While SSDs keep getting faster, there haven't been a whole lot of advancements in the hard disk drive world. One of the biggest developments going on right now may be Multi Actuator, a new technique to equip HDDs with two actuators. By making each actuator control half of a disk's arms, HDD makers are able to roughly double the performance, without compromising latency.
Seagate showed off its MACH.2 Multi Actuator at the OCP summit this week by demonstrating a HDD with a sustained throughput of 480MB/s. That's 60 percent faster than a 15K disk, making it the fastest HDD in the world.
At the same event, Seagate also said that its HAMR (Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording) technology is ready for commercialization. The HDD maker has HAMR read/write heads that can transfer data reliably for 6000 hours, equaling 3.2PB of data. That exceeds the industry's standard specification by a factor of 20. The first HAMR consumer disk are expected before the end of the year.
Seagate said a 14TB HDD with dual-actuators will ship in 2019, this disk will use PMR technology. Higher-capacity models with HAMR technology are expected in 2020.
It will be followed by a multi-actuator HAMR drive with 20+TB capacity in 2020, followed in turn by 30+TB drives in 2021/2022 and 40+TB around 2023.
Single-actuator HAMR drives are set for release with a 20+TB model in 2020, a 30+TB drive in 2021/2022 and a 40+ TB one in 2022/2023.
Seagate believes it can maintain a 10x $/GB gap between HDDs and SSDs through the leverage of next-generation technologies such as HAMR to drive to 2Tbpsi areal density (supporting 20TB HDDs) and ultimately 10Tbpsi (100TB HDDs), supporting a forecasted nine-year areal density CAGR of +30 per cent.
Multi-actuator disks from WD and Toshiba are also in the works, but we haven't heard a lot of details about those disks yet.