As the world’s demand for storage continues to grow, so does the need to find the next storage density breakthrough. It looks like one just happened, though, and it paves the way to 80TB hard drives.
As AnandTech reports, Japanese company Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) is the world’s largest manufacturer of hard drive platters, which are the disks stacked inside each drive to store the data. This week SDK announced it had improved upon Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) technology to allow for next-generation hard drives.
HAMR works by temporarily heating the disk material making it more receptive to magnetic effects, in turn that allows the writing of data to smaller regions and therefore increases the data density per platter. Later this year Seagate will start shipping 20TB hard drives that use HAMR technology, but SDK is going far beyond that with the promise of its HAMR platters allowing for up to 80TB drives.
Achieving such a massive increase in data density was only possible through the creation of a new type of HD media. SDK worked out a new structure of magnetic layers combined with new ways to control temperature during production. Combine that with disks constructed of aluminum and thin films of Fe-Pt magnetic alloy, and you get a new platter that has “magnetic coercivity several times as high as the existing most-advanced HD media, while achieving low noise due to very small crystal grain size and optimized grain size distribution control.”
Conventional magnetic recording methods today achieve 1.14Tb per square inch, but SDK believes its HAMR technology will increase that to up to 6Tb per square inch. Based on today’s nine platter hard drives, that means an 80TB hard drive is theoretically possible. However, it’s not clear what storage density SDK has managed to achieve so far. So while we will get to 80TB drives, we don’t know when yet.