Feeds

Mystery HDD maker orders kit to build monster-capacity drives

Patterned-media mass-production equipment ordered

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push
'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.