Seagate Redefines HDD Performance with HAMR and MACH.2

/ 3 years ago

Seagate MACH.2 Multi-Actuator technology

There are a lot of interesting enterprise-oriented events going on at the moment, such ass the OCP summit. Here, Seagate has redefined what we can expect from hard disk drives (HDD) with their HAMR and MACH.2 technologies. We’ve heard of the HAMR before and we’ve also heard of the Exos X14 drive before, but now it’s closer than ever, and in a way we’ve only dreamed about.

MACH.2 Technology

We’ve gotten used to HDDs being the slow brother of SSDs, but Seagate engineers have set a new record for how fast data can stream data off of a hard drive. The technology behind it is the MACH.2 multi-actuator.

Using the Exos X14 Seagate HDD, the company has demonstrated up to 480MB/s sustained throughput. That’s the fastest ever from a single hard drive and about 60 percent faster than a 15K RPM drive – all while keeping things at a 7200 RPM.

The feat is achieved by using two actuators instead of just one, thereby doubling the IOPS performance of a single hard drive. The two actuators can transfer data to the host computer concurrently, which makes the math simple.

On its own, that’s already impressive. But when you start to scale that up in data centres, the whole thing becomes even more impressive. With the increase in storage demand, it’s easy to see how this will change how we look at the ‘good old’ hard disk.

This isn’t just a proof of concept anymore, it will be integrated into the Exo series “very soon”.

Seagate Exos X14

HAMR Technology

Where MACH.2 increases the performance, HAMR increases the reliability. We have touched the subject before and seen Seagate’s roadmap for the technology.

The industry’s standard specification for nearline hard drive reliability anticipates that a drive will be able to transfer 550TB per year, or 2750TB total over a five-year period. On a hard drive with 18 read/write heads, each head is expected to transfer 152TB reliably over five years. Seagate’s development team has now demonstrated a single HAMR read/write head transferring data for 6000 hours reliably, equaling 3.2 Petabytes of data transferred on a single head. That’s more than 20 times the amount of data required by the spec.

“On any hard drive meeting the industry specification, if all heads on the drive were writing 100 percent of the time in the field — which, of course, they do not — that would mean each head had written 152TB per head in total,” explained Jason Feist, Seagate’s director of Enterprise Product Planning. “Or to put it into Petabytes: the customer requirement is that a single head can write 0.152 Petabytes; we’re already writing 3.2 Petabytes on a single HAMR head.”

Together, Seagate HAMR and MACH.2 multi-actuator technologies maximize drive capacity while maintaining performance levels above data centre customers’ specifications. We have exciting times ahead of us, not just in the NVMe and NAND sectors.

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