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

Storage drives have come a long way in the past 10 years, but that's nothing in comparison with what Western Digital has planned. The event, held at the company's headquarters in Silicon Valley, included a demonstration of the world's first microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR) HDD and presentations from company executives and the inventor of MAMR technology, Professor Jimmy Zhu from Carnegie Mellon University. Not only would HAMR require completely new manufacturing techniques, but servers would also need new driver software to manage wear leveling caused by the rapid and repeated heating.

"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", the company claimed. Western Digital's innovative MAMR technology is expected to offer over 4 terabits-per-square-inch over time.

"With sustained improvements in recording density, MAMR promises to enable hard drives with 40TB of capacity and beyond by 2025, and continued expansion beyond that time frame", WD said.

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Previously, WD looked into a heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology to dramatically increase data storage capacity. Data centers are constantly after higher capacity drives, and Western Digital thinks MAMR is the way to do it.

The company says its Damascene head-making process is the second key component in bringing MAMR technology to a manufacturable state.

The first MAMR hard-disk drives will be running in data centres by 2020, according to WD, but will quickly find their way into an array of different products, including consumer products, according to IDC. Many believed that due to stagnation in hard drive density technology, the switch to flash in bulk storage environments was imminent. The Damascene process involves precise depositing and etching layers of magnetic and non-magnetic materials to arrive at a finished head.

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MAMR doesn't heat the recording medium at all, and the technology to make it work is invisible to the host machine.

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.

Western Digital has a nice new video which demonstrates all of their HDD innovations, including the new MAMR. Western Digital data-centric solutions are marketed under the G-Technology, HGST, SanDisk, Tegile, Upthere and WD brands.

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