Seagate, WD mull 10-platter HDDs as pitstop before HAMR, MAMR time

Conventional drives could boast 20TB capacities by 2020

With 10-platter conventionally recorded disk drives touting capacities of up to 20TB by 2021, the arrival of HAMR and MAMR drives could slip back to 2022.

Trendfocus, a research firm specialising in data storage, suggests the launch of conventional technology in 18TB capacities in the second half of 2020 could delay the adoption of shingled magnetic recording (SMR) until the following year. Such SMR drives would have a 20TB capacity.


Seagate's HAMR to drop in 2020: Multi-actuator disk drives on the way


In a 4 October report to subscribers, Wells Fargo analyst Aaron Rakers said SMR nearline volumes remained low. Vendors must sort out their host-managed schemes to better meet performance requirements before large-scale adoption takes place, Trendfocus added.

In turn, this could shift HAMR/MAMR adoption to 2022.

In the meantime, disk manufacturers could add capacity by bringing 10-platter drives to market. An 18TB nine-platter drive would then become a 20TB 10-platter product, assuming no increase in areal density. All HDD manufacturers continue to assess backup plans for such 10-platter drives, Trendfocus said. That would imply they would arrive in 2021.

Spinning platters

Conventional disk drives use perpendicular magnetic recording technology. There is a limit to their areal density, and therefore capacity. This is caused by increasing recorded bit state unreliability. As the bit areas become smaller, with areal densities beyond 1,200Gb per square inch, binary value becomes harder and harder to read, and can reverse as the bits are prone to flip.

Seagate and Western Digital have turned to alternative technologies to increase capacity beyond this limit.

The Cupertino firm's HAMR (Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording) and WD's MAMR (Microwave-Assisted Magnetic Recording) HDDs are classed as nearline drives, and rotate at 7,200rpm. They are filled with helium to allow thinner and more platters than air-filled disks – helium resistance is lower than air.

Seagate and Western Digital are currently making nine-platter drives. WD's DC H550 tops out at 18TB and the SMR DC H650 reaches 20TB. They use some aspects of WD's MAMR technology but are not full MAMR drives.

Seagate's Exos X16 is a 16TB, nine-platter conventionally recorded drive with 1,000Gb per square inch area density. The company expects to introduce 18TB conventional HAMR drives and 20TB SMR HAMR drives with production ramping in the first half of 2020, both with nine platters. ®

Other stories you might like

  • Deepfake attacks can easily trick live facial recognition systems online
    Plus: Next PyTorch release will support Apple GPUs so devs can train neural networks on their own laptops

    In brief Miscreants can easily steal someone else's identity by tricking live facial recognition software using deepfakes, according to a new report.

    Sensity AI, a startup focused on tackling identity fraud, carried out a series of pretend attacks. Engineers scanned the image of someone from an ID card, and mapped their likeness onto another person's face. Sensity then tested whether they could breach live facial recognition systems by tricking them into believing the pretend attacker is a real user.

    So-called "liveness tests" try to authenticate identities in real-time, relying on images or video streams from cameras like face recognition used to unlock mobile phones, for example. Nine out of ten vendors failed Sensity's live deepfake attacks.

    Continue reading
  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022