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Data Storage

Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive 316

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the goes-to-11 dept.
MojoKid (1002251) writes Seagate announced today that it has begun shipping the world's first 8 Terabyte hard drive. The 8TB hard drive comes only five months after Western Digital released the first ever 6TB HDD. Up until then, Seagate's high capacity HDDs had been shipping only to select enterprise clients. The 8TB HDD comes in the 3.5-inch form factor and, according to the manufacturer, features a SATA 6Gbps interface and multi-drive RV tolerance which makes it suitable for data centers. It's unclear what technology the drive is based on, or if PMR (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording) or low-resistance helium technology was employed.
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Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @09:23PM (#47762115)

    They still sell tape drives?

    Yes, tape is very common for backups & archiving. LTO6 is 2.5 TB (uncompressed) per tape and sells for around $40-$50 per tape:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]

    And LTO is far more reliable than a SATA hard disk.

    Must be marketed toward the old geezer crowd or something.

    Or, to those of us who care about our data.

  • by Rich0 (548339) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @09:25PM (#47762143) Homepage

    They still sell tape drives? Must be marketed toward the old geezer crowd or something.

    They're cost effective if you're storing a LOT of data and you don't need to regularly access it.

    An LTO-6 drive costs about $2500, and it stores 2.5TB of data on a $50 tape. That is about half the price of a comparable hard drive. If you have more than 100TB of data to store then tape becomes cheaper (that is, the savings for the tapes exceeds the cost of the drive). Tape is also a bit less fragile during transport/etc, and likely more reliable than optical media unless you buy the expensive stuff (which certainly isn't any cheaper than tape).

    Doing anything with those kinds of data volumes is always going to be slow, whether you're talking drives/tapes/etc. So, if you need rapid recovery or have a lot of turnover then strategies like replication to a live remote site is going to be necessary, and tape will never give you a great recovery time. It is better for retention for "just in case" scenarios or legal reasons - where recovery time isn't as important as just having the ability to recover at all.

  • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @09:55PM (#47762265)

    An LTO-6 drive costs about $2500, and it stores 2.5TB of data on a $50 tape. That is about half the price of a comparable hard drive. If you have more than 100TB of data to store then tape becomes cheaper (that is, the savings for the tapes exceeds the cost of the drive). Tape is also a bit less fragile during transport/etc, and likely more reliable than optical media unless you buy the expensive stuff (which certainly isn't any cheaper than tape).

    The advantage of tape has always been it's nigh-indestructibility. Spinning drives in comparison are pretty vulnerable.

    Tapes has a crapload of drawbacks, write speed, read speed, the fact it's sequential (random access is painful) but it remains popular because you can drop it, smash it, submerge and then freeze it and all you have to do is roll the tape into a new case. Disks have a bad tendency to fail over time where as tape is a lot more reliable.

    If you want to back up a lot of data for a short time (sub six months) then disk is good, if you want to back up data for a long time (years) and know that it will be recoverable in 5 to 7 years, then use tape.

  • by tchuladdiass (174342) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @09:56PM (#47762267) Homepage

    Rotational Vibration (RV) is the vibration the drive experiences from the platters rotating at high speed. When you put a bunch of drives in a cage, some interesting harmonics build up which can shorten the life span of the drives further. Enterprise grade hard drives are built to better withstand these vibrations, lessening the chance of failure. (At least that is what their literature says -- personally I'd mount the drives using grommets or something like what Rackspace uses [rubber bands I think?]).

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @10:00PM (#47762281) Homepage

    If it's the outer most tracks, sure. More surface area = more bits. As such, that 1/3rd would be physically narrower making the actuator arm not having to swing as far back and forth when reading/writing to that partition. As a bonus, the outer most track also has faster throughput as more bits fly under the head vs the inner track regardless of RPM.

  • by WuphonsReach (684551) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @10:34PM (#47762461)
    Agreed - tape is a good choice as soon as you:

    - need removable backup storage that gets swapped daily and goes offsite (legal reasons)
    - have the budget for multiple tape drives, including a spare at your offsite disaster recovery location
    - have enough data that you need an auto-loader
    - have someone to babysit the tape drive on a daily basis, swapping in tapes in an organized fashion, replacing tapes based on usage history (not when they break), and run period cleaning tapes

    The tape drives are $2-$5k each, you should always have at least two of the current generation, in case one breaks. Individual tapes are $40-$60 and you're going to be buying 50-60 per year if you follow a normal setup (daily backups, one tape per week gets pulled for permanent storage, etc.)

    For smaller companies, hooking up a 1TB or 2TB USB drive to the server and running a backup is about the limit of their technical proficiency (and limits of their budget). For $800, you could buy 6 or 8 USB drives and have them rotate them out on a weekly basis.

    Sure, it's not a daily backup with permanent retention offsite. But it's generally more foolproof then tape (or less fiddly). And it's a lot easier to sell a $800 backup solution then a $8000 backup solution. Plus you can start with a $400 solution, then slowly add more drives to the pool over time to get better historical backups. Older, smaller, USB drives can be repurposed for other uses as you slowly increase the size of individual drives. Not as easy to repurpose old tape drives or media that is now too small.
  • Re:Seagate failures (Score:4, Informative)

    by WuphonsReach (684551) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @10:46PM (#47762529)
    External 3.5" drives are generally put in junky enclosures with no cooling and iffy controller chips and 1-year warranties. Since 3.5" hard drives are much more sensitive to heat issues then their 2.5" laptop drive cousins, you need active cooling (at least a minimal amount of airflow 24x7 over the drive).

    One external drive enclosure that I've been happy with is a Mediasonic HF2-SU3S2. This is a USB 3.0 unit which can hold up to (4) 3.5" drives in a few different configurations (I use JBOD). Not that expensive, has a fan, and has good performance.

    Stick some moderate quality 3.5 drives in it (WD Red, Seagate Enterprise Capacity drives, Hitachi Ultrastars) and it should run fine for a few years. Most of those drives have 3 or 5 year warranties.

    (For the 4-drive unit, we write to a different drive each day. And our backups are based on rdiff-backups, so each backup set has the full 53 weeks of change history for the source data.)
  • Re:Seagate failures (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anubis IV (1279820) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @11:02PM (#47762595)

    If you bought all of the drives at the same time and they all failed in such a short span, the likely cause is a bad batch, rather than some extraordinarily poor designs on the part of the manufacturer. And while a bad batch does reflect poorly on the manufacturer, the fact is, all of the manufacturers have bad batches from time to time.

  • by dnavid (2842431) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @11:26PM (#47762683)

    Rotational Vibration (RV) is the vibration the drive experiences from the platters rotating at high speed. When you put a bunch of drives in a cage, some interesting harmonics build up which can shorten the life span of the drives further. Enterprise grade hard drives are built to better withstand these vibrations, lessening the chance of failure. (At least that is what their literature says -- personally I'd mount the drives using grommets or something like what Rackspace uses [rubber bands I think?]).

    Actually, multi-drive rotational vibration tolerance is a design feature whereby the drive is designed to be capable of withstanding and tolerating induced rotational vibrations from outside the drive. Enterprise drives are normally designed to minimize the vibrations they generate and induce into their surrounding chassis. But on top of that, being able to dampen vibrations induced from the outside and function optimally can significantly improve the performance of the drives. In enterprise environments where performance is important, disk drives can theoretically tolerate a lot of vibrations by simply temporarily ceasing reads and writes until their read/write heads get back into alignment. But those pauses force the drive to wait for at least a full rotation before they can try again to read the same blocks. If this happens frequently the performance of the drive can be significantly degraded even if the drive lifetime isn't impacted. Multi-drive RV tolerance is not just about surviving the vibrations, its also about being able to function optimally without having to degrade performance when in a (relatively) high vibration environment, as is often the case in large high-density drive enclosures.

    Without this feature, you can sometimes find your 4000 IOPS spindle array delivering only 2000 IOPS at random times, and not know why.

  • by dnavid (2842431) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @11:46PM (#47762759)

    Welp, seems my post was a bit misunderstood. I was actually thinking transfer rates. Say you have an 8TB drive with 6 platters - the option could be to pair up the platters and write alternate bytes to each, doubling sustained read and write.

    It could also be an option to turn on when you start using the drive, and if it gets half-filled up, it should be possible to decouple them and get the full size.

    The tendency for many consumers is to have an SSD boot drive and a platter storage drive - but that platter drive takes some time to fill up, why not double speed it until it's half full?

    I'm not 100% certain, but I believe the problem is that the hard drive head assembly moves as a single unit, which means all of the heads for all the platters must move in unison. But the precision required to move the heads to the precise spot on the tracks where the data is recorded is such that it would be too difficult to design the heads in such a way that when one was over its track, all of the others would be *guaranteed* to be over their tracks on their respective platters. To do this you'd need to have the heads each on their own arms with their own voice coils to keep them all on track simultaneously. But that would add enough cost to the drive, it would be cheaper to just buy two half-capacity drives and stripe them yourself.

    Basically, I think its possible, but not economically logical to make hard drives in a way that would allow for this kind of in-box striping. That's what RAID is for.

  • Re:Seagate failures (Score:5, Informative)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <{ten.3dlrow} {ta} {ojom}> on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @06:30AM (#47763743) Homepage

    The drives used in external enclosures are sub-standard. Since the whole package only comes with a minimal one or two year warranty and they can easily point to any slight mark on the case as signs of abuse they put the weakest, borderline drives in them.

    Many people don't realized that drives are binned that way at the factory. All drives have a certain number of bad blocks from new. Those that have very few become server grade drives, the majority become standard internal consumer drives and those with very many surface errors get turned into external drives. The number of errors the drive starts out with affects the number of available spare blocks and the time before it develops further errors.

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