The Next Generation of Hard Drives
When it comes to computers, internal memory, and external storage is among the most important features that users check. Demand for storage is driven by several factors, including Big Data, user-generated content, the Internet-of-Things (IoT), and enterprise usage. Despite the introduction of cost-efficient solid state drives (SSD), many people and data centers globally continue to invest in it.
Based on research featured by The University Of Sydney, there are over 2.5 billion hard drives currently estimated to be in use worldwide.
“If you lined up all the world’s hard drives back-to-back, they would go around the globe five times,” said lead author Zibin Chen.
As dependency on technology and virtual files grow, demand more reliable, secure, and bigger storage heightens. In this article, we want to look at the future by presenting upcoming features of the next generation of hard drives. Read on to find out more.
For cloud storage
As mobile devices and even computers rely on cloud storage, tech experts predict that spinning hard drives will be used only for cloud storage in the future and no longer for personal use.
According to a blog post by Google, they foresee the future of hard drives catering for large groups, especially since most personal devices are now choosing SSD which are typically faster and more reliable. Although it’s expensive, Google is still interested in optimizing hard drives in their data centers, and they just need it.
“We hope this is the beginning of a new era of ‘data center’ disks,” stated Eric Brewer, Google’s Infrastructure VP. “This shift has a range of interesting consequences including the counter-intuitive goal of having disks that are a little more likely to lose data, as we already have to have that data somewhere else anyway.”
The heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology has been going through testing for almost a decade by hard drive manufacturers to see if its ability to increase the capacity of hard disk drives (HDDs) will prevail the current market. This technology introduces a tiny laser that allows the drive to write bits of data closer together. It avoids the risk of unexpected polarity change.
Despite its mass production being delayed, it turns out the first HAMR-based HDDs will be available by 2018. Hideo Ichikawa, President of Showa Denko, confirmed that they are working on an HAMR device and foresee that they will begin mass producing them in two years time. Based on the official mid-term business plan of the company, it reads that they are planning to launch new generation media “in or after 2018.”
Seagate is also set to test the technology to select customers in late 2016 or early 2017. They want to check its reliability in actual data centers, its compatibility with existing infrastructure, and its speed in a real-world application.
Defeated by bigger SSD
As devices become smaller, storage of files gets bigger. Smartphones that were once able to only store a maximum of 1GB are now able to store up to 2TB of data. The O2 states that even low-range handsets can offer “64GB super fast UFS2.0 flash storage.” The same applies to laptops and desktops. Since files are now larger, the next step is to provide bigger memory capacity for high definition files.
However, SSDs are offering more robust and larger data storage. Seagate surprised the public when they recently unveiled the “world’s largest SSD” on the market featuring 60TB of memory. It beats the 15TB SSD that Samsung launched earlier this year.
Although production of said storage system has not started yet, it looks promising that the future will offer more memory compartment for PC files through SSD and less on a hard drive.
Written by Aliah Bea
Exclusive for hddmag.com