back to article Western Dig's MAMR is so phat, it'll store 100TB on a hard drive by 2032

WDC has given up on heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) and is developing a microwave-assisted technique (MAMR) to push disk drive capacity up to 100TB by the 2030s. It's able to do this with relatively incremental advances, avoiding the technological development barrier represented by HAMR. These developments include …

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All I'll say at this point is this better not be more smoke and mirrors.

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Hmmm

So how much electricity are these going to use compared to PMR disks? Will these work in high-density environments?

Yeah... I think I'm going to stop walking through data centers that have thousands and thousands of disks in row after row of racks.. ; )

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Anonymous Coward

A moment in history

During my time at one of the esteemed companys mentioned in the article, I was told of a milestone email that was circulated regarding HAMR - it declared a 'breakthrough'...

"We've stopped the heads from exploding!"

An in-house presentation about a year ago outlined the upcoming/experimental magnetic media technologies and the anticipated storage capacity gains - and HAMR was a big 'meh' at that time, so I am not surprised it's being shelved.

What else was in the presentation? Well, there was great excitement about adv&*()hgfik%^£&a NO CARRIER

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Microwaves? :-/

But they told us not to put metal things into microwaves.

Still, be good for a sly burrito at the cabinet...

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Re: Microwaves? :-/

What they didn't say is that microwaves in metal things is absolutely fine!

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Why not SSD Drives?

Can someone who understands the technology please explain why we'd still be using rotating platters in 10 or 20 years time? Surely the evolutionary path has switched to solid state...

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Re: Why not SSD Drives?

Not for bulk storage. Not yet, at least. If time is not of the essence, then rust is still much cheaper at higher capacities.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why not SSD Drives?

The graph shows it very clearly: HDDs are one tenth of the cost per gigabyte.

Etching trillions of individual cells in silicon is a very tricky and expensive process, and there don't seem to be any breakthroughs on the horizon making it simpler or cheaper.

The price ratio has been about 10-to-1 for quite a few years, and it looks like it's going to continue.

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Re: Why not SSD Drives?

Client PC's, such as home and office computers will very likely be using flash (and it's successors) excursively in a few short years. However, for backup and archival purposes (think data centres etc), due the lower cost per gigabyte (10 times lower), spinning rust will remain for certain use cases.

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Re: Why not SSD Drives?

Even home and small-business users need backup storage, and tape these days is strictly the realm of larger enterprises able to afford the upfront costs of both device and interconnects. Without a consumer/small-business answer to tape, rust drives will remain the go-to archival choice at the low end for the foreseeable future (note this includes RDX, which is at least within reach of smaller businesses in need of a more regimented backup system).

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Re: Why not SSD Drives?

LTO3 (400GB) , LTO4 (800GB) used tape drives can be bought at very cheap prices. $50 to $100 for LTO3 and around $200-$250 for LTO4. With new unused tapes costing from $5 to $15 for both LTO3 and LTO4 (depending on sellers).

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Meh

Re: Why not SSD Drives?

LTO3 (400GB) , LTO4 (800GB) used tape drives...

1. When you've got 4TB of data, even an 800GB tape drive is not so useful.

2. I'd trust a used HDD before I trusted a used tape drive.

$50 to $100 for LTO3 and around $200-$250 for LTO4. With new unused tapes costing from $5 to $15 for both LTO3 and LTO4 (depending on sellers).

So that's (benefit of the doubt to you) $50 for the LTO3 drive and $50 for the ten tapes it'd take to store 4TB = $100 for LTO3, or $200 for the LTO4 Drive and $25 for the five tapes = $225 for LTO4.

Or you could just get a 4TB USB3 backup drive for $100 and enjoy faster and more selective backup/restore and not have to swap fscking tapes all the time.

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Re: Why not SSD Drives?

"LTO3 (400GB) , LTO4 (800GB) used tape drives can be bought at very cheap prices."

Because they're not that useful anymore given today's storage needs. Practical capacities don't start until LTO5 (1.5TB). Guess what? Those drives run around $400 used AND still require a server enclosure AND a Serial Attached SCSI interconnect: both strictly the realm of enterprise server rooms (most of them are server room pulls when they were replaced with LTO-6 drives).

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Joke

Re: Why not SSD Drives?

"Client PC's, such as home and office computers will very likely be using flash (and it's successors) excursively "

Did you mean reclusively !

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Re: Why not SSD Drives?

"Or you could just get a 4TB USB3 backup drive for $100 and enjoy faster and more selective backup/restore and not have to swap fscking tapes all the time"

Mainly this although I have been the victim of backing up data to a hard drive, leaving it on the shelf and the hard drive not spinning up when I've gone back to it. So I now backup critical stuff to two hard drives :)

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Re: Why not SSD Drives?

That's what I do. And to deal with silent corruption for when it matters, I make PAR2 files to provide error codes.

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Re: Why not SSD Drives?

"If time is not of the essence, then rust is still much cheaper at higher capacities."

SSD pricing is still falling.

HDD pricing is not - and the volumes shipped for HAMR/MAMR are unlikely to pay the R&D costs enough to allow them to undercut SSDs in 7 years time.

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Re: Why not SSD Drives?

"Client PC's, such as home and office computers will very likely be using flash (and it's successors) excursively in a few short years. "

Other than budget systems, it's already happened for capacities below 1TB.

Even budget systems mostly have SSDs now.

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Re: Why not SSD Drives?

" So I now backup critical stuff to two hard drives "

Backup strategies should never allow for _fewer_ than 2 _separate_ copies. This is the core of GFS type policies.

Archiving is another kettle of fish - failure to restore is a measured risk and should be taken into account.

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Re: Why not SSD Drives?

"SSD pricing is still falling."

ONLY at the low end where the market is saturated. At the higher end (the over 1TB realm), prices are still way too high to compete with rust. Show me a 4TB SSD drive for around $300 (speed is not an object at these sizes) and you'll have my attention. Plus consider that flash is rushing headlong and will soon hit physical obstacles of its own. The shrinking die sizes forced a move to 3D NAND, but even that has limits once you try for like 128 layers.

"HDD pricing is not"

Yes they are, actually. Just a year ago, $100 got you 2, maybe 3TB of external storage on the outside, and $200 perhaps got you 4TB. Now, you can get a self-powered 4TB external drive for $100, and 6TB drives are appearing at the $200 mark. As one who is forced to use external hard drives as a backup medium (for lack of alternatives), I pay attention to this stuff.

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Headmaster

Re: Why not SSD Drives?

10 times lower

What is this fashion with the above? What's wrong with "rust is one tenth the cost" or "flash is ten times the cost"?

Grump.

(not blaming you, blahblah, particularly - it seems to be a very common thing these days)

M.

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Write once drive ?

With this much storage space, and the MTBF of the drive,

how many times would one be able to write all the drive ?

How long would it take to do a format ?

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Boffin

Guesstimate...

How long would it take to do a format ?

For a constant rotation speed, and number of heads/platters and assuming the data bus speed is unlimited, capacity increases as the square of linear density. If drive capacity increases x10 in the next 15 years as speculated, the read/write time will increase by at least SQRT(10) = x3.16. So if your format (or RAID rebuild) takes about 2 days to complete now, by 2032 it will take around a week.

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GBE

Magnetic monopoles!

According to the OT:

"A disk drive's write head magnetises an area of grains (a bit) with either a north pole or a south pole using an electrical field."

Holy cow, they're creating magnetic monopoles!

How have I missed this news?

I assume it'll be champagne and Nobel prizes all-round at the next Western Digital company picnic.

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Bah...

I'm waiting for WAMR!

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Joke

Re: Bah...

= wife-assisted magnetic recording?

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Anonymous Coward

It's not HAMR time anymore?

Just hope a heavy rack can handle stop those big MAMR's moving around too much.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not HAMR time anymore?

No, HAMR is a dead end.

I think WD are advising the competition that it's Stop HAMR Time.

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Re: It's not HAMR time anymore?

"Stop HAMR Time"

Alas that I have but one upvote to give.

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G2

"WDC has moved the final joint closer to the read/write head and called it a multi-stage micro actuator with finer track positioning capability."

quick search of Google.com/patents shows:

Multi-stage actuator with writer position determination capability

US 9019650

April 28, 2015

Inventors Ximin Shan, Jye Kai Chang, Sandeep Sequeira

Original Assignee Seagate Technology Llc

Filed: April 30, 2014

Seagate? hmmm, i thought we were talking about WDC here.

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G2

P.S.

and

9,728,214

August 8, 2017

Disk drive and position correction method

Inventors Masakazu Abe

Original Assignee Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba

Toshiba?!

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Patents required because of ... patents

Presumably WD have patents required by Seagate and they have cross-licensed. Years ago, it might have kept others from starting a hard disk business. These days, a new hard disk business would cost billions to create, provide thin margins at best and never get investors to part with the start up cash.

What these patents do is protect against someone patenting the "idea" for a multi-stage actuator with no clue about how to build one. After WD/Seagate do all the development, buy the tooling, get a product to market start getting a return on investment the person who patented the idea could cash in.

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Underwhelmed

Maybe I've been spoilt by the historic increases in capacity, but a 10 fold increase in 15 years doesn't sound all that impressive to me. If that's because we're getting to the limits of the technology then I suspect another technology (whether that be flash or something else) will come along to take the low cost mass storage crown.

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"WDC believeshopes that MAMR will enable disk drives to retain a cost/GB advantage over SSDs out to the 2030s:"

FTFY

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Space and energy will make flash the winner...

Well, HDDs cost less than SSDs and will survive for the next 5-7 years in scale-out storage clusters running object-based storage software. But if any of the unstructured data growth projections come reasonably close to reality then HDDs will just require too much energy and take too much space to store all of the unstructured data being ingested. SSDs have already won the capacity competition. All that remains is to make more of them and drop the price low enough to push HDDs out of the market. I think when the price difference between the two reaches $0.10 per GB, it will be the death knell for HDDs.

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Re: Space and energy will make flash the winner...

Question is, when will that hit? Some are betting on later rather than sooner, especially if things like this keep raising the capacity without raising the media cost. SSD is winning the capacity game, yes, but at king's ransoms.

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Who cares. 100 TB in 15 years. Or QLC 100TB in 3. There will not be spinning media manufactured in less than 10 years......

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