Seagate announced this week that it began commercial shipping of its hard drives using heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology back in November. The company has also expanded its test supply program for HDDs with two independent magnetic head units (Mach.2), which provide higher performance.
The company is confident that its technology portfolio will continue to grow capacity and improve the performance of magnetic hard drives for years to come. Increasing the HDD capacity is important, but with the growth of capacity, write density, linear read and write speed, IOPS performance for random read and write per 1 TB decreases, which affects the operation of the data center. To increase the speed and IOPS per TB, manufacturers are equipping hard drives with technologies like Mach.2. Seagate was the first HDD manufacturer to unveil its Multi-Actuator Technology (MAT) in late 2017, and in 2019 began shipping samples of such drives under the Exos 2X14 Mach.2 brand to select customers.
Now the interest in Mach.2 hard drives has grown significantly, so the company decided to expand the testing program and increase the volume of supplies. The company expects demand for such drives to grow along with the increase in HDD capacity. Unfortunately, it is still unclear when Seagate plans to fully market its dual-head drive hard drives.
On the data center side, the demand for large-capacity HDDs with increased energy efficiency is also growing. Last summer, Seagate began shipping 18TB drives with nine platters, and shipments are expected to skyrocket soon as customers are satisfied with the reliability. Seagate uses the same technology to produce a 20TB HDD with HAMR.
HAMR-enabled hard drives are currently available to select customers and only as part of Seagate Lyve storage systems. Later, these drives will be sold separately and to a wider range of customers. Meanwhile, the mass adoption of the current 20 TB models may not take place – Seagate expects HAMR to increase the capacity of hard drives by 20% per year, so that in the foreseeable future there may be 24 TB models, which the data center will bet on. In the meantime, Seagate is increasing the pace of release of 18 TB solutions.
“We have reached a technological milestone by shipping discs with HAMR 20TB in Calendar Year 2020 – Paving the Way for Seagate Success for many years to come “ Seagate CEO Dave Mosley said, adding that the HAMR will be able to further significantly bypass SSDs at the cost of 1GB of data.
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