Bottom line: In an earnings call with analysts and investors, Seagate laid out its high-capacity HDD roadmap, indicating the arrival of the company's first commercial HAMR-based hard drives. An 18TB version will launch in early 2020, while a 20TB HAMR-based model will follow later in the year, likely before Western Digital starts churning out its own 18TB and 20TB competitors.

Even though its hard drives don't seem to fare particularly well in Backblazes' reliability tests, Seagate appears to be on track for the rollout of its large capacity hard drives.

With a 16TB HDD launched earlier this year, in both enterprise and consumer versions, the company now looks forward to introducing an 18TB model by early 2020, that's reportedly based on the same 9-platter platform as the current generation.

"We are preparing to ship 18 TB drives in the first half of calendar year 2020 to maintain our industry capacity leadership," said Seagate CEO Dave Mosley. The company will also bring its first 'Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording' or HAMR-based drive in the second half of next year, starting with a 20TB model.

The technology will enable Seagate to achieve "at least 20% areal density CAGR over the next decade." while the company's MACH.2 dual actuator solution, which brought in its first revenue in the September quarter, will see increased adoption across upcoming models to provide fast access and scale drive capacity without affecting performance.

A further look at Seagate's roadmap shows disk drives with 30TB capacities arriving somewhere in late 2023, while a 50TB model could appear on the market by 2026.

Western Digital is also prepping its MAMR-based high capacity disk drives, and Seagate expects to beat WD to market before the latter starts volume shipment of their own 18TB and 20TB models.