Seagate working on next-gen HAMR hard drives with 30TB memory

After launching 20TB heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) storage drives, Seagate is reportedly working on hard drives with 30TB capacity
Gianluca Romano, Seagate’s CFO, at Citi 2021 Global Technology Virtual Conference said, “We have a 20TB HAMR that we actually started to sell December last year, […] we are just producing enough quantity that we can sell to our main customers so that they get familiar with the new drive. We are developing our second-generation HAMR drive that will probably be around 30TB. That is the drive that we want to ramp in volume.”
Consumers use faster solid-state drives (SSDs) for their storage needs whereas companies that use high-capacity HDDs are operators of exascale data centres like Google, Apple iCloud, One Drive, among others.
2nd generation HAMR drives
For those unfamiliar with HAMR, by temporarily heating the disk material during the writing process, the technology significantly enhances the amount of data that can be stored on a magnetic hard drive which allows for more data to be written in the same area.
Seagate’s HAMR technology allows it to increase the area density of its HDDs significantly and rather quickly. Modern 20TB HDDs featuring nine platters have an area density of around 1.116 Tb/inch2.

Seagate has demonstrated that its HAMR technology can support area densities of up to 2.6 TB/inch2 with a path to grow to 6TB/inch2 by 2030 to enable 100TB 3.5-inch HDDs. But HAMR is tricky as it requires not only new heads but also new media, which eventually slows down its adoption for mass products.
Future of storage technology
Romano did not disclose when the company expects its second-generation HAMR platform to hit the market. Yet, keeping in mind that Seagate plans to launch a 50TB HDD in FY2025 (which ends in mid-2025).
It is reasonable to expect the company to launch its 30TB hard drives sometime before that (the calendar year 2023 or early 2024). On the one hand, this means that Seagate still has aggressive plans for HAMR, but on the other hand, this means that the high-volume rollout of this technology will be delayed by a lot. What remains to be seen is how Seagate plans to keep increasing the capacities of its hard drives before its next-generation HAMR platform emerges.
Both Toshiba and Western Digital use energy-assisted magnetic recording technologies for their premium products. Meanwhile, Seagate’s 18TB HDD relies on PMR and TDMR technologies, which have proven to be quite efficient, but which are largely believed to be losing relevance.

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