HGST has produced a bulk storage disk drive that sips power like a miser. It is for the bulk storage of cool data and has five power-using states. The MegaScale DC 4000.B is a 4TB, 3.5-inch format drive, and HGST says it "uses up to 45 per cent less operating power and 29 per cent reduced idle power when compared to current 4TB …
Will price reflect the reduced lifetime?
So it has ~1/3 lifetime (depending on the metric). Will it cost 1/3 of equivalent decent drive? Somehow I doubt it. Would need to have insane quantities of the drives for the power saving to offset the cost of replacing drives more often.
Give and take away
Large bulk storage is usually used for long periods, so I'd have expected a longer or at least the mtbf instead of shorter.
I would guess the shorter lifespan comes from cycling the spindle speed up and down more often: it's virtually always when a drive is power-cycled that it dies, rather than while it's sitting there spinning at a constant speed for days. Just like a laptop, slowing or stopping the drive will save power, but shorten the drive's life.
Lower power/heat would be appealing for a big array: a smaller/cheaper power supply per drive shelf, less cooling cost per rack, a smaller/cheaper UPS/generator etc. It's not just shaving a few % off the electricity bill for the drive itself. I get the impression a lot of big installations have a lot of "cold" data where even a 7200rpm SATA drive is excessive, but the latency of tape would still be a deal-breaker.
I wonder if they could do a bigger version, like the old Quantum Bigfoot 5.25" HDDs? Pack 10 or 20 Tb in a single unit, with slower access times - we've moved the other way, to 3.5" and now 2.5" drives to get faster and faster access times, but in some cases a slower bulk HDD is just what the doctor ordered.
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