Seagate has once again reaffirmed its intentions to release HAMR MACH-2 HDDs with capacities of over 50 TB by 2026. building on the existing 14-20 TB HAMR drives, the vendor plans on launching 30+TB hard drives in 2023, followed by 40+TB and 50+TB in 2024, and 2026, respectively.
We are well down the development path towards launching our 30+ TB family of drives based on HAMR technology. We expect to begin customer shipments of these HAMR-based products by this time next year.
However, like the existing HAMR offerings, the rollout will be slow and gradual, with only select customers getting the first wave of shipments. The 30 TB drives will be mass-produced not before 2024. The shift from PMR to HAMR will allow for significantly denser HDDs, greatly bolstering data center and enterprise capacity.
HAMR increases the storage density by 5-10 times over PMR, greatly pushing the upper limits of high-capacity HDDs. Thanks to the adoption of multi-actuator technologies such as MACH.2, transfer rates of next-gen mechanical drives will also be significantly higher. We’re talking about sequential transfer rates of up to 480MB/s, pretty much on par with SATA SSDs.
Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR): PMR or Conventional Magnetic Recording (CMR) is the oldest method of recording data to magnetic media. It works by aligning the poles of the magnetic elements (bits) perpendicularly to the surface of the disk. These magnetic tracks are written side-by-side, without overlapping.
Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR): SMR is essentially PMR on steroids. It increases the areal data density by overlapping each new track with part of the previous one, just like the shingles on a roof. This overlapping reduces the head thickness, thereby expanding areal density.
Heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), on the other hand, offers a multi-generational leap in drive density by briefly heating the magnetic platter during recording. This makes the disks more sensitive to the magnetic effects of the read/write head, thereby allowing the recording of data to much smaller blocks. This increases the data density and the overall capacity of the drive.