Western Digital’s line of helium-filled hard disk drives (HDDs) has arrived at another major milestone.

Today, the Irvine, Calif. storage provider announced it had begun shipping a 10 terabyte (TB) version of its helium HDDs for cloud and big data workloads from its HGST subsidiary, the Ultrastar He10. The HDD follows this past June’s release of the Ultrastar Archive Ha10, another 10 TB helium HDD for cloud archives.

With the new HGST Ultrastar He10, Western Digital is targeting big data and cloud-based production workloads.

Cloud providers and enterprise data center operators are caught between ever-increasing amounts of data and the practical limits of housing and powering the storage systems where it all ultimately ends up. Until solid-state drives (SSDs) prove big and cheap enough, Western Digital’s answer is a range of multi-terabyte helium HDDs.

By pumping helium, a lighter-than-air gas, Western Digital can produce HDDs that spin more reliably, last longer and consume less power than conventional designs.

Available in both SATA 6 Gbps and SAS 12 Gbps versions, the new 3.5-inch Ultrastar He10 HDDs are 56 percent more energy efficient and are 25 percent more reliable than 8 TB air-filled drives, due in large part to helium’s properties. HGST’s HelioSeal technology creates a less dense atmosphere within a drive which translates into less drag on its platters, reducing the energy it takes for them to spin and improving reliability overall.

And there’s little chance that an HGST helium drive will spring a leak, according to the company. Of the 1 million HelioSeal drives that shipped in the first year of availability, not one seal-related failure has been reported in the field. Incidentally, the Ultrastar He10 carries a mean time between failure (MBTF) rating of 2.5 million hours and an annualized failure rate of 0.35 percent. On the data security front, the company is offering include instant secure erase and self-encrypting drive options.

“We were the first to recognize the benefits of Helium and have pushed the boundaries while others are scrambling to catch up,” said Brendan Collins, vice president of product marketing for HGST, in a statement. “The Ultrastar He10 represents the third generation of our HelioSeal line. It redefines enterprise capacity HDDs, showing the industry where storage devices need to go, to stay in front of the future that data growth is hurtling towards.”

Western Digital is positioning the Ultrastar He10 as a cloud and hyperscale storage building block. Other applications include big data analytics, Ceph and Hadoop object storage environments and centralized video surveillance.