Seagate this week revealed some of the details concerning its heat assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology roadmap. The company's first HAMR hard drive will feature a 32TB capacity that will make it competitive for the title of the best hard drive. Meanwhile, the 32TB drive exists alongside Seagate's 24TB HDD, the company's last drive based on perpendicular magnetic recording.
Seagate's first HAMR HDD will use ten 3.2TB platters and will thus offer a capacity of 32TB. The 10-disk platform — which is already used for Seagate's high-capacity PMR drives — will continue to be used for a while as the company's following HAMR drive will feature a 36TB capacity and will pack 3.6TB platters. Next up will be 40TB with 4TB media and the company is already mulling 50TB hard drives featuring 5TB disks that already exist in the lab. The company did not reveal launch timeframes for its HAMR drives, but it once said that they were set to be released in Q3 2023.
"When you go to HAMR, our 32TB is based on 10 disks and 20 heads," said Gianluca Romano, Seagate's chief financial officer, at the Bank of America 2023 Global Technology Conference (via SeekingAlpha). "The following product will be a 36TB and will still be based on 10 disks and 20 heads. So, all the increase is coming through areal density. The following one, 40TB, still the same 10 disks and 20 heads. Also, the 50TB, we said at our earnings release, in our lab, we are already running individual disk at 5TB."
Some of Seagate's HAMR HDDs are already shipping for revenue inside its Corvault systems, though Seagate didn't officially disclose their capacity, but says they rely on its 30TB+ platform. Meanwhile, the company only plans to ship its 30TB+ HAMR hard drives in volume to its hyperscale customers after they qualify them.
Before some of them start using HAMR drives, at least some of the large cloud service providers will deploy the company's 24TB HDDs based on conventional PMR technology. Furthermore, some might even adopt Seagate's 28TB hard drives featuring shingled magnetic recording technology. Meanwhile, these will be the company's final high-capacity nearline PMR HDDs.
"So, we have a 24TB coming out soon, next few months, you will see it," said Romano. "That is the last PMR product. So I would say [higher] capacity point above 24TB PMR, that is probably 28TB SMR."