Over at the EEE International Magnetics Conference (InterMag), Seagate showed off a Business Storage 8-Bay Rackmount NAS loaded with eight prototype HDDs featuring heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) platters. The HDDs worked in RAID configuration and ran continuously for three days performing various workloads, showing the company is inching a bit closer to commercial shipments.
Seagate didn't reveal much information about its HAMR-based HDDs but noted disks will start shipping to select customers by 2017, with full production slated for 2018.
Seagate did not disclose any details about the HAMR-based hard drives. What we do know about them is that they use industry-standard Serial ATA-6Gb/s interface and can work with modern network area storage devices, which means that their power consumption and heat dissipation is comparable to those of today’s HDDs. The company already has appropriate electronics (e.g., controller chips, firmware, etc.), motors, read/write heads and other hardware necessary to build HAMR-based drives. Moreover, the demonstration shows that Seagate’s HAMR hard disks are already compatible with the company’s software. Finally, the drives not only work, but can be actually used for demanding workloads.
HAMR will enable big increases in areal density of magnetic platters, enabling platters with 2TB of storage capacity per square inch and then up to 4TB or even 5TB per square inch as the technology matures. This will enable enterprise-class six-platter HDDs with capacities of 40TB to 50TB and consumer disks with capacities of 25TB to 32TB.