HGST (a Western Digital company) today launched the Ultrastar C10K1800, a 10000 RPM hard drive in the 2.5" form factor targeting enterprise / data center applications. Earlier versions of the Ultrastar C10K family topped out at 1.2 TB and came with a 6 Gbps SAS connector. The new member has a 1.8 TB capacity and comes with a cutting-edge 12 Gbps SAS connection. With this introduction, HGST is moving all capacities in the Ultrastar C10K family to 12 Gbps SAS.

Even though flash storage is grabbing all the headlines right now, there are many applications where the premium for IOPS doesn't need to be paid, and cost per GB wins out. It is this market segment that HGST hopes to target with the Ultrastar C10K1800.

In order to improve performance over previous generation Ultrastar C10K HDDs, HGST has put in a 'media cache' - a disk-based caching technology providing a large non-volatile area for data storage. HGST claims that there is a significant improvement in write performance even at high workloads (compared to NAND-based caches). Improvements are in the order of 2.5x for random writes and 23% for sequential accesses when compared to older Ultrastar C10K drives.

HGST's Disk-based Media Cache

The high level operation of the disk-based media cache is explained in the above picture. While HGST wasn't ready to comment on how much of the drive capacity was being used as a disk cache, they did mention that the cache has no effect on the capacity visible to users. This technology is also being rolled out across all Ultrastar C10K models.

The hard drive family comes with both 4K native / 512 emulation and a 512 native sectors version for legacy compatibility. HGST also claims improved power efficiency. The drives are already being qualified by OEMs and are available now. The FIPS-certified encryption-enabled drives will ship early next year.

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  • Kevin G - Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - link

    While it is still nice to see hard drive performance move forward, using a 12 GBit interface is serious overkill. It'd only make sense in environments with mixed hard drives and SSDs on the same SAS bus, which is rather rare. As long as there isn't a price premium over 6 Gbit drives, I guess there really isn't much to complain about though.
  • Bob N - Thursday, July 10, 2014 - link

    Any cached command, read or write, can take place at the full 12Gb interface speed.
  • Calin - Friday, July 11, 2014 - link

    These magnetic drives have quite impressive performance in sequential reads, so a fast interface is good - especially as it can multiplex requests and responses (accepts requests while delivering sequential data)
  • hlmcompany - Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - link

    HDD manufacturers have very close relationships with OEM's, to the point where it's normal for an OEM to request a particular product type to be engineered and manufactured. This seems to be another one of those products.
  • ddriver - Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - link

    Nah, it is the next logical small incremental step to mark some progress. Better caching should have long been applied to all mechanical storage drives, not just now and only for enterprise. Instead of that we get warranty sacking...
  • Paul Tarnowski - Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - link

    Damn, I really wish that Hitachi was still in the consumer space and price competitive with the other HDD manufacturers. I've got two 2TB Hitachi drives that survived newer Seagate and WD drives. I've never encountered drives that were so damn reliable.
  • Mentawl - Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - link

    You should check out Toshiba drives, they're basically Hitachi's with a different name - same factories and all.

  • Guspaz - Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - link

    Hitachi consumer drives are no harder to find today than they were a year ago... B&H has the 4TB Hitachi drives. $150 for the 5400RPM version, $175 for the 7200RPM version.
  • Paul Tarnowski - Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - link

    Yeah, I don't even know who B&H is. Up here in Canada a 2TB UltraStar is about $160, but that's the only consumer/prosumer version available. The rest are enterprise versions, with a 3TB from $230 to $330 CAD and a 4TB at $330+. At least I can get the Toshiba drives for close to consumer prices. Not that I expect anything decent to match prices with the typical WD or Seagate crap (I did pick up 2 WD Reds to sit in a storage pool, but that's different).

    I'll keep an eye out, but aside from SSDs, which are all dropping in price, computer prices seem to have stabilized up here, when they didn't go up like RAM.
  • Guspaz - Sunday, July 13, 2014 - link

    Errm, I live in Montreal, which is probably more "up" in Canada than, say, Toronto :P

    B&H is a camera store in NYC. They ship to Canada at very reasonable rates, and are often cheaper than Canadian stores even after you take shipping into account. In fact, I've often seen the cost of B&H's shipping and duties come out to less than what a Canadian store wanted for shipping alone...

    HGST drives are indeed not that easy to find directly in Canada, but that's not really an issue. B&H sells the coolspin 4TB HGST for $149 USD, they want ~$9 for shipping, and ~$11 for GST and customs clearance... comes out to $170 USD.

    Thing is, when I bought those drives for my file server (from B&H, shipped to Montreal), I bought seven of them. And the shipping costs don't scale linearly, so you end up paying $29 shipping on seven drives, instead of $9 shipping on one drive. It works out to actually paying ~$161 per drive instead of $170.

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