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Seagate launches the IronWolf, SkyHawk and BarraCuda series of Helium drives

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Helium based hard drives are the next “IT” technology as far as storage computing is concerned. The hard disk exploits the characteristic lightness of the gas to increase the medium’s potential speed and storage density. Well, Seagate has launched the Guardian Series of 10 TB helium-based drives for different market segments.

Helium drives are not completely new for the market, or for Seagate either. The company had launched a 10TB helium drive for enterprise applications back in April. However, it is now furthering its reach by expanding into other segments as well.

Before we take a look at Seagate’s different offerings, lets quickly run through what we know about Helium drives. We have already established that Helium is lighter than air, as such the potential speed is significantly increased because the gas creates less drag and turbulence.

And that is not it, the medium’s increased density also makes it possible to put seven platters in the space that would be occupied by just five in conventional hard drives. This also reduces the weight-to-data ratio by almost 30%. Finally, less power is consumed to drive the motors, the drive is quiter and less heat is generated from its running.

Coming back to Seagate’s products, the company has launched the BarraCuda Pro series for Desktop computing, NAS units (1 to 8-bay) with the IronWolf series and the SkyHawk series for Surveillance via NVRs and DVRs.

The BarraCuda series integrates a multi-tier cache involving drive-based management of various storage media on the disk. In english,the disk combines DRAM, flash and magnetic platters. This leads to an increase in responsiveness and a decrease in power consumption. The BarraCuda Pro series priced at $535, however the heavy price tag also nets you a 5 year warranty.

The second important segment Seahate is moving into is storage media for surveillance / IP camera and NVR (networked video recorder) applications. The sector is slated for huge growth from all forecats and Seagate is looking to capitalize upon the increasing market.

The SkyHawk series is firmware optimized for video stream recording and offers ATA streaming extensions support for up to 64HD cameras and round the clock operation. The hard drive can take a rough pounding easy-peasy at capacities of 180TB per year.

The series is also equipped with state of the art RV sensors and is supported by Seagate Rescue for data recovery. What’s more, the series can take up workloads as heavy as you can throw at it with the Enterprise Capacity HDDs with 550TB/yr workload ratings. The capacity enhancement is rather important as video recording takes up a whole load of space.

The 10 TB SkyHawk series drives are priced at $460 and carry a 3 year warranty.

Finally, we have the IronWolf series — again, Seagate’s preference for X-men like names coming to the fore — of hard drives for the NAS segment. In a significant move, Seagate has introduced a rotational vibration sensor, traditionally reserves for enterprise grade drives, to its IronWolf series.

The rotational vibration sensor integrated with the drive provides it with special balancing features — including vibration dampening hardware control and RV sensor handling — along with RAID-related features such as time-limited error recovery configurations. The TLER configurations prevent drives from erroneously dropping out of arrays.

The IronWolf also comes with a three year warranty but is priced a tad higher than the SkyHawk series with a MSRPs of $470.

Speaking on the release, Mark Re, CTO at Seagate said,

Seagate has the most comprehensive Nearline portfolio in the industry. Each of our Nearline products – including ournew flagship 10TB helium enterprise drive shipping today – is designed to help customers take maximum advantage of top technology trends that have the highest impact on their business.

Commenting on the recent announcement, John Morris, vice president of enterprise products at Seagate added,

Seagate is once again at the forefront of innovation with our Nearline portfolio.Our new 10TB drive boasts advanced write caching capabilities for better performance and the lowest weight and the best energy efficiency in the industry- making this new drive is a real game changer.

Well, it seems like Helium based drives are the future of memory — particularly where huge capacities are required. Although Seagate is not exactly the early bird here, it is attempting to make up for the same by launching into multiple sectors all at once. Hopefully, its BarraCuda, IronWolf and SkyHawk series will let the company make significant inroads into the burgeoning Helium drive market.

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