Do you need space? Seagate works on a 30TB HAMR HDD

Do you need space? Seagate works on a 30TB HAMR HDD

Seagate has been a strong advocate of heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology for years and has even shipped thousands of such hard drives to select customers. But apparently the company has no plans to make the first generation of its HAMR-based HDDs a high-volume product yet. Apparently, the company is already working on the second generation HAMR units it plans to launch on the mass market.

“We have a 20TB HAMR that we started selling in December last year, […] we are only by producing enough quantity that we can send to our main customers so that they can familiarize themselves with the new unit "- said Gianluca Romano, CFO of Seagate, at the Citi 2021 Global Technology Virtual Conference (as reported by SeekingAlpha) -" We are developing the our second generation HAMR drive which is likely to be around 30TB. This is the unit we want to increase production volumes for. "

Romano did not disclose when the company expects its second generation HAMR platform to hit the market. However, bearing in mind that Seagate plans to launch a 50TB HDD in fiscal year 2025 (which will end in mid-2025), it is reasonable to expect the company to make its 30TB hard drives available a little sooner (think about the calendar year 2023 or early 2024). On the one hand, this means that Seagate still has aggressive plans for HAMR, but on the other hand, it suggests that the high-volume launch of this technology will be postponed slightly.

Seagate's HAMR technology allows the company to increase the area density of its HDDs significantly and rather quickly. Modern 20TB nine-platter HDDs have an area density of approximately 1.116Tb / inch². Seagate has demonstrated that its HAMR technology can support area densities up to 2.6Tb / inch² and grow to 6Tb / inch² by 2030 to deliver 100TB 3.5 ”HDDs. But HAMR is complicated in that it requires not only new heads, but new media as well, which is perhaps what slows its adoption for mass-produced products.

Key companies using high-capacity HDDs currently operate in the world of exascale datacenters. Many of these are not afraid to employ new technologies; hence, they will likely adopt HAMR-based drives before Seagate launches its second generation HAMR HDDs. It remains to be seen how Seagate intends to continue increasing the capacities of its hard drives before its next generation HAMR platform arrives. Both Toshiba and Western Digital use “energy-assisted magnetic recording” technologies for their high-end offerings. Meanwhile, Seagate's 18TB HDD is based on PMR and TDMR technologies, which have proven to be quite efficient but are believed to be outdated.