Seagate Is Now Shipping Commercial HAMR HDDs

(Image credit: Seagate)

Seagate this week confirmed that it had received revenue for Corvault systems based on hard drives that rely on heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology marking the start of commercial shipments of those types of HDDs. But while the HAMR HDD era has officially begun, hard drives based on perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) and using shingled magnetic recording (SMR) will continue to exist on the market for years to come. 

"We shipped our first HAMR-based Corvault system for revenue as planned during the June quarter," said Gianluca Romano, chief financial officer or Seagate, at the earnings call (via SeekingAlpha). "We expect broader availability of these Corvault systems by the end of calendar 2023."

In addition to Corvault systems, Seagate shipped HAMR-based nearline hard drives with a 30+ TB capacity to select customers among hyperscalers for qualification. Hyperscalers can consume every bit of capacity they can get, so they will appreciate capacity points of over 30TB since they dramatically improve their storage density. Meanwhile, since HAMR drives consume slightly more power than typical HDD based on PMR and SMR, they need to fully qualify them to ensure their reliable operation in their racks.

"[We are] delivering on our 30TB+ HAMR product development and qualification milestones with volume ramp on track to begin in early calendar 2024," said Dave Mosley, chief executive of Seagate. "[…] Initial customer qualifications are progressing well. We are on track to begin volume ramp in early calendar 2024. We are also preparing qualifications with a broader number of customers, including testing for lower capacity drives targeting VIA and enterprise OEM workloads." 

But while HAMR HDDs are shipping with high-volume ramp planned to start in about six months, Seagate reiterated plans for another generation of PMR and SMR hard drives for customers that do not play to deploy HAMR just now for some reason. Apparently, Seagate intends to offer 24TB+ drives featuring PMR+TDMR and SMR+TDMR in the coming months.

"Development efforts on what may be our last PMR product are nearing completion and will extend drive capacities into the mid- to upper 20TB range," said Mosley.

Anton Shilov
Contributing Writer

Anton Shilov is a contributing writer at Tom’s Hardware. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.