Seagate Hits 35 Million SMR HDDs and Details HAMR Roadmap
Samuel Wan / 2 weeks ago
During their recent call with investors, Seagate made a number of major announcements. Seagate is one of the few hard disk drive manufacturers remaining. The company remains one of the few innovators along with Western Digital and Toshiba. While SSD manufacturers have taken increasingly large chunks of the storage market, there is still room for hard drives. During the call, Seagate shared their SMR sales as well as a timeline for HAMR based drives.
Hard disk manufacturers are facing a tough struggle to increase density without hurting performance. Western Digital/Hitachi chose to prioritise with Helium to increase platter count. Seagate focused instead more on SMR which is shingled magnetic recording. Launched in 2013, SMR overwrites a bit of data on previous tracks to allow for higher density. This comes at the cost of reducing performance as some extra data needs to rewritten. Despite this downside, SMR has done well on the market. Seagate has now shipped their 35th million SMR hard disk drive.
Along with the SMR update, Seagate also revealed their HAMR plans. HAMR or Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording uses a laser to achieve more precise writing, increasing density. HAMR has made the rounds for the past couple of years but not timeframe had been given. Seagate is confirming that the first commercial drives will become available in late 2018. Due to the increased density, the company will be able to offer 16TB drives from the get-go. This will be welcome in data centres which are limited to about 12TB drives right now. With SSDs breaking their storage capacity records every year, HDD will need this extra boost to help their competitiveness.