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Seagate launches 22TB IronWolf straight into QNAP NAS partnership

Seagate’s 22TB IronWolf Pro HDD equals Western Digital for capacity. Of the big drive makers, only Toshiba now lags behind. QNAP NAS to offer petabyte capacities with new Seagate drive

Seagate recently launched its record capacity 22TB (terabytes) IronWolf Pro hard disk drive in 3.5in form factor. Already waiting in the Seagate portfolio is a double-drawer 5U JBOD rack that can contain 84 IronWolf 22TB drives to give capacity of 1.8PB (petabytes) for use with servers and storage arrays.

As soon as Seagate announced the 22TB IronWolf Pro, SME-focused NAS supplier QNAP said it would market the drive maker’s JBOD integrated with its QuTS NAS models.

Less expensive but also less speedy than SSD, hard disk drives (HDDs) are nevertheless attractive in some scenarios, including as capacity for cold data in large enterprises and to bring very high capacities to SMEs.

Besides Seagate and Western Digital, the other big disk maker is Toshiba, which hasn’t yet announced a 22TB drive. It’s biggest is 20TB and arrived late last year, and that was about a year after its competitors.

Added another HDD platter

The IronWolf Pro 22TB has 10 magnetic platters that spin at 7,200rpm and which each support 2.2TB of capacity. The device connects via 6Gbps SATA and builds on the nine-platter IronWolf Pro 20TB, launched 18 months ago.

Seagate still hasn’t implemented its SMR and HAMR – shingled magnetic and heat-assisted magnetic recording – technologies in these drives and which are regarded as necessary to bring the next generation of spinning disk drives, in capacity terms. These technologies will break the 30TB ceiling, according to the supplier, which promises that such drives will be unveiled this year.

Without any innovations on the electronics side, IronWolf Pro consumes a little more electricity than its predecessor to spin its platters, namely 7.9W instead of 7.7W at work and 6W rather than 5W at rest.

Access times are still the same, with throughput of 285MBps, as with the preceding model. These access times are as much a function of SATA connectivity as on-board cache, which at 512MB is the same for this model as that available at the end of 2021.

Seagate hasn’t said anything yet about the eventual adoption of 12Gbps SAS. The 20TB IronWolf Pro was launched at the same time as Seagate’s Exos 20TB drive, with the former aimed at external disk deployments and the latter internally to servers. But it is possible Seagate will not aim for this intermediate spot between HDDs and solid state, given than many enterprise storage products that aim at capacity now look to quad-level cell (QLC) flash drives. 

Partnership with QNAP

Seagate has also announced that the QNAP QuTS NAS will as a gateway to Seagate Lyve, its S3 cloud storage offer. For the two suppliers, it’s about offering backup as well as being able to expand to the cloud.

In fact, QNAP QuTS acts as two gateways, called Hybrid Backup Sync and Hybrid Mount, which can be configured to connect automatically to Lyve Cloud.

QuTS uses the ZFS file system and is capable of managing up to 156 hard drives, with 24 integral to the 2U form factor plus 84 in a Seagate Exos E 5u84 JBOD and the rest via three shelves of TL-R1620 QNAP JBOD that can hold 16 HDDs each.

Connection between the NAS and the JBOD shelves is SAS 12Gbps or SATA 6Gbps.

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