HGST Aims Multi-Petabyte Rack Solutions At Object Storage Archiving

HGST, best-known for its production of hard drives and SSDs, on Wednesday entered the object storage system market with the introduction of its Active Archive System.

The new HGST Active Archive System, which will be publicly exhibited at next week's National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas, is a platform for archiving up to 4.7 petabytes of data in a single rack.

The HGST Active Archive System, which claims to offer the highest storage system density in the industry, is targeted at public, private and hybrid cloud developers looking for a lower-cost alternative to working with public cloud storage providers, according to Dave Tang, senior vice president and general manager of the San Jose, Calif.-based company's Elastic Storage Platforms Group.

[Related: Hybrid Flash Arrays: 13 Vendors Pushing Capacity, Performance Boundaries]

Sponsored post

The solution scales to 4.7 petabytes in a single rack with a list price of $849,000, or under $200 per raw terabyte, Tang told CRN.

HGST is taking a unique approach to the archiving market, said Chris Saso, executive vice president of technology at Dasher Technologies, a Campbell, Calif.-based solution provider and HGST channel partner.

"We like the density of the solution," Saso told CRN. "4.7 petabytes of raw capacity in a rack. And it uses only the power that normally runs a blade server solution with three to six blades. We've never seen something like this before."

While a variety of other storage vendors offer archiving for object storage, none offers the support that HGST does with the Active Archive System, including for Amazon Web Service's S3 APIs, Saso said.

"It stores object storage at a lower price point than AWS," he said. "But there's no bandwidth issues moving data like there would be when using the cloud. We plugged the numbers in a spreadsheet and saw the [total cost of ownership] return over three years as lower than AWS. We think that's pretty compelling for our customers."

The relatively low cost and the high density spring in large part from HGST's development of its own line of hard drives, including its new 10-TB helium-filled drives. The use of helium instead of oxygen allows higher-density storage while significantly reducing power consumption, as helium allows the disks inside the drive to spin faster than if they were spinning in oxygen, HGST said.

Tang said OEM storage vendors who purchase HGST's hard drives and SSDs should not fear the vendor is competing with its customers.

"At the surface, the Active Archive System may look similar to products in our partners' portfolios," Tang said. "But we're focused on low-cost, highly scalable storage data beyond its create and active phase. Our partners are more focused on traditional data center environments where transactional processing and high performance are important."

HGST is actually in talks with several of its OEM partners to resell the Active Archive System through their channels, Tang said. "We have some agreements in place, but we can't say with who yet," he said.

HGST, which in 2011 was acquired by Western Digital, first started on the path toward becoming a storage system developer about a year and a half ago with a string of 2013 Western Digital investments in hardware and software developers, Tang said.

These include the acquisition of Virident, a developer of solid-state storage and caching hardware and software; the acquisition of sTec, a developer of SSD hardware and software; and the acquisition of Velobit, which developed software for using flash storage in virtualized desktop environments.

Most important was Western Digital's acquisition early this year of Amplidata, a developer of object storage software for public and private cloud data centers. Tang said Amplidata gives the HGST Active Archive System three key technologies for cloud storage: BitSpeed erasure coding, GeoSpeed site-to-site data center resiliency and Bit Dynamics for validating data integrity.

While HGST has a direct relationship with potential cloud-services-provider customers who also purchase the company's drives, the sales focus of the HGST Active Archive System will be on the channel via solution providers and OEMs, Tang said. Distributors that currently sell HGST drives -- including Synnex, Arrow, Avnet and Ingram Micro -- will also distribute the new archiving solution, he said.