back to article Whoosh, there it is: Toshiba bods say 14TB helium-filled disk is coming soon

Toshiba stand staff at the Huawei Connect conference 2017 in Shanghai said a 14TB helium-filled disk drive would arrive "very soon". They confirmed that meant before the end of the year. Such a capacity would leapfrog Seagate's 12TB helium-filled drive. Currently Toshiba's largest disk drive, the MN series NAS drive, holds …

  1. defiler Silver badge

    Fuck a duck!

    My first HDD was 20MB in my old Archimedes, and I know plenty of people who had smaller drives before me.

    Remember having to clear out 650MB to make an ISO before writing a CD? Kids today etc etc...

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: Fuck a duck!

      Indeed do remember - 20MB hard drive in a PC-AT supporting a group of 30 people (started work in 1990 at a Big 6 accountancy firm).

      The Internet was only available in black and white then - and they switched it off at the weekends (your recollections may vary............).

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Fuck a duck!

        I'll take your B & W Internet and raise you an acoustic coupler.

        Need a new 'grey haired old git' icon.

        1. Swiss Anton

          Re: Fuck a duck!

          "...raise you an acoustic coupler."

          I'll match that and raise the bid with a teleprinter.

          1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

            Re: Fuck a duck!

            An ASR-33 to be precise?

            In them days we backed up our source code to paper tape.... :)

            1. Woodnag

              pah

              Real people got a KSR-33, innit.

          2. Chemical Bob

            Re: Fuck a duck!

            I'll match the B&W internet, acoustic coupler and teleprinter and raise you a Dynabyte model 5100 complete with the S-100 bus, 8 inch floppies and linear power supplies!

            http://www.oldcomputers.net/dynabyte.html

          3. td97402

            Re: Fuck a duck!

            Exactly, rack mounted teletype terminal hooked to my micro a bit higher in the rack. Video terminal came later. Ahh, 110 baud.

        2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Fuck a duck!

          Which one? 110 Baud or a more 'modern' 300 Baud Cat? ;-)

          As to the Internet being only B&W hog wash... a couple of friends and I went in to the EE Dept's vision lab and used the camera to make a copy of a playboy centerfold, in gasp *COLOR* and put it up on usenet. That was in the late 80's.

          Mine's the coat with a pocket protector because my lead holders had sharp metal tips.

          1. defiler Silver badge

            Re: Fuck a duck!

            @Ian

            Colour centrefold on the Internet? Wouldn't be Lena Soderberg by any chance? I still remember her being used as one of the JPEG test subjects...

      2. thosrtanner

        Re: Fuck a duck!

        I remember having a 5Mb removable platter at Uni. Then in my first job, there were these 80Mb removable which were like 5 platters and quite an effort to lift and transport the platters.

        1. David Paul Morgan

          Re: Fuck a duck!

          eds80's

          http://www.computerconservationsociety.org/resurrection/images/images74/resn.jpg

      3. julian_n

        Re: Fuck a duck!

        Luxury!

        10Mb in our DMS HiNet Z80 based file server - and 8" single sided 160K floppy disks as well.

        You tell the youngsters of today and they won't believe you.

        Internet - the network was a 9 pin ribbon serial cable.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fuck a duck!

      I still have a 40mb hard drive in my special parts box along with a 286 and some memory that Bill Gates would approve of. I'll donate it to a museum one day.

    3. NonSSL-Login
      Thumb Up

      Re: Fuck a duck!

      After seeing the 400GB storage on a MicroSD card the size of a fingernail yesterday, we were reminiscing about the old 20mb MFM drive days that were the size of a brick.

      So give it a few years and that 12TB will be on a MicroSD card and even smaller eventually.

      Different technologies with different pro's and cons but it's still good fun to compare size and storage :)

    4. Snapper

      Re: Fuck a duck!

      Some of us started on Amstrad 8256 computers, with no hard drive. You had to load the OS and then the apps by shuffling the non-standard floppy disks around, a process that took several minutes, then used a 'data' disk to work off of.

      Kids today.

      Then I got a Mac Plus with no HD and '2' floppy disk drives......

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fuck a duck!

        You were spoilt. Some of us started with punched cards and paper tapes before graduating (literaly) to 256kbyte single sided single density 8 inch floppy disk drives.

        1. jml9904

          Re: Fuck a duck!

          I remember booting up our old PDP-12. Octal keys. Flip, flip, flip, load/execute. Flip, flip, flip, load/execute. Flip, flip, flip, load/execute. Flip, flip, fl... damn! Reset... flip, flip, flip...

          BIOS spoiled everyone.

    5. td97402

      Re: Fuck a duck!

      Commodore 5 Megabyte external IEEE-488 connected hard drive around the size of a toaster hooked to my Commodore B-128.

      1. nagyeger

        Re: Fuck a duck!

        Five megabytes! You were spoilt.

        I started on an 3kb Acorn atom with a bit-banging tape drive... Definitely B+W to start with. I think it ended up having 4 colours..

    6. David Paul Morgan

      Re: Fuck a duck!

      luxury!

      ICL 1904, punch paper tape and teletype console. Coding sheets.

      1977-1979 Allt-yr-yn college, Newport in the 6th form.

      ICL ME29 was my first computer I was responsible for. 8" floppy disc. 1984. online TP and EDS80 disc platter (that's 60MB useable) for backup.

      1. David Paul Morgan

        Re: Fuck a duck!

        http://www.computerconservationsociety.org/resurrection/images/images74/resn.jpg

        these

  2. phuzz Silver badge
    Devil

    Fourteen terabytes? That's a lot of porn!

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      But not all of it - not by a long shot !

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Depends if it's dwarf porn, that takes up less space.

  3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Helium?

    I'm impressed that they go so far to reduce the weight of the product by filling it with helium, although wouldn't vacuum be even better?

    I remember chatting to a bloke who used a helium-filled barrage balloon for advertising at events. Rather than faffing around with cylinders of expensive gas he just had a large trailer and pumped the gas from the balloon to a bag in the trailer and vice versa. Probably the only time when a laden trailer weighed less than an un-laden!

    [Yes,I know, probably really something boring to do with air resistance and the read heads]

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Helium?

      One feature is that when the bearing go, the sequel is so high pitched in the helium drives (around 38kHz) that user don't notice and continue using the drive instead of returning it for warranty replacement.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Helium?

      I hope you're joking.

      Hard drives cannot run in vacuum because their operation relies on the Bernoulli Effect: a cushioning phenomenon that occurs with gases even at tiny gaps (like the infinitesimal gaps between hard drive platters and hard drive heads). Thing is, the Bernoulli Effect relies on there being a gas to work. Vacuum is the lack of gas, see?

      The idea here is that helium, in contrast to say nitrogen, is a lot better gas to work with aerodynamically (it's not only atomic number 2, but as a noble gas, it exists atomically in contrast to nitrogen which normally exists as a gas in diatomic molecules--paired up--doubling its molecular weight). Catch is, helium is SO small you need special handling to keep it from getting away (as it's small enough to pass through gaps in otherwise-solid materials).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Helium?

        Catch is, helium is SO small you need special handling to keep it from getting away

        I wonder how long mass produced HDDs will keep the helium in for? And what will be the consequence of it leaking out?

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Helium?

          "I wonder how long mass produced HDDs will keep the helium in for?"

          "At least the warranty period"

          "And what will be the consequence of it leaking out?"

          Increasing power consumption, slower access and eventually read failures due to the fly height of the heads being too high for reliable data.

      2. Sandtitz Silver badge

        Re: Helium?

        "Catch is, helium is SO small you need special handling to keep it from getting away (as it's small enough to pass through gaps in otherwise-solid materials)."

        Is the helium pressurised inside the HDD?

        If not, and if the HDD enclosure material is porous enough to just let helium atoms pass then something must replace the helium because "nature abhors vacuum". Since a hydrogen atom is smaller than a helium atom, only hydrogen can replace the missing volume. Excluding the flammable nature of hydrogen, would it pose a problem for the drive?

        I'm just a layman with only high school physics classes decades ago so bear with my likely flawed reasoning here!

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Helium?

          The catch is that hydrogen normally exists as a gas in diatomic form (H2), whereas helium is a noble gas and can exist monatomically.

          Anyway, part of the delay in rolling out helium drives has been time spent developing and mass-producing a VERY gas-tight enclosure for them.

  4. Oneman2Many

    How long is that drive going to take to format ?

    1. Roger Kynaston

      format? try fsck

      or chkdisk I suppose.

    2. M. B.

      I would be more concerned with RAID rebuilds on a set of drives that size, because people are totally going to stick them in QNAPs and the whatnot - very popular in the SMB space.

      1. Fatman Silver badge

        RE: RAID re-builds

        I was thinking the same thing.

        IIRC, while the density of these drives are packing in more bits per square mm, the BER (bit error rate) isn't lowered, and with more bits per platter you have a higher potential for drive failure, and RAID re-build.

        I am not so sure that I would want to chance re-building a 14TB RAID array.

        Some one else can be a guinea pig.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: RE: RAID re-builds

          "I am not so sure that I would want to chance re-building a 14TB RAID array."

          I have a 32TB one at home and multiple 300TB ones at work. Raidz3 means that they're statistically very unlikely to suffer drive failure during rebuilds (and I test that regularly as part of my operating paranoia)

  5. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Need to check if it's any use for A/V storage

    > helium-filled disk is coming soon

    Does it make all the voices on audio tracks sound squeaky?

    1. defiler Silver badge

      Re: Need to check if it's any use for A/V storage

      Only if you're writing for a hifi magazine. Best use one of those directional network cables...

      1. jml9904

        Re: Need to check if it's any use for A/V storage

        And make sure it's grey. Color-coded ribbon cables make the data sound different. Blindfolded volunteers in a lab test confirmed that.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Need to check if it's any use for A/V storage

        "Best use one of those directional network cables..."

        For the ultimate in audio purity, a pair of garden hoses full of mercury is the ultimate best speaker wire. It's even better than long crystal copper and allows you to hear every nuance of the performance including that mosquito farting beside the timpanis during the intermezzo.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow

    Thats a hell of a Porn Stash!

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      @AC ...Re: Wow

      Now when you consider that you're future proofing it.

      All of the stuff is going to be hi-res.

      Today 4K tomorrow (a couple of years) 8K .

      The only problem is that you can now make out the ass acne and makeup can't hide all of the blemishes.

      But at 8K, how much storage is required for a full length flick?

      1. fajensen Silver badge

        Re: @AC ...Wow

        The only problem is that you can now make out the ass acne and makeup can't hide all of the blemishes.

        No doubt there will be a custom GPU to deal with stuff like that, already today the Asians have "beautifying" algorithms built into their cameras and smartphones.

        What will really eat storage is bio-printing combined with porn ...

  7. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    Helium is tricksy stuff if I recall correctly.

    So, How Long does it take for the helium to bleed out?

    1. MonkeyBob

      Re: Helium is tricksy stuff if I recall correctly.

      So, How Long does it take for the helium to bleed out?

      Slightly longer than the warranty lasts

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Helium is tricksy stuff if I recall correctly.

        @ MonkeyBob: VERY Slightly longer than the warranty lasts, remembering we can measure time with quartz accuracy

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Helium is tricksy stuff if I recall correctly.

      One reason why my next hard drive purchase will definitely NOT (knowingly) be a Helium filled drive. Or a shingled magnetic drive (SMR) that has to rewrite multiple tracks for every write. Just conventional or HAMR drives for me.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Helium is tricksy stuff if I recall correctly.

        Shingled drives aren't as big an issue if they're intended for WIRE usage (Write Infrequently, Read Extensively). Then the wear-and-tear in the write phase is minimized. HAMR still isn't ready yet, and you have to wonder about the longevity of that heating element.

  8. Not also known as SC

    Helium Shortage

    If we waste helium on things like this what will we fill balloons with? (I vote for hydrogen)

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Helium Glut

      Natural gas straight from the well is about 2% helium. The market for helium is so small that most natural gas suppliers do not bother to collect and sell it.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Helium

    Perfect for getting to the cloud(s)

  10. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    On the plus side, faults now telegraphed by munchkin-voice in the machine room.

  11. Graham Cobb

    I don't believe them

    Two manufacturers announced 12TB He drives about New Year, saying they would be available mid-2017. Then 3-4 months ago they announced they were now available. Except they aren't. You can't buy them anywhere, that I can find.

    A couple of suppliers have had them listed for a couple of months, but with no stock and no sign of when they will receive any stock. For the last month or so I have been checking major retailers and even comparison sites almost daily but no one has any available (even though the couple of sites that list them keep changing their prices slightly every day).

    So, I don't believe these 14TB drives will be available by the end of the year.

    1. td97402

      Re: I don't believe them

      All going to data centers in case lots. No 14TB drives for you.

  12. krf

    How about a floppy?

    I spent a thousand dollars $US on a Thinkertoy floppy drive back about '78. It was the size of a small toolbox and used a single sided floppy that held 256k. And I loved it. Before that the only storage was cassette tape which was barfo slow.

    I tried to calculate how many floppies equals 14tb but the calculator overflowed.

    Thinking back, I have no idea where my young self came up with a grand for the purchase. About four thousand today and probably a good part of a years salary then. I must have held up a liquor store while blind drunk.

  13. Tubz
    Gimp

    That's a lot of pron storage, going to have a sore wrist and tennis elbow !

  14. John F***ing Stepp

    And the Windows 20 build will only take half a disk!

    Future proof!

  15. Permidion

    Meanwhile, common mortal..

    buy 4TB disk, because thats where the best TB/price ratio is at the moment.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meanwhile, common mortal..

      But for many, not big enough anymore.

  16. cloudguy

    No RAID rebuilds on large HDDs

    The first cry you hear with the announcement of an even larger capacity HDD is that it will be impossible to use them in a RAID array due to an almost infinite amount of time needed for a RAID rebuild. Get a clue. These helium-filled HDDs are destined to be deployed in object-based storage clusters where single or multiple drive failures have no effect on the operational status of the cluster. Failed of disabled HDDs in object-based storage clusters are just pulled and replaced, hopefully under warranty.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No RAID rebuilds on large HDDs

      But doesn't that still entail some kind of rebuilding process whereby lost redundancy is restored, which still takes time and is limited by the throughput of the drive? Meaning the cluster is still vulnerable to another failure during the rebuild such that objects get lost past their redundancy limit?

      1. cloudguy

        Re: No RAID rebuilds on large HDDs

        Well, not rebuild in the RAID controller sense. In an object storage cluster data is protected using replication (copies) of data objects or erasure coding (data fragments + parity fragment) of data objects to achieve the desired level of data durability. In most object storage clusters replication and erasure coding policies can be specified at the "bucket" level. Replication typically defaults to three replicas with one replica stored on three different nodes in the cluster. Erasure coding schemes can vary considerably in their combination of data fragments and parity fragments, but the fragments themselves are dispersed to a number of nodes in the cluster so that no node has more than a single fragment (data or parity). HDD failure in a given node means the replicas and parity fragments stored on the failed HDD will be re-created by the object-based storage software on other HDDs in the cluster. At no time will the replicated or erasure coded data become inaccessible while this happens.

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