Hard drive maker Seagate Technology is marking a bona fide industry first. The company just started shipping the world’s first 8 TB hard disk drive.

Seagate is calling it an important step forward in storage, and that’s not just hype. The 8 TB hard disk drives facilitate some compelling benefits. For example, the product promises energy-efficient, scale-out data infrastructures. Although we can’t verify it, the company is claiming it has the lowest total cost of ownership in the industry for cloud content, object storage and back-up disaster recovery storage.

“As our world becomes more mobile, the number of devices we use to create and consume data is driving an explosive growth in unstructured data,” said Scott Horn, Seagate’s Vice President of Marketing. “This places increased pressure on cloud builders to look for innovative ways to build cost-effective, high capacity storage for both private and cloud-based data centers.”

All About Efficiency

The 8 TB hard drive offers bulk data storage for online content storage in an industry standard 3.5-inch HDD in a single drive slot. Seagate reports its drive offers maximum rack density within an existing footprint, which means it packs a powerful punch without taking up any more floor space in the data center.

“Public and private data centers are grappling with efficiently storing massive amounts of unstructured digital content,” said John Rydning, IDC’s Research Vice President for hard disk 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 Relevant Products/Services storage economically.”

A key point Seagate is making with its new drive is lower power consumption. The drive conserves energy to push down overall operating costs. The product also offers multi-drive RV tolerance for consistent performance in high-density environments and incorporates a SATA 6 Gb per second interface for easier system integration in private and public data centers.

Doing Away With Tape Storage?

We caught up with Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, to get his take on the new hard disk drive. He told us Seagate’s latest product continues the march toward putting more “zeros and ones” into an increasingly smaller space. And, he added, the company has surpassed its primary competitor -- Western Digital -- by about 30 percent.

“According to Seagate, not only is this a higher density drive but by reducing the number of components in the drive they’ve made it more energy efficient,” King explained. “Depending on how much more energy efficient these drives get, it’s going to continue to put pressure on the tape industry -- which is already feeling a lot of pressure.”

“If drive manufacturers like Seagate can continue to deliver higher capacity while delivering greater energy efficiency the arguments for tape storage for anything but cold data archiving will become harder and harder to make,” he added.

Seagate is shipping the 8 TB drives to some customers now. Wide scale availability is set for the fourth quarter.