Seagate Launching HAMR Technology Soon, Enabling HDDs of Up to 50 TB

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Storage enthusiasts should have a lot of fun over the coming years consolidating their data, as HDDs are set to grow exponentially bigger.

Speaking at a recent investment conference, Seagate CEO Dave Mosley revealed (via Blocks & Files) that his company’s heavily hyped heat-assisted magnetic recording technology, HAMR, is set to debut this quarter. This is a successor to traditional perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) that leverages the heat of a tiny laser beam to write data into much smaller regions, enabling enormous hard drives of up to 50 TB.

“This quarter also, we are going to introduce a new technology, which is called HAMR,” Mosley confirmed. “[…] this HAMR, heat-assisted magnetic recording technology […] allows capacity jumps of 10 terabytes or even more, so we should get to 30 and 40 and 50 terabytes some day, which is what the world needs to run data centers more and more efficiently.”

Perpendicular vs. HAMR Recording

From what we can tell, Seagate’s HAMR technology will debut in a 20 TB HDD, but the company may skip 22 TB SKUs and transition directly to 24 TB drives if it makes sense for the market. HAMR also seems to be at a stage where that level of storage is clearly feasible.

“I am not going to announce the 24-terabyte product just yet, but that’s definitely the goal of HAMR, is to be able to go well beyond that,” Mosley noted. “That’s what we can do with components that are in our labs right now.”

Western Digital, Seagate’s biggest competitor, is working on an alternative technology called microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR), which relies on microwave fields rather than lasers to enable finer writing. Mosley claims that HAMR is the superior option, however.

“We know MAMR really well,” said Mosley. “It’s a viable technology, but it’s, again, a small turn of the crank. What we believe is that HAMR, largely because of the media technology, the ability to store in much, much smaller grain sizes with better signal noise, with much more permanence, we believe that HAMR is the right path.”

Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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