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Xyratex no-go for bit-patterned media

Lithography economics to blame

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Xyratex thinks heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) will be the follow-on technology to perpendicular magnetic recording for the hard disk drive industry.

Harold Lehon, an exec VP and general manager covering hard disk drive (HDD) capital equipment at Xyratex, thinks lithography cost issues will prevent bit-patterned media technology taking hold - it being cheaper to heat bits than pattern them.

Stifel analyst Aaron Rakers met with Xyratex recently and said that revenues could be healthy due to expected strong sales from OEM customer NetApp, and IBM where, he thought, XIV sales had now been added to sales reps' incentive plans. Xyratex is the only supplier of drive enclosures for XIV products. The 78 per cent annual growth in Dell/EqualLogic sales should also help Xyratex as it supplies the backend enclosures for that product line as well.

Lehon sees a slowing increase in the rate of growth of areal density as perpendicular magnet recording (PMR) technology matures. He reckons that because demand for content storage is not letting up there will be an increase in the number of heads and media components in HDDs to compensate.

That means we are looking at an increase in the number of platters per drive as a way to drive up capacity, with a concomitant increase in the number of heads as well.

The PMR to HAMR transition may take place during 2012 and 2013. ®

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