Hitachi GST Specs New 3-TB SATA Drives With 2 Million Hours MTBF

Hitachi GST would normally unveil a new capacity point for its enterprise-class Ultrastar hard drives, said Brendon Collins, vice president of product marketing for the San Jose, Calif.-based storage vendor. "But the big news is the increased reliability," Collins said.

Actually, the news is not so much about increased reliability as it is Hitachi GST's confidence in upping the MTBF rating of the drives to 2 million hours, Collins said.

"For the last 10 years, SATA drives have been spec'd at 1.2 million hours meantime between failure," he said. "But we have the number one reliability rating in the industry. . . . We've been running the drives for 3 million hours in the field. So we feel we can safely raise the (MTBF) bar to 2 million hours."

Hitachi GST uses a five-platter design in its SATA hard drives, compared to the typical design from competitors using four platters and a higher areal density, Collins said. That, he said, makes the design of the company's high-capacity SATA drives closer to that of its high-performance drives, but it does increase costs.

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"High-performance drives usually have a 2-million-hour meantime between failure," he said. "So now our high-capacity drives are spec'd the same as our high-performance enterprise drives."

The new Ultrastar 7K3000 drives are 3.5-inch SATA drives featuring 7,200-rpm speed and 6-Gb-per-second SATA and SAS speed. The 3-TB SATA version is currently available through distribution, while several OEMs are qualifying it for their storage appliances, Collins said. A 3-TB SAS version is slated to be available in mid-year, he said.

The new high-capacity SATA drives, when combined high-performance SSDs, can form the basis for a cloud storage offering, Collins said.

"We announced our enterprise SSDs a few weeks ago," he said. "If you combine our enterprise-class SSDs with these new high-capacity drives, you have a pretty compelling storage for the cloud."

With hard drive capacity increasing by 50 percent every 18 months to 24 months, Collins said 4-TB versions and 6-TB versions are coming.

Such large capacity drives used to cause concerns about the amount of time it took to rebuild data in a RAID system should a drive fail, but that is no longer a concern, Collins said.

"Storage architects said they are doing a lot to protect data," he said. "Many in the Web space say they are not using RAID, and instead are using replication. Other companies use a variety of technologies to eliminate this issue. And, if you take a hard drive, spec it at 2 million hours between failure, have it perform for 3 million hours in the field, it will have a greater reliability."