Seagate on Wednesday introduced the industry's first hard disk drive (HDD) platform that uses heat-assisted media recording (HAMR). The new Mozaic 3+ platform relies on several all-new technologies, including new media, new write and read heads, and a brand-new controller. The platform will be used for Seagate's upcoming Exos hard drives for cloud datacenters with a 30TB capacity and higher.
The Mozaic 3+ Platform
Heat-assisted magnetic recording is meant to radically increase areal recording density of magnetic media by making writes while the recording region is briefly heated to a point where its magnetic coercivity drops significantly.
Seagate's Mozaic 3+ uses 10 glass disks with a magnetic layer consisting of an iron-platinum superlattice structure that ensures both longevity and smaller media grain size compared to typical HDD platters. To record the media, the platform uses a plasmonic writer sub-system with a vertically integrated nanophotonic laser that heats the media before writing. Because individual grains are so small with the new media, their individual magnetic signatures are lower, whereas magnetic inter-track interference (ITI) effect is somewhat higher. As a result, Seagate had to introduce its new Gen 7 Spintronic Reader, which features the "world's smallest and most sensitive magnetic field reading sensors," according to the company.
Because Seagate's new Mozaic 3+ platform deals with new media with a very small grain size, an all-new writer, and a reader that features multiple tiny magnetic field readers, it also requires a lot of compute horsepower to orchestrate the drive's work. Therefore, Seagate has equipped with Mozaic 3+ platform with an all-new controller made on a 12nm fabrication process. This controller is three times more powerful than its predecessors, according to the company. Seagate did not disclose the number and type of processing cores it uses for the controller or its transistor count, but, being a RISC-V supporter, the company might be using its own custom cores to control its HAMR HDDs.
"The Mozaic 3+ platform represents more than just HAMR technology," said Seagate CEO Dave Mosley. "It comprises several industry-first innovations that we have integrated to help us scale areal density."
Seagate implies that its Exos hard drives based on the Mozaic 3+ platform are drop-in compatible with existing cloud servers. In addition to higher capacity, these drives also enable considerably higher sequential read and write speeds, and reduce power consumption per TB. However, they also lower IOPS per TB performance, which will require their users — such as cloud server providers — to mitigate this somehow in a bid to make these HDDs compliant with their quality-of-service (QoS) and other requirements.
Shipping This Quarter, Addressing Many Applications
Seagate said that its Exos hard drives featuring 30TB and higher capacity points would ship in volume later this quarter after the company's clients complete their qualifications of the new HDDs. In addition, HAMR-based Mozaic 3+ storage technology will enable a wide range of products — including enterprise HDDs, NAS drives, and video and imaging applications (VIA) markets. This means that IronWolf and SkyHawk HAMR-powered HDDs are planned.
"As AI use cases put a premium on raw data sets, more companies are going to need to store all the data they can. To accommodate the resulting masses of data, areal density matters more than ever," Mosley said.
The industry has worked on HAMR technologies for decades and it is believed that it will enable drives featuring capacities of 80TB — and maybe higher. It remains to be seen when other hard drive makers, such as Toshiba and Western Digital, will follow — but, for now, Seagate has an indisputable lead in HAMR.
Seagate is also working on its Mozaic 4+ platform that will enable 40TB+ HDDs and is due in a couple of years (2026), as well the Mozaic 5+ platform that will power 50TB+ hard drives and will launch in 2028 or later.
For now, Mosley says Seagate is "the world's only hard drive manufacturer with the areal density capability to get to 3TB per platter and with 5TB on the horizon."
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Seagate plans to ship HAMR HDDs for cloud customers in Q1 2023.
Back to the future going on here.
Is it even worth investigating in hdd tech anymore? These new mosaic + tech sounds very complex and expensive.Reply
Basically everything over ~10TB tends to target data centers and cloud usage these days. Consumers can still buy the drives, but unless you want a bunch of capacity, a single modest SSD (2TB to 4TB) is a better option. But cloud storage stuff can easily scale to petabytes and exabytes of storage usage.gg83 said:Is it even worth investigating in hdd tech anymore? These new mosaic + tech sounds very complex and expensive.
Do you think current hard drives seem simple and was cheap to develop? Called technology, always complex and always expensive when creating something new. But even then, this end product, even for early adaptors, is likely a tiny fraction of the cost of what that amount of space in SSD's would be.gg83 said:Is it even worth investigating in hdd tech anymore? These new mosaic + tech sounds very complex and expensive.
While SSDs can scale up storage density wise much further than HDDs could ever hope to HDDs are much cheaper to buy and operate. The majority of HDD technology development has been to increase density which will generally pay for itself over time. There's zero sign that at scale HDDs are in any trouble it's the consumer end of things that has been shrinking. Most of the HDD retail business seems to be external drives or drives for NAS purposes.Reply
HDD 20TB = 360€Reply
SSD 8TB = 580€
I'd say there's still plenty of space for development and marketing of HDDs.
Like others said, consumer space is now mostly SSDs, except external drives and NAS drives. That's for people that do backups, or store a lot of videos locally (be it movie libraries or personal video archives). Same with some professional markets (audio/photo/video creators and editors).
But cloud providers is where the real need is. As people tend to store data in the cloud, and consume data from the cloud, a lot of those personal photo/video libraries have migrated to the cloud, and a lot of movie libraries as well (in the form of services like Netflix and YouTube). And these need tons of store, and tons of redundant, backup and archival storage. These systems are all tiered, so most read/write requests will hit some kind of solid state fir responsiveness. But after that, a lot of it is HDDs. I found information that in 2020 global storage production was split 5:1 (HDD:SSD), and by now it is probably closer to 4:1. But that still makes 80% of new data systems HDDs. Considering that consumer market is 90% SSDs, enterprise and cloud segment is probably still very much 5:1.
In my company we are almost completely SSD now, both client and server. But all backup and archival is still HDDs, and those few systems (backup arrays on 2 sites, and video surveillance on all sites) despite only being like <5% in amount of devices and CPUs, is about 5x the amount of HDDs vs all client+server SSDs on thousands of devices in the rest of company. Because those systems are in hundreds of terabytes, while production is easily done in <100 TB of solid state store. But keeping multiple copies for archival and backup, revisions, and reasons provisioned by law, makes those 100TB insufficient even for a single weekly backup cycle.
I'd say cloud providers are the same or worse, with same data replicated around the globe multiple times. and all that is on SSDs, while only a single copy is on some hot storage closest to your last access location or whatever.
Nobody uses backup or storage at home?JarredWaltonGPU said:Basically everything over ~10TB tends to target data centers and cloud usage these days. Consumers can still buy the drives, but unless you want a bunch of capacity, a single modest SSD (2TB to 4TB) is a better option. But cloud storage stuff can easily scale to petabytes and exabytes of storage usage.
I easily have 15TB of photos accumulated over 20 years, and with increased resolutions they keep piling up.
I, for one, would love to see huge capacity HDD for long-term storage. I currently have a NAS (5 years old) with 4x 8TB HDD.
Tell my Plex media server big HDD's are not for the home and it will laugh at you, until big SSDs as cheap as HDDs appear and that's a BIG WHEN !Reply
My thinking says that when an 8TB SSD is available for $200, then the days of HDDs are clearly numbered, at least in the end-user segment. I can't judge what it looks like in data centers. Costs/TB are just one factor among many. (size, power consumption, waste heat, reliability, etc) However, as soon as HDDs disappear into the niche, their costs are likely to rise and their further development is questionable. The crucial question, however, is whether SSDs will ever come close enough to HDDs in price. NAND prices are currently near a cyclical low again. This making SSD prices currently seem cheaper because manufacturers are selling at a loss.gg83 said:Is it even worth investigating in hdd tech anymore? These new mosaic + tech sounds very complex and expensive.
That didn't answer my question at all. I guess I could have been more specific.PBme said:Do you think current hard drives seem simple and was cheap to develop? Called technology, always complex and always expensive when creating something new. But even then, this end product, even for early adaptors, is likely a tiny fraction of the cost of what that amount of space in SSD's would be.