Western Digital's new MAMR technology promises 40TB HDDs by 2025

Data centers are constantly after higher capacity drives, and Western Digital thinks MAMR is the way to do it.

We're reaching the limits of areal density growth on PRM alone, but growing MAMR areal density on our new 8-disk platform gives us strong capacity far into the future, and will enable the company to achieve a 15% CAGR in enterprise hard drive storage capacity. HAMR has reliability issues due to the extreme heat utilized in the process and requires several complex and costly changes to drive infrastructure, among other challenges. So when will we see the first drives on the market? HAMR would require the development of new materials to become reliable enough.

About two years ago, Western Digital competitor Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ: STX) crammed more than 1 terabit (1 trillion bits) of data in a square inch of its highest capacity disk drives.

At the heart of the company's innovation breakthrough is the "spin torque oscillator" used to generate a microwave field that increases the ability to record data at ultra-high density without sacrificing reliability. However, their overall goal is to have 40TB HDDs on the market by 2025.

John Rydning, IDC's research VP whose focus is on hard disk drives and semiconductors, said the product is attractive to hyper-scale cloud operators and cloud providers because they are adding storage capacity at a fast pace, and the more capacity each hard drive has, the more they can store within a single data center's footprint.

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A key factor of MAMR, Western Digital claims, is that it doesn't suffer from reliability and material science challenges which abruptly halted HAMR's areal density expansion plans.

The Hs14 is built using Western Digital's fourth-generation HelioSeal technology, which fills and seals the drive with helium rather than air. "Western Digital's advanced micro actuation technology for data center applications enables hard drives to accurately and reliably position magnetic heads for writing and reading at ultra-high densities", claimed WD. The Damascene process involves precise depositing and etching layers of magnetic and non-magnetic materials to arrive at a finished head.

Western Digital stock closed down slightly on Wednesday and traded up less than 0.3% Thursday afternoon at $85.85, in a 52-week range of $52.10 to $95.77.

WESTERN DIGITAL (WD) has unveiled what it claims is the "world's first" microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR) hard-disk that, it claims, can improve capacity, performance and reliability of conventional hard-disk technology. The company is driving the innovation needed to help customers capture, preserve, access and transform an ever-increasing diversity of data.

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