technical excellence

Seagate Exos X16: Big data aerodynamics


Sergey Gritsachuk

Seagate Exos X16: Big data aerodynamics

Because the speed marathon of mechanical type drives (HDDs, HDDs) do not win, their developers are betting on capacity, so there is a separation of target usage patterns: SSDs will
to lead as system drives (as well as to store software that requires fast disk operations), and HDD will remain in demand as high-volume long-term repositories of information.
Well, NHMD is likely to eventually go into the corporate segment, and the reasons for that will become clear from today’s review.

Before us, the industry leader in high-capacity drives is the 16-terabyte Seagate Exos X16. Not so long ago, 12- and 14-terabyte versions were introduced, and 18-terabyte is expected in the future. However, on
by all indications, the latter is likely to be the ancestor of the next generation of magnetic recording technology – with HAMR (Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording), and demonstrated
The 16-TB drive is the last of the Mohicans to squeeze everything out of two-dimensional recording technology (TDMR). And this is not only typical for Seagate – Toshiba and WD are going in the same direction.

But back to Exos X16, specifically the ST16000NM001G. In general, it can be described as a high-capacity mechanical type drive, made in the classic form factor of 3.5 “, with
four fixing holes on the sides and bottom, equipped with SATA interface, without built-in encryption features. Structurally, the model is a welded type box (seam
clearly visible, no rubber seal), which houses nine magnetic plates and a block of 18 heads.

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Helium-filled interior space filled with helium: evidence not only of welds (rubber gaskets are not able to provide the necessary tightness), but also the absence
ventilation openings. Outside, at the bottom, is a control board, m and quite small, which indicates another improvement in the chips of controllers – they have become even more compact.
However, traditional circuitry is not abandoned: the controller of the mechanical part and the processor of the data processing are executed not only in separate cases, but also spaced, and placed between
a typical 256MB DDR3 memory chip.

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Two vibration sensors are diagonally soldered across the corners of the board, apparently enough to detect detonation, resonances and other overloads. The role of these devices is not possible
to reduce: early response to mechanical overload can significantly increase the life of the drive, reduce the number of failures and other critical problems. Processing information from
The sensors are carried out directly by the controller and the firmware, ie almost at the physical level.

Thanks to the helium environment and optimized management of the nodes of the drive, it was possible to significantly reduce the range of operating temperatures: even under heavy load, the NMSH heat does not go beyond 45 ° C.
(Of course, with normal air convection). If the drive is installed in a tight confined space with “hot” neighbors, it is necessary to arrange forced heat removal. By the way,
Not only the mechanical part is heated: the controllers’ chips are communicated with the surface of the hard disk through thermal pads, and therefore, it plays the role of a radiator.

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The testing of the device does not show anything extraordinary – the diagrams are a classic smooth curve. Speed ​​characteristics are almost extreme for models of this type: linear
the reading slows down when moving from the edge to the center of the plates, averaging about 205 MB / s (300 to 120 MB / s). The same picture when recording – from 289 to 130 MB / s.

Improvements in operations with small blocks of data should be noted, but this is only an indication of the optimization of the mathematical model in the firmware, which can thus be
to consider actually licked to shine – further refinement of the effect code will not bring.

The release of a reliable, stable, 16-terabyte version of the hard disk drive has become another convincing proof: the advancement in the speed of technology used is not
to provide. And with the increasing strength of the obvious problems – apparently, we are watching a peak level of achievement. Helium, nine plates and TDMR clearly completed their winning run, remains
just expect HAMR / MAMR solutions.

Competing with SSDs for the speed of read / write operations, even the most advanced HDD is out of the question (which is logical), so their parish is still a cold storage area. And the scope
– the corporate segment where high capacity repositories are in demand in archiving and backup systems, file repositories, video surveillance systems, etc. In the household segment of them
dissemination is limited by the high price – here, even reducing the value of a piece of information does not play a decisive role.

technical excellence

tests and reviews, hard drive

high capacity
Improved speed performance

The high price

IT-Expert Magazine [№ 12/2019],

Seagate

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