The magnetic hard disk's tenure as a critical part of the storage technology mosaic is entering its sixth decade, and it shows no sign of ending any time soon. However, certain limitations imposed by rotating media have been coming to the fore lately, and SSDs, which can in theory resolve all these problems, have long been hailed as the eventual successor technology for mass storage. If UK-based startup DataSlide has its way, though, magnetic recording media will get at least one last hurrah, in the form of a new technology called Hard Rectangular Drive.
HRD is an attempt to change the shape of magnetic media one last time, in a push redolent of the disk/drum conflicts both in the early days of hard drives, and of early audio recordings on wax and vinyl. In the hard disk model, rotating platters of magnetic media are moved over by stepper (and later servo) motor-controlled read heads which don't touch the surface of the media. Regular motion of the media meets with controlled motion of the heads to get everything aligned for a read.