  Obviously this is a horrific disaster and we feel for the people affected by it.

But there is a tech angle to the story that has been showing up in many of our discussions as late and is the impact this disaster has had on the production of spindle-based hard drives.  Looking for a 2TB hard drive today on Newegg.com this is what I found:

price01.png

Prices for hard drives have sky rocketed in the last week or so due to the pending shortage of them across the world.  Many of the top manufacturers have facilities based in Thailand for production as well as partners that are responsible for supplying companies like Western Digital, Seagate, Samsung and Hitachi with the parts they need to produce platter-based drives. 

While we used to talk about finding 2TB hard drives in the $89 price range, the best prices we could find on comparable units today start at $129; and this is for the slower units.  Western Digital Caviar Black drives are starting at unit prices of $229 now!

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Pricing graph from Pricegrabber.com for Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB

If you are careful and shop around, you can still find drives like this for the $149 price point at sellers like Amazon are bit slower to update their prices.  (Scratch that, after publication this was already at $199!)  But don't just blindly purchase drives at this point - do your research!

WD drives aren't the only ones affected.  When doing a search for a Seagate 2TB drive, these were our results:

price03.png

When asked for comment, a representative of one of the affected manufacturers expressed concern for the people of Thailand first, but when pressed, said:

"The entire hard drive business is affected. Two of our factories are inundated with water, which supports 60% of our output. But a ton of suppliers that the entire industry uses are also flooded so we are all impacted."

While looking over at WD's press center we found this comment from John Coyne, President and CEO:

In mid-October, to protect our employees and our equipment and facilities, we temporarily suspended production at our two factories in Thailand, which have been inundated by floodwater. In addition, many of our component suppliers have been impacted, leaving material for hard drive production considerably constrained. We are working with suppliers to assess the extent of their impact and help devise short- and long-term solutions. This is a complex and dynamic challenge that will require extensive rebuilding for the Thai people and government, and present unprecedented obstacles to the hard drive industry for multiple quarters.

Obviously with a majority of the facilities affected we can only expect these prices hikes to increase and to linger.  That fact that Coyne specifically notes "multiple quarters" indicates that users likely won't see a return to the pricing we were used to until at least mid-2012.  With competition from solid-state drives heating up, this could be bad timing for companies dependent on spindle drives as the driving revenue source: comparing a $300 SSD to a $90 standard drive is a much different decision than that same $300 SSD and a $240 standard drive of high capacity. 

According to this report from Xbit labs, the industry has "two to four weeks" of hard drive inventory available.  The author claims that this points to the situation not being so dire, but with the WD's CEO stating the effects will be seen for "multiple quarters", I am guessing we will see a major buy-up of inventory from system builders like HP and Dell that will cause drive shortages much more quickly than anticipated.  

PC Perspective will keep tracking the effects on driving pricing and if any player in the business has other input they want to offer us.  Stay tuned!

Hitachi Releases 1TB per Platter Deskstar and CinemaStar Hard Drives

Subject: Storage | September 6, 2011 - 07:12 PM |
Tagged: hitachi, hdd, deskstar, cinemastar, 1TB Platter

Hitachi GST (Global Storage Technologies) today announced that the company is beefing up their product line by moving to 1 TB per platter technology. With an aerial density of 569 Gb/in^2 (569 Gigabits per square inch) for desktop drives, both Deskstar and CinemaStar product lines will be infused with the new platter technology and will range in capacities from 250 GB to 1 TB. We are currently awaiting an update as to whether the lower capacity drives are using older technology or fractions of the 1TB per platter drives, so stay tuned for an update. This will be important for the performance of the lower capacity drives because the improved aerial density of the 1TB per platter technology brings a healthy performance boost over the older technology due to the amount of data that is able to be read at a time.

The Deskstar lineup is for consumers and enthusiasts while the CinemaStar drives are low power drives best suited for A/V work in streaming HD video and/or writing HD streams to the disk. Such applications include security cameras, IPTV, and DVRs. The new Deskstar drives are available for purchase now; however, the CinemaStar hard drives will not be available until later this fall.

The Deskstar drives come in two flavors, the higher performance 7200 RPM 7K1000.D and the low power 5K1000.B hard drives that employ Hitachi’s Coolspin technology. Both models feature 32MB of cache, SATA 3 (6 Gb/s) interfaces, and power savings versus their predecessors. The HVERT and 8th generation power management technology has allowed Hitachi to claim 15% idle power savings on the 7K1000.D. On the other hand, the 5K1000.B sees a 23% idle power savings versus its predecessor.

DS7K1000.D_top_HR (1).jpg

The CinemaStar drives also employ 32MB of cache and the SATA 3 (6 Gb/s) interface. Hitachi claims that 90% of demand (for AV oriented hard drives) lies in single disk hard drives between 250 GB and 500 Gigabytes in capacity. Just like the Deskstar variants, the CinemaStar lineup is also broken up into faster 7K1000.D and low power, slower spinning 5K1000.B products.

While Hitachi is moving to 1 TB per platter, they are slated to be acquired by Western Digital in Q4 2011. The company will continue to ship the drives until “their logical end of life.” The important bit; however, is that Hitachi GST product warranties will continue to be honored after the acquisition. Have you used Hitachi drives lately, or have you moved on to the larger manufacturers?

Source: Hitachi GST

Hitachi Releases New Enterprise SSD Based On Intel's 25nm MLC HET NAND

Subject: Storage | August 9, 2011 - 06:10 PM |
Tagged: ssd, mlc, Intel, hitachi, enterprise

Hitachi recently released a new enterprise class SSD based on Intel's 25nm MLC flash.  Dubbed the Hitachi SSD400M, the new solid state drive is aimed at Enterprise users and Cloud data centers.  It comes in the standard 2.5" form factor, features a SAS 6Gb/s interface, and will be available in 200GB and 400GB capacities.

UltraStar_SSD400_4e3972f88e304.jpg

As an enterprise drive, the Hitachi SSD400M supports end to end data protection, error correction, error handling and self encryption on certain models compliant with the Trusted Computing Group’s Enterprise A Security Subsystem Class encryption specification.  Further showing it's intended usage as an Enterprise drive, the 25nm MLC based drive is rated for 7.3 Petabyte lifetime write, which Hitachi says amounts to 10 full drive writes per day for five years.  Coincidentally, the warranty of the drive is a five year limited warranty or until the drive exceeds the maximum rated number of petabyte writes per capacity.  Hitachi states that they expect a .44 annual failure rate and have projected a 2 million hour MTBF.

Performance of the drive is much better than that of the previously reported Intel drive, as it delivers 495MB/s sequential reads and 385MB/s sequential writes.  The SSD is further rated at 56,000 read IOPS and 24,000 write IOPS.

The SSD400M has already shipped to various OEMs and will be available soon.  More information on the new SSD can be found here.

Source: Hitachi