Toshiba Announces Its First 5TB Hard Drive

Toshiba has announced its first ever 5TB hard drive as part of the new ‘MG04’ series, which includes a wide selection of 3.5-inch HDDs with enterprise features.

The company says these are the first hard drives for business applications with native support of the 4K Advanced Format sector technology, which grows the standard size of the sector from 512 to 4096 bytes.

“Our customers will benefit from the increased storage capacity and performance made possible by the latest industry-standard long sector technologies,” claims Scott Wright, product marketing manager at Toshiba Storage Products Business Unit. “We understand the importance of peace of mind when it comes to data integrity, and persistent cache technology included in this series not only helps protect against data-loss but also helps to improve performance and data reliability.”

Less space, more data

The MG04 hard drives support the standard 6Gbps interface and are available in both SATA and SAS configurations. The platters spin at 7,200 RPM, offering sustained transfer speed of 205 MiBps. The internal buffer for SATA drives is set at 128 MB, while SAS drives have just 64 MB.

The new drives can be shipped with optional persistent write cache that helps protect data in the event of a sudden loss of power. Another enterprise option is Toshiba’s Sanitize Instant Erase (SIE) data destruction service.

However, the most interesting feature of the MG04 is the native support of 4K Advanced Format technologies, used to store data on the magnetic disks in sectors larger than 520 bytes. The size of the sector on a hard drive has remained more or less constant since the introduction of consumer-grade drives in the early 1980s. The new standard utilises the storage surface area more efficiently for large files, but less efficiently for smaller files. It also improves data integrity at higher storage densities.

According to Toshiba, squeezing more Terabytes into a 3.5-inch format saves rack space and reduces the footprint, eventually resulting in lower costs.

At a time when many companies advocate the benefits of all-flash infrastructure, there are still plenty of uses left for the trusty mechanical disk. High capacity hard drives are also needed in hybrid systems, which mix HDDs and SSDs and are quickly gaining popularity since they perform better than pure HDD environments, but are cheaper than all-flash.

Customer samples of the MG04 series will begin shipping in February 2014.

Meanwhile, Western Digital subsidiary HGST has recently launched the world’s first helium-filled hard drive – Ultrastar He6 – with capacity of up to 6TB.

How much do you know about storage devices? Take our quiz!

Max Smolaks

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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