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HAMR HDD capacities to scale from 4TB in 2016 to 100TB in 2025

by Mark Tyson on 24 August 2015, 11:01

Tags: Seagate (NASDAQ:STX)

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Seagate plans to build the first HAMR (Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording ) HDD prototypes towards the end of next year, reports Softpedia. Initially the drives will be produced in admittedly pedestrian capacities, for testing of the technology. However the head of HAMR development at Seagate, Jan-Ulrich Thiele, expects the technology to be able to facilitate the mass production of 100TB capacity drives by 2025.

HAMR is a data recording process which, as suggested by the acronym, is heat assisted. A laser is deployed to heat the platter surfaces to be written to, to about 450°C. The heating laser uses a 810mm wavelength and 20mW power – but only a tiny part of the surface is heated at any time and thus it can cool quite quickly. Heating the surface changes the magnetic properties of the disc for a short time to bypass the ambient temperature limited areal density of the magnetic recording.

With the first prototypes, at least, there is going to be a bit of a form-factor problem. To accommodate the writing head with integrated laser Seagate will have to leave slightly more space between the hard disk platters. Thus the first generation of HAMR hard drives will be a bit larger than the industry standard 3.5-inch HDD. From the sound of it, the drives will need only to be larger in one dimension.

With the HAMR prototype tests only due to start in a year or more from now and mass produced drives becoming in limited capacities starting from 2018, Seagate will have a job on its hands to combat the rise of SSD - in storage capacities and adoption. Seagate is reportedly making the new drives available to select cloud and hyper-scale datacentre customers to begin with. Only a fortnight ago, at the Flash Memory Summit, Toshiba said SSDs with its 3D NAND will reach capacities of 128TB SSDs sometime in 2018 (see slide below).

HEXUS Forums :: 26 Comments

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4gb hdds?
Well they did say they needed to start on small capacities to test the technology first.

I would take a lot of convincing that this is a safe solution given the need to heat bits to high temp to get a write. Where is that heat going to dissipate to? How can you be 100% sure that it wrote it properly?
This all sounds very interesting, and progress is a good thing, BUT…
1) How to back up such huge drives? Another of a same type drive?
2) backups and Formats will take weeks lol!!
3) What happens if you get a head crash? huge data loss, unless its part of a decent NAS system.
4) I understand that SSD's have a finite/limited number of writes, which dictates their lifespan, how does this compare to traditional HDD's? which are going to be longer lasting? What is the expected life span of each format?
5) For the average home user, individual huge drives are not required generally for daily use, but cheaper RAID/NAS solutions for storage of large volumes of digital media (Photo's and Music etc) are most appealing.
If 100TB is their aim for next 10 years, then I really hope seagate has some other tech to support them.
Wtf, a 4Gb HDD? Is that even worth building?