Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (GST) has introduced its fastest 10,000 rpm, 2.5-inch hard drive that it said offers up to 18% faster sequential I/O than its predecessors.

The new 2.5in Ultrastar C10K900 hard drive, targeted at data centre use in servers and storage arrays, is also available in 600GB, 450GB and 300GB versions.

The unveiling comes just days after Hitachi had announced that it now expects the deal to sell its GST hard drive business to Western Digital to close in March 2012, some four months later than initially planned due to delays in obtaining approval from the European Commission and other regulatory agencies.

In March, Western Digital had announced the agreement to acquire Hitachi GST in a cash and stock transaction valued at about $4.3 billion. The deal was first projected to close this month.

Hitachi claims the new C10K900 hard drive is the fastest available in its class. It has sustained sequential read/write speeds as fast as198MB/sec and 117MB/sec, respectively, Hitachi said, adding that it doesn't disclose random read/write speeds.

Hitachi did not disclose pricing for the new drive.

"Although the initial costs of deploying enterprise-class 10K HDDs are higher than traditional hard drives, their low power, high capacity and high performance attributes result in higher density servers and storage arrays that help reduce space requirements, lower cooling costs and improves total cost of ownership," a spokesperson said.

The new drive uses a serial-attached SCSI (SAS) 6Gbps interface and has 64MB of cache optimise the read/write response time, Hitachi said. The new drive features average seek times as low as 3.8 milliseconds, and its fast rotational speed reduces average latency time to below 3.0 milliseconds.

The Ultrastar C10K900 drive family includes an optional encryption feature that uses the company's Enterprise A Security Subsystem Class encryption specification and allow customers to reduce costs associated with drive retirement and extend drive life by enabling swift and secure repurposing of drives, Hitachi said.

The encryption technology allows users to crypto-graphically erase protected data, enabling the ability to return, service, repurpose, or retire drives without lengthy data overwrite operations or physical destruction of the drive.

Hitachi GST is now shipping Ultrastar C10K900 qualification units to system manufacturers. Volume shipments are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2012.