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Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Seagate Says Its MACH.2 Multi Actuator Technology Breaks Throughput Record, Announces HAMR Reliability Tests

At the OCP summit this week Seagate said its new MACH.2 Multi Actuator technology has enabled them to set a new hard drive speed record, and also demonstrated the reliability of its HAMR (Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording) technology hard drives.

Seagate formally introduced its MACH.2 Multi Actuator technology, which has now been deployed in development units for customer testing prior to productization.

Multi-actuator technology involves dividing a disk drive's platter reading and writing head stack into upper and lower halves and operating them in parallel to increase the drive's overall IO speed. During OCP, Seagate talked of maintaining an 8-10 IOPS/TB level.

Seagate demonstrated up to 480MB/s sustained throughput - the fastest ever from a single hard drive, and 60 percent faster than a 15K drive - in a hard drive using the MACH.2 Multi Actuator technology.

The technology doubles IOPS performance in a single hard drive by using two independent actuators that can transfer data to the host computer concurrently.

Seagate's engineering team also demonstrated reliability of its HAMR (Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording) technology hard drives. Seagate revealed that its HAMR read/write heads have achieved unprecedented results in long-term reliability tests that surpass customer requirements by a factor of 20.

HAMR is a way of shrinking a disk drive's magnetised bits beyond the limits of current PMR (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording) tech, in which progressively smaller bits become unstable with error-prone bit values.

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.

Seagate's OCP partners have begun integration development with both HAMR and our MACH.2 Multi Actuator technologies. Both technologies will be implemented in the near future in Seagate Exos enterprise hard drives.

Actually Seagate's first 20TB multi-actuator disk drives based Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording tech will be launched in 2020, according to Seagate.

Seagate will first introduce a 14TB drive with multiple actuators in 2019, using a PMR technology drive. This is expected to be a high-capacity drive with more performance than single actuator drives.

It will be followed by a multi-actuator HAMR drive with 20+TB capacity in 2020, followed in turn by 30+TB drives in 2021/2022 and 40+TB around 2023.

Single-actuator HAMR drives are set for release with a 20+TB model in 2020, a 30+TB drive in 2021/2022 and a 40+ TB one in 2022/2023.

Seagate believes it can maintain a 10x $/GB gap between HDDs and SSDs through the leverage of next-generation technologies such as HAMR to drive to 2Tbpsi areal density (supporting 20TB HDDs) and ultimately 10Tbpsi (100TB HDDs), supporting a forecasted nine-year areal density CAGR of +30 per cent.

Western Digital and Toshiba are also includng multi-actuator technology in their roadmaps. WD has chosen to pursue the development of the MAMR (Microwave-Assisted Magnetic Recording) technology to boost capacity beyond PMR limits.

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