HGST Helium-Filled HDDs Rise to New Levels; Achieve Industry-Leading Milestone in Field Reliability

Leading Companies Around the World Select HGST’s HelioSeal™ Platform for Best Storage Density, Reliability and TCO for Cloud and Enterprise Data Center Storage Applications; More than One Million Units Deployed

SAN JOSE, Calif., March 24, 2015 With more than one million helium-filled hard disk drives (HDDs) deployed, HGST (@HGSTStorage), a Western Digital company (NASDAQ: WDC) today announced it has achieved a new milestone in reliability as the only manufacturer with drives field-proven and rated for two and a half (2.5) million hours mean time between failure (MTBF). Today’s news demonstrates that HGST’s helium HDDs are poised to become the mainstream choice for data center applications where storage density, reliability and power efficiency are paramount. Now shipping its second generation HelioSeal Platform drives, HGST is shifting its volume mix and ramping Helium production to meet strengthening customer demand across cloud and mainstream data center applications.

Path To True TCO

With strong market acceptance from the largest cloud service providers, Internet giants, OEMs and businesses around the world, including Netflix, Huawei, Inspur, HP, OVH, Starline, Buffalo, DataON, DDN and Racktop to name a few, the HGST HelioSeal Platform represents proven innovation in high-capacity HDD technology and reliability, while lowering true total cost of ownership (TCO). While there are a number of ways to increase hard drive capacity, HGST’s HelioSeal platform is the only technology to provide unmatched reliability and a long-term path for delivering higher capacity storage on a standard 3.5-inch HDD form factor, while lowering power and drive temperature at the same time. All this equates to best storage density, TB-per-system weight, TB/Sq. foot and lowest watt/TB for enterprise and cloud data centers.

Since introducing the technology in 2013, HGST has been steadily increasing volume production to enable an expanding set of customers to enjoy the proven benefits of its Helium-filled technology. Now in its second generation, HGST’s HelioSeal platform is gaining broader customer support and the company is increasing production of its Ultrastar® He8, 8TB drives – the highest capacity available in the market that delivers full performance for all capacity-optimized applications. HGST’s HelioSeal technology allows this to be accomplished at standard 7,200 RPM performance with low power while competitive air based products typically reduce RPM and performance to achieve lower power.

Both the Ultrastar® He8 and the Ultrastar He6 families now feature an unprecedented reliability rating of 2.5M hours MTBF.  Due to its patented manufacturing process and the inherent benefits of Helium, HGST’s HelioSeal drives are field proven and have a more robust design margin than traditional air based drives. The HGST Helium drives are hermetically-sealed, which keep air, humidity and other contaminates out of the drive, allowing them to be used in harsh or ambient environments. The Helium inside the drives also reduces disk vibration and flutter, adding to even greater reliability.

HGST will continue to extend its capacity leadership by combining two complementary technologies: HelioSeal technology and Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) in its industry-leading 10TB helium-drives. The additive nature of these two technologies, combined with the economies of scale provided by increased Helium-drive manufacturing capacity, will further enhance HGST’s TCO advantage. HGST expects that by 2017, 50 percent of its enterprise capacity drive shipments will be Helium.

“Based on the patented HelioSeal technology, HGST’s Ultrastar Helium-filled drives are the only drives that improve data center TCO on virtually every level—from storage density, power and cooling costs, to reliability, capacity and more. We also believe it is the only way to get to higher densities therefore higher capacities while maintaining reliability. All of these factors contribute to defining the true TCO of the data center,” said Brendan Collins, vice president of product marketing, HGST. “With more than one million drives deployed, the rapid industry adoption of this revolutionary technology affirms our commitment to Helium as the foundation for all future scaling technologies. With a valued-based pricing strategy in place and manufacturing investments to promote the increased volumes, HGST is on an accelerated path to delivering higher capacities and better TCO into existing and future form factor designs.”

Driving Down Data Center TCO: The Value of HelioSeal Technology

With the amount of new data being created and replicated doubling every two years, data center architects have a lot to consider when planning for future growth. Capacity growth is only one piece of the equation. The additional power, cooling and floor space required to operate that extra storage is another, and can add up. Leveraging the inherent benefits of Helium, HGST’s HelioSeal technology delivers today’s lowest TCO for enterprise and cloud data centers through:

  • Greater power efficiency – Disks spin more easily in a helium-filled environment, resulting in 23% lower operating power. The 8TB helium drives consume just 5.1 watts during idle operation, a 44% reduction in watts-per-TB compared to conventional 6TB air-based HDDs, creating greener data centers with reduced energy costs and carbon footprint.
  • Leading storage density – Helium is essential to maintaining the required reliability for future generation drives beyond 8TB. Industry-leading 8TB capacity in a 3.5-inch HDD footprint, which are plug-and-play in virtually any data center environment, delivers 33% more storage capacity for mainstream applications than competitive 6TB offerings.
  • Lower cooling requirements – HGST Helium-filled drives typically run 4˚–5˚C cooler, which lowers power and cooling costs and leads to better field reliability, allowing HGST to increase its MTBF specification for the He6 and He8 drives.
  • Better weight-per-TB – Up to 38% lower weight-per-TB for improved environmental conditions in high-density deployments and allows for more storage capacity where building codes enforce floor loading limits.
  • Environmental robustness – Use them virtually anywhere, including ambient air, free cooling data centers. Many air-filled drives use a breather filter leading to reliability problems when used in environments with high levels of carbon or dust, or in high altitudes. This problem does not exist with HelioSeal drives as they’re hermetically sealed.
  • Value $/TB – Higher volume production for its second-generation 8TB HelioSeal HDD leads to lower cost to the market.

HGST is shipping its 6TB Ultrastar He6 and 8TB Ultrastar He8 helium-filled drives in volume today. HGST’s 10TB Helium HDDs with SMR are sampling with select customers. For more information, please visit: http://www.hgst.com

Quote Sheet:

Qiu Long, President, Server Business, IT Product Line, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., said, “To support the customers’ rapid business growth as well as to efficiently scale, servers and massive data centers must optimize TCO to help manage capacity, power, cooling and storage density. We congratulate HGST on their one millionth helium hard drive deployment. HGST’s HelioSeal platform is an excellent innovation, delivering advanced technology to help meet the growing capacity and TCO needs in the data center.”

“HGST’s HelioSeal drives are ideal storage solutions which offer the lowest TCO for hyperscale cloud storage applications. In an open-air datacenter like ours, we demand the highest storage capacity and the lowest power consumption without sacrificing performance and reliability. HelioSeal Platform can protect the hard drives from contaminates in the air and enable the drives to operate in ambient environments,” said Li Jin, Inspur group vice president.

“Congratulations to HGST on its one millionth helium drive deployment,” said David Fullagar, director of content delivery architecture at Netflix. “We stream millions of movies and TV shows to consumers around the world, 24/7, so there’s incredible demand on our content delivery infrastructure. As an early adopter and proponent of HGST’s HelioSeal platform, we quickly saw the benefits of this technology as it delivers the best storage density, reliability and the lowest power for our video streaming appliances.”

“To accommodate the increasing amount of data running through enterprise datacenters today, our customers are realizing the need for higher-density storage solutions,” said Trevor Schick, senior vice president, HP Enterprise Group Global Supply Chain and Quality. “HGST’s HelioSeal drives provide HP customers with increased capacity to maximize datacenter efficiency, without incurring excessive costs.”

“Being at the cutting edge of technology innovation is part of our DNA. When we first heard about HGST’s helium drives we knew we had to be an early adopter,” explained Miroslaw Klaba, vice president of R&D at OVH. “HGST’s 6TB drives were integrated into the OVH data centres over a year ago. We’ve been impressed with the overall performance and reliability of the drives. HGST’s has helped us to optimise efficiency within the OVH data centres. We plan to continue to integrate the HelioSeal platform as it is an integral part of our data centre design moving forward.”

“Our disk arrays from the RAIDdeluxe RDL-BD64 series with 64 hard drive trays in a 4U rack already provide massive storage capacity, and with HGST’s 8TB HelioSeal hard drives we can achieve up to 512TB with substantially lower power consumption,” said Bernd Widmaier, sales director of Starline Computer GmbH. “Through the efficient utilization of space and the higher capacity of 8TB per hard drive, our clients immediately have several advantages. The total cost of ownership is lowered through the higher packing density and lower power consumption along with higher storage capacity with continued high data transfer rates and reduced space required in the rack.”

“We want to congratulate HGST on achieving its more than one millionth Helium hard drive deployment. HGST Helium-filled hard drives are the most suitable solution to increase storage capacity and lower TCO and meets other recent requirements for data center applications,” said Mr. Taiji Watanabe, director, member of the Board General Manager, NAS Business Unit, Buffalo Inc. “HelioSeal Technology attracts customer’s attention around the world. Buffalo will continue to offer the best business solutions to our customers using HGST drives.”

“HGST’s HelioSeal Helium HDD platform has become the de facto standard in our mainstream enterprise Cluster-in-a-Box storage appliances where capacity density, power efficiency and reliability are paramount,” said Trenton R. Baker, vice president business development, DataON Storage. “HGST’s HelioSeal platform is revolutionary, and we are honored to be one of the first partners to adopt this technology. Helium-based HDDs provide a path for higher-capacity storage, as evident where the DataON CiB-9470 V12 delivers better than a one-half petabyte in a single appliance offering the best $/TB, watt/TB, TB-per-system weight and TB/Sq. foot for our big data and cloud hosting customers.”

“Industry leading performance and reliability are critical factors for DDN customers dealing with large scale, high performance Big Data and Web/Cloud environments. Over the last year, DDN has worked with HGST to deliver customers fast, high capacity storage solutions built with HGST HelioSeal drives. With one of the largest capacity drives in the market and industry-leading reliability, we are pleased to build on our relationship with the addition of the new 8TB Helium drives to our award-winning SFA12K and SFA7700 systems, along with the SS7000 and SS8460 enclosures.” Molly Rector, Chief Marketing Officer, DDN

“The HGST Helium drives enable us to offer a cloud with revolutionary density and reduced power usage, which facilitates economically efficient storage of PBs of data for our customers,” said Jonathan Halstuch, CTO and co-founder, Racktop systems.

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About HGST: 

HGST (@HGSTstorage) helps organizations harness the power of data. Our smarter storage solutions power the markets and companies that shape our lives - enabling possibilities for the cloud, enterprise and sophisticated infrastructures everywhere. HGST is a wholly owned and independently operated subsidiary of Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC). Learn more at HGST. #LongLiveData

This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements relating to expected availability dates for HDD and/or SSD storage products.  These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements, including changes in markets, demand, uncertainties related to the development, introduction, and timing of products based on new technologies, and other risks and uncertainties listed in Western Digital's recent SEC filings to which your attention is directed.  Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak on as of the date hereof, and HGST/WD undertakes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.

One GB is equal to one billion bytes, and one TB equals 1,000 GB (one trillion bytes). Actual capacity will vary depending on operating environment and formatting.

HelioSeal and Long Live Data are trademarks, and Ultrastar is a registered trademark of HGST, a Western Digital Company. Western Digital, WD, and the WD logo are registered trademarks of Western Digital Technologies, Inc. All other trademarks are properties of their respective owners.

MTBF is a statistical representation of drive reliability under median operating conditions.  MTBF ratings are not intended to predict an individual drive’s reliability and does not constitute a warranty.

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