Seagate: Hard Drives Will Soon Reach 60 TB

Perpendicular vs HAMR RecordingSeagate continues to push the storage envelope with the announcement that it is first hard disk drive manufacturer to create a  storage density of 1 terabyte per square inch.

This new technology will double the current storage capacity of previous drives and further prepare the world for 3.5-inch hard drives that can support 60 terabytes. You’ll have to wait for that though, since it’s expected to happen over the next decade.

How do they do it?

To achieve this milestone, Seagate used heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) recording technology, which increased the linear bit density of about 2 million bits per inch, or more than 1 trillion bits per square inch. This is 55 percent higher than today’s perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology which can hold 620 gigabits per square inch.

Using PMR technology, the 3.5-inch hard drives managed to reach 3 terabytes and the 2.5-inch hard drives 750 gigabytes. First 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch hard drives that use HAMR technology will double the current biggest capacities and reach 6 terabytes and 2 terabytes. It will be just the first step toward achieving 30-60 terabytes of storage for hard drives.

Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) was introduced in 2006 and replaced the old longitudinal recording technology, which dates from 1956. The PMR technology limit is almost 1 terabyte per square inch and it has not been achieved yet.

For big hard drive capacities, manufacturers shrink a platter’s data bits to pack more within each square inch of disk space. Specialists tighten the data tracks; the concentric circles on the disk’s surface that anchor the bits. The main goal of achieving this areal density gain is to do this without having disruptions of the bits’ magnetization, since this might damage data.

Mark Re the senior vice president of Heads and Media Research and Development of Seagate said:

The growth of social media, search engines, cloud computing, rich media and other data-hungry applications continues to stoke demand for ever greater storage capacity. Hard disk drive innovations like HAMR will be a key enabler of the development of even more data-intense applications in the future, extending the ways businesses and consumers worldwide use, manage and store digital content.

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