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WD demonstrates its high density HAMR HDD technology

by Mark Tyson on 15 November 2013, 14:37

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Western Digital has for the first time shown off its heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) tech. The new tech hopes to bring much greater areal density (AD) and thus storage capacities to spinning disk drives by using laser thermal recording assistance.

Last week we saw another WD innovation in boosting HDD speeds, efficiency and capacity when WD subsidiary HGST announced availability of its hermetically sealed, helium-filled HDDs to enterprise. The less dense Helium lowers friction within the HDD case which encapsulates the spinning platters, meaning that more platters can be fitted in the same area and they require less power to operate and create less wasted energy as heat among various other benefits.

The HAMR technology will boost capacities further by increasing the data density of the HDD platters. At the 2013 China (Ningbo) International Forum on Advanced Materials and Commercialization WD’s vice president of technology, Dr. William Cain demonstrated a 2.5-inch WD HAMR hard drive.

We need more storage

“Analysts predict 25 trillion gigabytes of new data will be generated by 2020 and that average household storage needs in the U.S. will require as much as 3.3 TB by 2016,” said Dr. Cain. “This tremendous growth in data requires continued increases in storage capacity and performance for the cloud, big data and consumer technologies. WD is focused on hard drive innovations that will enable future storage capabilities, and HAMR technology is a key step in the migration path.”

WD says that the brief heating of the recording surface by the thermal laser during magnetic data recording has the potential to increase AD five-fold. Current HDD recording tech maxes out at around 750Gbits per square inch but with HAMR researchers expect to reach 4Terabits per square inch.

The HAMR process does, however, bring with it some additional complexities. For instance the media needs to be specially designed to meet a trio of magnetic, thermal and optical requirements. Also with any new technology in the storage tech business, the reliability and working life of these extra components needs to be thoroughly tested.

Seagate and TDK demonstrated their own HAMR technology HDDs in Tokyo early last month.



HEXUS Forums :: 15 Comments

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Analysts predict 25 trillion gigabytes of new data will be generated by 20201 and that average household storage needs in the U.S. will require as much as 3.3 TB by 20162


Well, yes, I imagine we'll need quite a bit more storage in 18,000 years' time ;)

Interesting to see storage coompanies planning on pushing mechnical drive technology forward still - obviously a strong feeling that solid state storage simply won't provide the necessary capacities for a significant number of years yet...
HAMR sounded promising when they first started talking about it. Extra capacity can't come soon enough, I could probably use up 25 trillion gigabytes on my own.. today.
That is a bl**dy lot of porn, virtuo. :P

If they can really get density up five fold, that would be an achievement. 5TB laptop drives would do me for a good while, at least until 4k goes mainstream.

@scaryjim, its not about the need for storage in the years to come. It's the need to store all your recorded phone calls, web surfing habits and phone GPS data in some facility in Utah. And yes they have the embarrassing video of that thing you did 2 weeks ago. :P
AETAaAS
@scaryjim, its not about the need for storage in the years to come. It's the need to store all your recorded phone calls, web surfing habits and phone GPS data in some facility in Utah. And yes they have the embarrassing video of that thing you did 2 weeks ago. :P

Normally I'd say a reasonable dose of paranoia is healthy, but I think that's just a little too tin-foin-hat-worthy to be healthy ;)

I'm not sure how people use so much digital storage, mind: I've just decided that my 120GB SSD probably isn't going to be big enough for my new laptop, but I can't see me using anywhere near the 1TB I've already got in there. In fact, I don't think there's a PC in my house with more than 1TB of storage, and I don't think any of them are even close to running out of space. How private individuals manage to consume terrabye upon terrabye of storage is a mystery to me...
No man, they got all your data and sh*t. The other day I pulled a microchip from my shoe. No idea how it got there, I don't even own shoes! But they are watching. Always watching. Always listening. One time, I ate a burger and the next day, when browsing the web I felt a little hungry then I saw an ad on the website for Burger King. I hadn't even said anything about that burger to anyone! They are out there... >.>

jk. I'm not that insane, but it is true to say that a lot of internet traffic is snooped on. And Utah was a reference to the big Utah Data Center (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Data_Center [en.wikipedia.org]). Some people say it's capacity is in the order of exa or zetabytes. Which can only mean one thing. They are recording each and every persons movements in full 1080p! Kidding again but I would not be surprised if your Skype/email/chat has been hoovered up in their massive intelligence gathering apparatus. I'm not too bothered unless they are trying to steal my technique for rocket launchers in Battlefield 4. Bastards. :P