Seagate: 60TB HDDs possible with next-generation storage tech

By on March 19, 2012, 6:30 PM

It's increasingly rare for mechanical drives to make headlines, but Seagate is beating the PR drum over an advancement that promises to drastically increase the capacity of hard drives. The company has achieved a storage density of 1 terabit per square inch, about 55% more than today's 620 gigabits per square inch. More abstractly, Seagate says that's more bits per square inch than our Milky Way galaxy has stars, which astronomers estimate between 200 and 400 billion.

At 620Gb per square inch, current 3.5-inch HDDs peak at 3TB, while Seagate's 2.5-inch consumer drives max out at 750GB. The new tech will roughly double that to 6TB and 2TB when it arrives "later this decade" and it will lead to astronomical capacities of up to 60TB over the following 10 years. Seagate hit the milestone with heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), which the company hails as a next-gen successor to 2006's perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR).

PMR is expected to peak at approximately 1Tb per square inch in the next few years, which is essentially the starting density of HAMR drives. "The technology offers a scale of capacity growth never before possible, with a theoretical areal density limit ranging from 5 to 10 terabits per square inch -- 30TB to 60TB for 3.5-inch drives and 10TB to 20TB for 2.5-inch drives," Seagate explained in its press release.

Along with avoiding concrete launch windows, the company omitted details about how HAMR works. We assume that's mostly because your eyes would glaze over, and not for competitive reasons as Fujitsu (acquired by Toshiba in 2009), Hitachi and presumably others have been tinkering with HAMR and other technologies for many years. A 2006 article by CNET does a good job of breaking things down.

The gist of it: Data is stored in bits that contain hundreds of cobalt-platinum grains representing either a 1 or 0. To increase capacities, engineers shrink the size of bits and grains. However, with current tech, we're approaching a point where further shrinkage could cause grains to flip between 1 and 0 at room temperature, resulting in data corruption. Reducing the number of grains per bit presents other issues.

CNET reported at the time that Seagate and others planned to solve the problem by replacing cobalt-platinum grains with iron-platinum ones that wouldn't flip at room temperature. Thus enters the "heat-assisted" part of HAMR: drives have an integrated laser to heat the bits and record data. It's safe to assume other hard drive makers won't take Seagate's announcement lying down, so it'll be interesting to see whether their next-gen drives use similar HAMR-based solutions or something entirely different.

**HDD image via Vitaly Korovin/Shutterstock




User Comments: 33

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Zeromus said:

Yes. Finally, with capacities like that one hard drive in one system is enough for any individual. And scaling raid solutions have more headroom with 60 terabytes.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Whoah now that is a nice number I must say!

'''''By 2030, a micro-SD card (or equivalent device) will have the storage capacity of 20,000 human brains.

By 2043, a micro-SD card (or equivalent device) will have a storage capacity of more than 500 billion gigabytes - equal to the entire contents of the Internet in 2009.*

By 2050 - if trends continue - a device the size of a micro-SD card will have storage equivalent to three times the brain capacity of the entire human race.'''''

[link]

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

Woot. Now I can lose more data all at once in a colossal harddrive failure. But seriously, I would rather them focus on making these things more reliable. If I dont back up my stuff I lose it all. If I do I practically have to budget each month for replacing failed harddrives.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

ranger12 said:

Woot. Now I can lose more data all at once in a colossal harddrive failure. But seriously, I would rather them focus on making these things more reliable. If I dont back up my stuff I lose it all. If I do I practically have to budget each month for replacing failed harddrives.

That is very true as well. Id probably get two, one for backing up and another for storing dara, which would depend on the prices of these things.

Butch said:

This is great but instead of capacity increases they really should look at making them faster. Since I converted to SSD's and experienced the speed increase, I will never go back to HDD's. Then again, I really don't need 60TB capacities either.

Just seems to me that HDD's will be gone soon except in large server environments that need to store huge amounts of data. The rest will be SSD...

ikesmasher said:

as soon as they get SSDs down to 50c a GB, im sold.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Two of those in Raid 1 and your set for a nice while, looking forward to this tech to go mainstream.

treetops treetops said:

How long til we get a 1 tb ssd for 100$?

Guest said:

nah, the HDD makers are just trying to make SSD makers tremble in fear.

the SSDs will win in the storage wars.... "because if they can, then WE can, too"

this:

Quote:

treetops said:

How long til we get a 1 tb ssd for 100$?

Guest said:

Areal density is the biggest performance increasing aspect of mechanical hard drives, so the speed boost of a 60TB disk should be quite drastic compared the 1-2TB drives of today.

marinkvasina marinkvasina said:

Guest said:

nah, the HDD makers are just trying to make SSD makers tremble in fear.

the SSDs will win in the storage wars.... "because if they can, then WE can, too"

this:

Quote:

treetops said:

How long til we get a 1 tb ssd for 100$?

ur wrong.

SSD won't overtake HDD

thats like saying AMD will be better than Intel.

Guest said:

@marinkvasina: Are you crazy or do you not know what an SSD is?

Staff
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

Isn't this tech very similar to this one?

[link]

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

treetops said:

How long til we get a 1 tb ssd for 100$?

5 years my guesstimate.

Guest said:

By 2020, MS and Google would have hosted practically all your apps in the cloud, leaving little room for personal HDDs.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

ur wrong.

SSD won't overtake HDD

thats like saying AMD will be better than Intel.

I think its you that is wrong but then thats my opinion and neither of us knows the future. To be honest, I can't believe you don't think SSD's are the future.

However in your statement, SSD's to HDD's are just as different as USB Sticks to Floppy's. The very same argument might have been said about USB Sticks taking over Floppy drives.

Guest said:

i agree with the guest above who thinks that ssd storage will win against hdd...

as we all recall, the preferred removable storage medium for data in a personal computer before is 5.4" floppy diskettes, then 3.5" floppy diskettes, then zip drives, then flash drives (and external hdds)

also the adaption of rom drives from the ordinary cd-rom drives to cd writers, to dvd-rom drives to dvd writers, then hd-dvd rom and blu-ray drives, to blu-ray writers.

maybe ssd prices will go down in the near future as the technology to increase storage in a particular device also increase.

and on this note, sales will show that tablet computers are hot nowadays and they don't have mechanical hard disk drives as storage.

Guest said:

Why is there always someone (Ranger12) that drones on about it being more data to lose every time there's a news article about hard drives? Should we all still be using 100mb drives instead, so you only lose 100mb at a time? Don't these people realise that larger capacity equals better redundancy and backup for the same amount of drives?

e.g. You've got about 4TB of data you want to store, you can span it across four 1TB drives, in which case you'll only lose a quarter of your data in the event of a hard drive failure, or you can stick it on four 4TB drives - two in a RAID array, and two backups, in which case if a drive dies you lose none of your data, and even if three of the drives go down you still lose nothing.

Guest said:

but they are slow!! stop manufacturing!

lets ssd to evolve and and cheap.

marinkvasina marinkvasina said:

cliffordcooley said:

ur wrong.

SSD won't overtake HDD

thats like saying AMD will be better than Intel.

I think its you that is wrong but then thats my opinion and neither of us knows the future. To be honest, I can't believe you don't think SSD's are the future.

However in your statement, SSD's to HDD's are just as different as USB Sticks to Floppy's. The very same argument might have been said about USB Sticks taking over Floppy drives.

i never have and never will use an USB stick, its retarded.

i'd rather carry an huge external HDD around.

SSD suck, HDD can increase its speed by the time SSD reaches a normal price.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

marinkvasina said:

SSD suck, HDD can increase its speed by the time SSD reaches a normal price.

Have you ever used a decent SSD?

Anyway I do agree these will speed up reading and writing speeds on spinning HDD's.

But you will never get the seek times as low as SSD's have it.

You've got to provide some evidence that SSD's "Suck"??

Guest said:

i prefer a fast 320 gb ssd against 5 tb hdd.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

60 TB? That sounds like a good place to store my DVD / BR collection for a household media server.

Guest said:

Does this have anything to do with the salt / sodium story?

If not, could the 2 technologies be combined?

Lionvibez said:

treetops said:

How long til we get a 1 tb ssd for 100$?

Keep dreaming cheapskate :P

yRaz yRaz said:

to anyone worried about failure: RAID

Guest said:

Actually experimentation with Crystal Storage is most likely the future they have so far been able to store 25 mb on a non dense grain of sand think of what a highly compressed peice of quartz will be able to hold!

dikbozo said:

Sadly you must have forgotten the maxim 'Data expands to exceed capacity'. i remember 2 GB drives as immensely beyond what I would need in 1998 and found in 2000 that 3.2 GB as way too small.

rvnwlfdroid said:

Both the standard HDD and SDD have their place right now. For those who need a lot of storage space (10tb) or more would need to be independently wealthy do use all SDD to get to that point. Myself I have a little over 15tb of storage, mostly 2tb drives and a few 3tb. I switched to a 180gb SDD for the OS drive. As time goes on I?m sure HDD and SDD manufactures will continue to make significant advancements in their respective areas. When I build my first PC I remember thinking I will never fill this 320mb drive. I also think both HDD and SDD will be around for a long time. At least until cloud computing has gone completely main stream and almost all software manufactures are using it as a means of distribution.

Guest said:

Boring.

So people can store more porn and stolen digital media ?

Guest said:

Yeah, well... it might seem like you would never need more space than that, but "if you build it, they will come". Remember the days when a 40 megabyte drive seemed like endless space, and 1MB of RAM was more than anyone would ever need?

Guest said:

Can't wait to install Windows XP on Laser Hard drive, this call like (HAMR). It will become ultimate killer than regular hard drive and SSD. Wow!!! :-D

DAOWAce DAOWAce said:

Now let's hope any different formatting standards that are potentially developed between here and now get applied to previous OS versions instead of releasing a new OS entirely claiming it has support.

Windows 7, I'm looking at you. (SSDs)

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