In the recent months, Seagate has made several significant announcements regarding the future of HDD technology and unveiled a number of important products. In particular, late last year the company has said that hard disk drives would continue to evolve in the following 20 years, implying that Seagate is exploring multiple technologies to improve capacities and performance of HDDs. Additionally, Seagate introduced the first shingled magnetic recording (SMR) based consumer drives for mobile PCs, which marks a significant milestone in the development of the technology.

The Evolution Continues, New Challenges Arise

While solid-state storage devices are evolving fast in terms of performance and getting more affordable every year, they are not going to match hard drives in terms of cost-per-GB anytime soon. Still, with economic feasibility in place, HDDs are poised to keep evolving with larger capacities and better performance. Throughout the history of hard drives, the evolution of HDDs has involved multiple factors, including materials (platters), mechanics (motors, arm movers, internal structure, and so on), read/record heads, controllers and firmware.

The keys to additional capacity and performance of HDDs have remained generally the same over the years: small pitches and narrow tracks as well as a high rotating speed respectively. The evolution of HDDs in the future will rely on platter density and new heads, as well as the compute capabilities of their controllers. The performance of HDD controllers in the coming years will matter more than ever.

For our coverage, we approached Seagate and spoke with Mark Re, SVP and Chief Technology Officer of Seagate, to discuss their plans to announce HDDs featuring other important technologies. Rather than a question/answer discussion, what follows is a culmination and expansion of topics discussed.

Sources and Recommended Reading:

Seagate: Hard Disk Drives Set to Stay Relevant for 20 Years
Hard Disk Drives with HAMR Technology Set to Arrive in 2018
Market Views: HDD Shipments Down 20% in Q1 2016, Hit Multi-Year Low

Seagate to Expand Usage of SMR
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  • abrowne1993 - Wednesday, July 06, 2016 - link

    Is that all for one second of CGI in the new Transformers movie? Reply
  • Michael Bay - Thursday, July 07, 2016 - link

    And some porn. Reply
  • Holliday75 - Friday, July 08, 2016 - link

    Is Megan Fox back? She could probably use the cash. Reply
  • JlHADJOE - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    8 Terra bits? So 1TB =) Reply
  • wumpus - Thursday, July 07, 2016 - link

    @JoeyJoJo123
    >It's ogre. HDDs are dead. SSDs won.
    >Just give up.

    Know how I know your data isn't backed up? There are two types of people. Those who have lost all their data, and those who are going to (possibly again).

    Sure, you might not know how Amazon is storing your data, but I'll bet that it just isn't backed up.

    Hard drives just moved up the data hierarchy. They are now stuck between tape (near the cost/TB without the huge entry costs) and SSD. They are also still ideal for NAS, especially consumer grade to fairly decent grade. Don't forget all the random access advantages HDDs have over tape.

    I also expect to watch the whole HDD/SSD dance play over again with SDD/3dxpoint. Although the more interesting story will be if 3dxpoint will be able to replace main/virtual memory, leaving multi-GB DRAM "caches" between the CPU and "main memory".

    Perhaps Mr. Ogre needs to consult with the tri-lambs. I'm sure they could find some uses for HDDs.
    Reply
  • Nagorak - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    I'm having difficulty understanding your comment but if you're implying that data stored on AWS isn't backed up then I find that almost inconceivable. Reply
  • hectorsm - Thursday, July 07, 2016 - link

    You're delusional. Today ~99% of PC shipments still have HDDs. Reply
  • romrunning - Wednesday, July 06, 2016 - link

    SMR was never a technology that ever interested me. I don't want more storage with measurably worse performance than existing ones. Seagate should have invested more into SSD tech than in SMR for HDDs. Reply
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Wednesday, July 06, 2016 - link

    You can do both. SMR for the platters with additional flash cache for frequently accessed data. Unfortunately HDDs are a one trick pony now, and they need to push in the one area they're better than SSDs in (relative amount of storage per $ spent). Reply
  • extide - Thursday, July 07, 2016 - link

    Yeah I always thought the combo of a SMR drive + some NAND cache was like super obvious, and I am wondering why we haven't seen more drives like that. Reply

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