Feeds

Seagate pushes HAMR as next big thing

Killer tech may arrive in 2015

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Seagate is bigging up HAMR (Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording) as the replacement to take us beyond the disk capacity limits of current PMR technology.

PMR (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording) involves the magnetisation of tiny bits of magnetic material, made up of grains, oriented vertically in the recording medium. As the size of these needle-like structures decreases so too does their ability to resist magnetism changes from temperature fluctuations and neighbouring PMR "needles".

Two ways have been suggested to get around this. One is bit-patterned media (BPM) recording, which involves putting an insulating doughnut-like ring around bits laid out in a precise and very hard to produce pattern. The other is to use a recording medium in which the tiny bits have to be heated in order to have their magnetic direction changed - this is called HAMR.

Both HAMR and BPM use will involve substantial and costly development and changes to production machinery. Shingle writing (using partially overlapping tracks to increase track density) is being proposed by suppliers such as Hitachi GST as a kind of temporary fix to extend the life of PMR by increasing capacity by 10-50 per cent.

As reported in ConceivablyTech, Seagate's recording media operations VP, Mark Re, thinks PMR can get areal density to 1Tbit/in2, and we'll reach that in the 2013-2015 period.

Some current drives, such as Toshiba's 750GB, 5400rpm, 2.5-inch MK7559GSXP and Seagate's 750GB, 7200rpm Momentus, are at 541Gbit/in2 and a jump to generally available 600Gbit/in2 class drives is surely coming soon. We appear to have two or three more PMR generations ahead of us before the 1Tbit/in2 limit is reached.

Re thinks HAMR could take areal density up to 50Tbit/in2. A HAMR/BPM combination could then conceivably take areal density to even higher levels. He says that HAMR drives will use an iron-platinum alloy and standard read/write heads, not the optical technology that Seagate acquired with Quinta in 1998. Seagate has made prototype HAMR drives but these are not capable of being productised yet.

It looks as if Seagate is currently betting its disk drive farm on HAMR and not BPM. It may bring in shingle writing as an interim PMR boost but, because of its write speed limitations, this may not apply to enterprise drives. Adding more platters might be the route chosen to increase enterprise drive capacity until HAMR becomes a viable production method.

Bootnote: Seagate trumpeted its HAMR intentions back in August, 2002. It said then HAMR could achieve 50Tbit/in2. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
'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!
CAGE MATCH: Microsoft, Dell open co-located bit barns in Oz
Whole new species of XaaS spawning in the antipodes
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
AWS pulls desktop-as-a-service from the PC
Support for PCoIP protocol means zero clients can run cloudy desktops
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.