HAMR's twin brother

Subject: General Tech | November 21, 2013 - 12:46 PM |
Tagged: HAMR, western digital

In the race to increase the areal density of HDDs the tech to work towards is currently Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording as the current shingle technique has helped us increase storage capacity by a small amount but not enough to be the next evolution.  Seagate announced their strategy to develop HAMR technology over a year ago but we have yet to see a prototype.  Western Digital has just shown off their version of HAMR to a bevvy of journalists, not including The Register, with a working prototype.  WD predicts densities reaching 4 terabits per square inch, making an 8TB 2.5" drive a possibility but they have not predicted a release date yet.

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think bigger than this

"In September 2012, Seagate boss Steve Luczo gave a presentation using a HAMR technology disk drive. Now, more than a year later, a WD exec has done the same with the company's own HAMR tech drive."

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Source: The Register

HAMRs, Shingles and SSD cached HDDs; size versus speed

Subject: General Tech | August 8, 2013 - 01:58 PM |
Tagged: HAMR, SMR, cache, hdd, Seagate, western digital, hgst, helium

Enthusiasts are wholeheartedly adopting SSDs for their storage media of choice with HDDs relegated to long term storage of infrequently accessed storage.  For SMB and enterprise it is not such an easy choice as the expense to move to a purely SSD infrastructure is daunting and often not the most cost effective way to run their business.  That is why HDD makers continue to develop new technology for platter based storage such as HAMR and shingled magnetic media in an attempt to speed up platter drives as well as increasing the storage density.  Today at The Register you can read about a variety of technologies that will keep the platter alive, from Seagate's cached Enterprise Turbo SSHD, HGST's helium filled drives and the latest predictions on when HAMR and SMR drives could arrive on the market.

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"At a briefing session for tech journos yesterday, Seagate dropped hints of new solid-state hybrid drives (SSHDs) - which combine a non-volatile NAND cache with spinning platters - and a general session about Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) and Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR)."

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Source: The Register

Hopefully you have had chicken pox already, otherwise you might want to skip Shingled HDDs

Subject: General Tech | June 26, 2013 - 12:56 PM |
Tagged: HAMR, western digital, ssd, hdd, Areal Density

Western Digital, along with Seagate, Toshiba, and Hitachi are working on the next step in increasing the storage density of platter based drives while HAMR is still in the works.  They will be adding overlapping tracks to their platters, which they are referring to as shingles (as in the roof, not the pox).  There will be two types implemented, with the first type having the shingling hidden to ensure compatibility with existing applications which might take exception to overlapping data tracks.  Type two will not hide its light under a bushel and will require applications to be aware of the shingling and hopefully take full advantage of the new type of magnetic recording.  According to the presentation that The Register attended we will see shingles in the near future, with HAMR due in 2016.

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"Over the coming years the remaining players will be pushing traditional technology to its limits to extend the life of hard disk technology. While the industry is pretty much standardised on perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) at present, in a couple of years there will be more fundamental hard drive technologies co-existing in the market than there are hard drive vendors."

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Source: The Register

Seagate Achieves 1 Terabit Per Square Inch Storage Density

Subject: Storage | March 20, 2012 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: storage, Seagate, hard drives, HAMR, density, 1 Tb/in^2

In April 2006 Seagate began shipping the first 3.5" desktop hard drive using Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) technology and since then PMR has become essential in allowing all of the hard drive manufacturers to create the 2 TB+ drives available today. As we approach the limits of what drive manufacturers are able to do using PMR alone; however, they are starting to look at additional technologies to boost the storage density. One such technology on the horizon is Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording, or HAMR. According to a recent press release, Seagate is not only experimenting with HAMR but is the first drive manufacturer to use HAMR to reach 1 Terabit per square in of areal density.

HAMR works by using a laser to heat up the storage medium before the compounds used to store data have their orientation aligned by the write heads of the drive. As bits get smaller and smaller, traditional magnetic recording methods are not strong enough to permanently change the magnetic orientation of the bits, which means that there is an inherent, if theoretical, minimum bit size and corresponding maximum storage density possible with current Perpendicular Magnetic Recording. HAMR further allows drive makers to get around that limitation by heating the physical bits to the point that traditional magnetic write heads can change the orientation.

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Via Bit-Tech.  The laser heats up the platter before being written to.

The current 1 Terabit per square inch achieved using HAMR is also the theoretical maximum storage density for PMR alone (as mentioned above), which is promising as it implies HAMR still has a lot of working room to improve and has matched the maximum proposed for PMR.

Seagate expects to use HAMR to produce 60 TB+ 3.5" and 20 TB+ 2.5" hard drives within the next ten years. To put this areal density in perspective, current 3 TB desktop drives feature approximately 620 Gigabits per square inch while current 750 GB laptop (2.5") drives feature about 500 Gigabits per square inch.  Interestingly, when comparing the 1 Tb/in^2 mechanical drive density to flash (ie SSD) storage at equivalent densities, it works out such that a single bit equals 1nm of flash storage!

Unfortunately, we won't be seeing 60 TB drives any time soon. Rather, Seagate expects 6 TB desktop drives and 2 TB laptop drives to be the most immediate benefits of the heat assisted recording technology. Still, as my 2 TB drive is filling up more quickly than I ever imagined (thanks to working with HD video and making regular backups of data), I welcome as much increased storage as I can get!

Source: Seagate