WD May Have Given HDDs New Life for Big-Data Storage

James Marshall
October 12, 2017

He pointed to the years of research Western Digital has put into the technology as well as its prior investments in Damascene.

To ensure that the cost difference between the two keeps hard drives competitive over time with flash storage in big data or other large-capacity requirements, the hard drive industry needs to find a good replacement for the current PMR, or perpendicular magnetic recording, technology which is starting to reach its limits in terms of capacity and data "writability", Collins said.

The breakthrough, Western Digital explains, comes from the development of a spin-torque oscillator which is able to generate a microwave field to increase the ability of the magnetic read-write head to address significantly higher areal densities. We have a proven track record for identifying, investing in and delivering advanced technologies that create new product categories and enable the world to realize the possibilities of data.

That gives MAMR a 100-times better data writing lifetime than HAMR, letting Western Digital talk about hard drives with up to 40 TBs and more in capacity with 2.5 million hours of reliability and a five-year warranty, he said. "While the company didn't share the precise density of its prototype design, it did claim that MAMR technology should lead to areal densities of four terabits per square inch (4Tb/in²) and 3.5" hard drives of 40TB capacity 'and beyond' by 2025.

Cordano, citing his company's own analysis of the storage market, said that by 2020, about 70 percent of the total storage capacity is expected to still reside on hard drives as opposed to flash or other media. In addition to HelioSeal helium-filled drive technology, MAMR also builds upon the company's micro actuation and recording head manufacturing technologies.

WD also showcased advancements in microactuation and Damascene recording head technology.

Western Digital expects to begin shipping disk drives in 2019 "for use in data centers that support Big Data applications across a full range of industries". "Commercialization of MAMR technology will pave the way to higher recording densities, and lower cost per terabyte hard disk drives for enterprise datacenters, video surveillance systems, and consumer NAS products". At an event in San Jose, California, the company demonstrated microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR), a technology that should enable hard drives with 40TB of capacity and beyond that by 2025.

WD, the storage media maker formerly known as Western Digital, believes it has bypassed a threshold that will open doors to more capacious, more efficient storage operation inside HDDs for big data workloads.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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