WD Demos Future HDD Storage Tech: 60TB Hard Drives

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

Last week, Western Digital demonstrated its heat assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology at the 2013 China (Ningbo) International Forum on Advanced Materials and Commercialization.  

While not ready for commercial distribution, the demonstration showed WD's commitment to the technology designed to increase areal density (AD), which is about squeezing more data into a square inch on a disk without data loss.

The barrier to cramming more bits on to a drive is referred to as the paramagnetic limit. Trying to bypass this limit can result in data bits reversing polarity which can result in a disk drive full of useless data. 

HAMR technology attempts to push the paramagnetic limit by using a laser, which heats up the disk surface slightly while the data is being recorded which in turn keeps the data stable.  Using HAMR technology, Seagate, in 2012, had previously achieved a data density milestone of 1 terabit of data per square inch.  Current data density is 750 gigabits per square inch on existing drives.

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There have been many projections related to how quickly higher capacity drives using HAMR technology would be available on the market and how large they would be.  Seagate demonstrated its HAMR technology at CEATEC 2013 in Japan, just last month.  According to a statement made to IDG News Service by Seagate's Chief Technology Officer Mark Re, Seagate expects to start selling HAMR drives in 2016.

It's projected that through the use of HAMR technology,  2.5 inch drives could potentially store up to 20TB and a 3.5 inch drive could potentially store up to 60TB.  Actual devices will likely start out considerably smaller.

Although these technologies are still a few years away from being commercially available, they will be needed to address the ever expanding appetite for storage from the private home users to the large scale enterprises.

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