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Seagate Ships 20TB HAMR HDDs Commercially, Increases Shipments of Mach.2 Drives

Seagate
(Image credit: Seagate)

Seagate said this week that it had begun commercial shipments of its hard drives featuring heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology back in November and expanded the evaluation program for its dual-actuator Mach.2 HDDs, which offer twice the performance of a standard hard drive. The company is confident that its technology portfolio will enable it to increase capacity and improve the performance of its hard drives for years to come.   

Increasing the capacity of hard drives is important, but while capacity, areal density, and linear read/write speeds rise, random read/write IOPS performance per TB drops, which affects how datacenters operate. To increase sequential read/write speeds and increase IOPS per TB performance, HDD makers are developing hard drives with two independent actuators on a single pivot, effectively putting two drives inside one 3.5-inch package. Seagate was the first HDD maker to introduce its Multi-Actuator Technology (MAT) in late 2017 and then started to sample such drives — which have received the Exos 2X14 Mach.2 branding — with select customers sometime in 2019. 

By now, interest in dual actuator hard drives has grown significantly, so the company has to expand its evaluation program and increase its shipments. 

"Seagate's first-to-market dual actuator technology is gaining interest among a broader customer base require mass capacity storage with higher performance for certain applications, such as content delivery," said Mosley. "We are increasing shipments of dual actuator drives today and expect to see higher volumes as drive capacities increase."

Unfortunately, it is still unclear when Seagate plans to ship its dual actuator hard drives commercially.

(Image credit: Seagate)

Demand for high-capacity nearline hard drives is increasing among exascalers and datacenters, so it is crucial for HDD makers to offer energy-efficient high-capacity drives. Last summer Seagate started shipments of its nine-platter 18TB hard drives, which are going to ramp shortly as soon as its customers qualify them. The platform used to build Seagate's 18TB HDDs is also used for the industry's first HAMR-based 20TB hard drive (so one can easily guess the general specifications).  

At this point, HAMR HDDs are available to select customers and as part of Seagate's Lyve storage systems. Later, HAMR drives will be available separately to a broader audience. Meanwhile, mass adoption of current 20TB models may not necessarily happen as Seagate expects HAMR to increase HDDs' capacities at a 20% CAGR, which implies the arrival of 24TB drives in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, Seagate is increasing the pace of its 18TB product ramp as its customers qualify the new HDDs. 

"We achieved our technology milestone by shipping 20TB HAMR drives in calendar 2020, paving the way for Seagate’s continued success for years to come," said Dave Mosley, chief executive officer of Seagate. "With HAMR, we can drive aerial density, compound growth rates of 20% or higher to support the scale of our customer's infrastructure investments and enabling Seagate to maintain a significant economic advantage for managing the cost of the applications relative to enterprise SSDs that is expected to persist over the foreseeable future." 

  • Sledgehamma
    Is there any word when the end consumer can buy those 20TB drives?
    Reply
  • Kamen Rider Blade
    When can we get Dual Actuator Drives as a consumer?
    Reply
  • TheJoker2020
    "Is there any word when the end consumer can buy those 20TB drives? "

    "When can we get Dual Actuator Drives as a consumer? "

    I can tell you now that you simply do not want one of these as a consumer, at least not in their current form.!

    From the Data Sheet:

    "14 TB of capacity available as two independently addressable, 7 TB logical units"

    Essentially this is seen by the OS (assume W10 for the average consumer) as two separate drives.!

    This is fine if you are running (for example) a RAID5 setup as you can use 4 of these drives, seen as 8 drives and you can double the performance without doubling the physical quantity of drives, there will of course be caveats, especially for reliability as the failure of one drive will often be two "logical" drives that fail at the same moment.!

    There are a number of better solutions available right now for the "consumer" market. If and when this technology arrives and is seen and operates as a single drive to the end user rather than the end user essentially running the two "logical" drives as RAID0 in a single drive, that would be good and I look forward to it, if it arrives soon enough to be useful.

    Addendum, here is the link to the data sheet.

    https://www.seagate.com/files/www-content/datasheets/pdfs/exos-2x14-DS2015-3-2007GB-en_GB.pdf
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    Seagate's first-to-market dual actuator technology

    Nope. You would think Seagate knew this was false since they bought the company that beat them to this title by over 25 years. Conner released the Chinook all the way back in 1994.

    Reply
  • TheJoker2020
    spongiemaster said:
    Nope. You would think Seagate knew this was false since they bought the company that beat them to this title by over 25 years. Conner released the Chinook all the way back in 1994.


    Seagate would simply claim that it OWNS Conner and it's Patents, many of which were used by Seagate well after Conner was just a memory.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conner_Peripherals
    Reply
  • kyzarvs
    spongiemaster said:
    Nope. You would think Seagate knew this was false since they bought the company that beat them to this title by over 25 years. Conner released the Chinook all the way back in 1994.


    The single-spindle bit as quoted a couple of times in the article is the 'new' bit...
    Reply
  • kyzarvs
    TheJoker2020 said:
    "Is there any word when the end consumer can buy those 20TB drives? "

    "When can we get Dual Actuator Drives as a consumer? "

    I can tell you now that you simply do not want one of these as a consumer, at least not in their current form.!

    From the Data Sheet:

    "14 TB of capacity available as two independently addressable, 7 TB logical units"

    Essentially this is seen by the OS (assume W10 for the average consumer) as two separate drives.!

    This is fine if you are running (for example) a RAID5 setup as you can use 4 of these drives, seen as 8 drives and you can double the performance without doubling the physical quantity of drives, there will of course be caveats, especially for reliability as the failure of one drive will often be two "logical" drives that fail at the same moment.!

    There are a number of better solutions available right now for the "consumer" market. If and when this technology arrives and is seen and operates as a single drive to the end user rather than the end user essentially running the two "logical" drives as RAID0 in a single drive, that would be good and I look forward to it, if it arrives soon enough to be useful.

    Addendum, here is the link to the data sheet.

    https://www.seagate.com/files/www-content/datasheets/pdfs/exos-2x14-DS2015-3-2007GB-en_GB.pdf
    So you JBOD or RAID 1 them to get a 14TB logical drive? JBOD wouldn't see any preformance benefit, RAID1 has more performance, but higher chance of failure.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    kyzarvs said:
    So you JBOD or RAID 1 them to get a 14TB logical drive? JBOD wouldn't see any preformance benefit, RAID1 has more performance, but higher chance of failure.
    If you used software RAID, JBOD would give you 14TB, RAID 1, which would mirror the logical drives, would only give you 7TB. RAID 0 would give you 14TB. The drive has the ability to stream from both actuators at the same time to maximize throughput if needed, so there is no need to use RAID 0.

    As mentioned above, this drive is not designed for home use. This is intended for servers with massive capacity drive arrays where the drive capacity is filled and getting hammered constantly. In this use case, with 2 independent head assemblies you basically have 2 drives inside the same enclosure which could theoretically double the I/O's and throughput vs having just one actuator in the enclosure. This is an unrealistic scenario for home use especially at this capacity. You'll get far better performance buying a smaller NVME drive for your boot drive/apps and a 2nd 2TB NVME drive for your games or whatever.
    Reply
  • Mr5oh
    spongiemaster said:
    You'll get far better performance buying a smaller NVME drive for your boot drive/apps and a 2nd 2TB NVME drive for your games or whatever.

    There's those of us out there that 2TB isn't enough for game / data drive. I'm using WD Gold drives in my Gaming machine for this reason. Just saying you might see these large capacity drives in home computers more often than you think.
    Reply
  • Endymio
    TheJoker2020 said:
    I can tell you now that you simply do not want one of these as a consumer,....if you are running (for example) a RAID5 setup as you can use 4 of these drives, seen as 8 drives and you can double the performance without doubling the physical quantity of drives there will of course be caveats, especially for reliability as the failure of one drive will often be two "logical" drives that fail at the same moment.!
    A) You're confusing Raid 5 with Raid 0/10 configurations.
    B) Seagate forcing the drive to appear as two logical units, then the consumer (using Raid 0) forces it back to a single logical drive = zero total impact on reliablity. It's still just a single drive, and a single point of failure.

    Now, potentially, you could have a failure of a single actuator, which would allow the other to continue functioning, a benefit you would lose with the Raid 0 setup. However, this benefit wouldn't exist if Seagate presented the unit as a single logical drive, so again there's no reliability downside to this approach.
    Reply