While a few years ago a 1 TB hard drive seemed huge, Seagate Technology has announced that it is releasing the world's first 8-TB hard drive, designed for data storage of private and cloud-based data centers.

The 3.5-inch hard disk surpasses the previous maximum storage capacity for hard drives, which was 6 TB. Both Seagate and Western Digital sell 6 TB hard drives.

"Seagate's new 8 TB HDD provides IT managers with a new option for improving storage density in the data center, thus helping them to tackle one of the largest and fastest-growing data categories within enterprise storage economically," said Scott Horn, VP of marketing at Seagate.

Unlike other high-capacity hard drives offered by companies such as Western Digital, Seagate does not use helium in either its 6-TB hard disk drive (HDD) or its 8-TB HDD. While Seagate has not yet stated exactly what kind of technology is being used, it's quite possible that the company's shingled magnetic recording (SMR) is being used. According to Seagate, this technology adds over 25 percent capacity growth.

The HDD also increases system capacity while using few components, which means that more storage is offered while using less power. Because of the lower amount of power that it uses, Seagate has effectively reduced operating costs. It also offers the best watts per GB for bulk data storage in today's market.

The new drive also makes use of a Sata 6-Gb/s interface, which allows for cost-effective, easy integration into both private and public data centers. With its size, energy efficiency and compact storage density, it reduces the amount of floor space needed.

Seagate says that this hard drive is meant for archiving, and the use of its SMR technology and low-power, slow spindle speed seems to confirm this.

"A cornerstone for growing capacities in multiple applications, the 8-TB hard drive delivers bulk data storage solutions for online content storage providing customers with the highest capacity density needed to address an ever increasing amount of unstructured data in an industry-standard 3.5-inch HDD," said Seagate on its website. "Providing up to 8 TB in a single drive slot, the drive delivers maximum rack density, within an existing footprint, for the most efficient data center floor space usage possible."

The drives are likely currently in "directed availability," which means that they're being sold directly to specific customers who need them and who have specific needs. Wide-scale availability is set to come in the fourth quarter of 2014. Seagate has not released information concerning the price of the drives. 

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