Western Digital planning release of world’s first 10TB hard drive

Western Digital's HGST unit has announced plans to launch the first 10 terabyte hard drive, the largest capacity drive released so far.

The firm also announced it will be shipping its 8TB Ultrastar He8 drive shortly, which uses pressurised helium to fit two extra disks into the drive, but still relies on perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology.

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The planned 10TB drive, however, will instead utilise shingled magnetic recording (SMR), a technology that overlaps data tracks like roof shingles.

While the new drive is being sampled by select customers, it is unlikely that consumers will be seeing 10TB hard drives for their desktop or laptop PCs any time soon. SMR drives are generally better suited to continuous writing and erasing date, such as log files, a constant stream of images, or handling big data stores like Hadoop, rather than more traditional applications.

That being said, the new 10TB drive still pushes the potential density of storage media up to 3 trillion bits per square inch of disk platter, up from the 200 gigabits per inch capable with PMR technology. This means that the increased storage capacity could come in use for customers who have to keep large quantities of "cold" data, such as the millions of images posted by Facebook users each day.

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HGST confirmed that the 10TB drive would be compatible with cloud and cold storage options, but did not confirm a release date for the product.