Feeds

Hitachi GST spots oyster, seeks HDD pearls

Storage doesn't have to spin

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Areal density

Hitachi's engineers seem able to keep on getting more out of current technology. The latest 500 gig mobile drive has a 375Gbit/sq in areal density using TMR (Tunnelling Magneto-Resistive) heads and perpendicular recording technology. The company's engineers have demonstrated a 610Gbit/sq in areal density products with the same head technology. This means it wouldn't need to move to the next head technology, CPP-GMR (Current Perpendicular to the Plane - Giant Magneto-Resistive), until it needed to progress beyond that level.

Kyriacou said: "Developing existing technology tends to be a lower-risk option [than introducing new technology]." He thinks that areal density growth has been up to 60 per cent a year and that this may continue.

Once CPP-GMR heads are used then perpendicular recording may run out of steam and either bit-patterned media (BPM) or thermally-assisted recording introduced. His feeling is that bit-patterning will be used: "A year ago there was a diversity of opinion about BPM and thermally-assisted recording. Now there is a consensus that patterned media will come first."

Intuition says that adding a heating laser function to a read head is going to be more difficult than introducing and developing CPP-GMR heads on their own.

Kyriacou says Hitachi GST has more patents in the HDD space than any other supplier and is very confident that Hitachi can keep up if not lead in areal density technology developments.

External drive market

It is notable that Hitachi GST does not sell external storage drives for use as home and small office/home office (SOHO) backup devices or media players like Seagate's Free Agents or its Maxtor One Touches or, indeed, Western Digital's Passport line. Asked about this Kyriacou said: "It's an area we don't play in. The disadvantage is we don't have access to a fast-growing market. An advantage is that we don't compete with our customers." La Cie, for example, is a Hitachi GST customer.

Developments in this area are ongoing with storage servers developing to backup up connected hosts, to provide media serving to TVs, network access to files, and remote access to their content over the web.

Kyriacou then said: "But it's such a big part of the market I would be very surprised if we were not assessing being in that space."

Well, well. This is not a company on the ropes. This is a supplier quite determined to extend its product line where feasible and quite confident it can hold its own in the HDD technology stakes. By the end of next year, we might expect Hitachi GST's hard drives to have 40-60 per cent more capacity than they do now, meaning a 750GB 2.5-inch drive for example, a Hitachi enterprise flash drive to be a possibility, and for Hitachi to have signalled its external drive intentions more clearly. These are the three pearls we might find in Hitachi's oyster. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners
Crossing Sandy Bridges without stopping for breath
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?