Feeds

Mystery HDD maker orders kit to build monster-capacity drives

Patterned-media mass-production equipment ordered

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Hard drives could experience a massive increase in capacity next year now that a "major" HDD maker has placed an order for equipment to mass-produce 'patterned media' drives.

Earlier this week, Malmö, Sweden-based fabrication-equipment maker Obducat announced it had reached an agreement with "a major player in th HDD industry" to supply the unnamed company with up to SKR66m ($11.13m) worth of lithography hardware.

Obducat will provide the mystery vendor with a "production-ready" Sindre lithography machine, used to create the high data-density surfaces used by the new drive technology. More equipment orders may follow, the Swedish firm said.

Fujitsu is a possible candidate for the HDD maker behind the Obducat deal - it has worked on patterned media technology since 2005. Canon was working on the technology in the early years of the decade and continues to do so, but it's not a major hard drive maker.

The technique involves establishing microscopic 'nanoholes' within a sheet of aluminium oxide. The holes form a pattern, hence the name.

Obducat Sindre-producted patterned media

Patterned media nanoholes

Each hole is filled with a magnetic material, each holding a single data bit. The surrounding oxide insulates each hole from its neighbours, preventing data corruption.

The holes are so small, they can only be created using the lithography techniques employed to make microprocessors and other chips.

Obducat claims its Sindre systems have been used to create holes as small at 17nm in diameter - not far short of the 13nm that Fujitsu last year reckoned was required to yield an areal density of 1TB per square inch.

That compares with the 65GB per square inch record claimed by Western Digital back in October 2007 - and even that's higher than the 25GB per square inch density of typical HDDs.

Obducat said its customer will take delivery of the first Sindre litho systems in "the first half of 2009". The machines are designed to work on 4, 6 or 8in wafers and, Obducat claims, can churn out discs at a rate of up to 30 per hour.

Yields are another matter, of course, but the company has the best part of a year to work on that, with further tweaking once its customer gets the systems in place. Another major challenge is getting the nanoholes into the precise order needed for read/write heads to access their contents efficiently.

Thanks to reader Patrik Stockselius for the tip

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
Turnbull should spare us all airline-magazine-grade cloud hype
Box-hugger is not a dirty word, Minister. Box-huggers make the cloud WORK
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
Do you spend ages wasting time because of a bulging rack?
No more cloud-latency tea breaks for you, users! Get a load of THIS
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.