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Seagate Hits 1 Terabit Per Square Inch

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the please-take-a-minute-to-wonder dept.

Data Storage 224

MrSeb was one of several readers to submit news that drive manufacturer Seagate has announced (and demoed) the first hard drive to squeeze a terabit into each square inch of platter. "'Initially this will result in 6TB 3.5-inch desktop drives and 2TB 2.5-inch laptop drives, but eventually Seagate is promising up to 60TB and 20TB respectively. To achieve such a huge leap in density, Seagate had to use a technology called heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR). Basically, the main issue that governs hard drive density is the size of each magnetic 'bit.' These can only be made so small until the magnetism of nearby bits affects them. With HAMR, 'high density' magnetic compounds that can withstand further miniaturization are used. The only problem is that these materials, such as iron platinum alloy, are more stubborn when it comes to writing data — but if you heat it first, that problem goes away. With HAMR, Seagate has strapped a laser to the hard drive head; when it wants to write data, the laser turns on. Reading data is still done conventionally, without the laser. In theory, HAMR should allow for areal densities up to 10 terabits per square inch (magnetic sites that are just 1nm long!), and thus desktop hard drives in the 60TB range."

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Wondering (4, Insightful)

hardburlyboogerman (161244) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412517)

Can current motherboards handle that?

Re:Wondering (4, Insightful)

xushi (740195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412543)

Also wondering, will this set back SSD by 5 years?

No. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39412569)

They are on ultimately diverging paths which may coexist symbiotically forever unless one beats the other out in either cost, reliability, or functionality.

Re:Wondering (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412741)

Also wondering, will this set back SSD by 5 years?

Probably not: This advance(while definitely helpful to the HDD, and no doubt some very impressive engineering work from the R&D team) is a reinforcement of exactly the same virtues that HDDs have historically had and of virtually no value in addressing their historical weaknesses:

1. Capacity/dollar: Once the production is tooled up, the cost/gigabyte for HDDs can be expected to continue to decline.
2. Linear read/write speed: Because of their high areal density and fairly swift rotation, HDDs can read or write like a bat out of hell as long as they don't have to do much seeking. Seeky or random I/O tanks them because of the need to physically move the head around and possibly wait the better part of a platter rotation for the spot you want.

It will continue to be the case that HDDs are cheap for the capacity, and fast as hell for nice, linear, streaming operations; but SSDs can churn out the random I/O without breaking a sweat and are available in physically smaller and more shock-resistant packages(the economical range for HDDs is basically defined in multiples of the volume of a 2.5inch HDD, and don't drop them, SSDs start at BGAs the size of your fingernail and scale in multiples of those until your wallet explodes...

Re:Wondering (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39413531)

HDDs can read or write like a bat out of hell as long as they don't have to do much seeking

Bullshit. SSDs have passed that mark a few years ago.
SSDs are transfering 500-600 MBytes/sec, while the mechanical ones are still there in stone age at 128 MBytes/sec (148 if you wanna live with an insanely noisy and power hungry one).

Its only Capacity/dollar, and that one got close already. Don't kid yourself, this is the dying breath of the HDDs.

To give you a real world example: my next setup(next month) is a raid of 6 cheap SSDs with a total capacity of 3 TB and transfer speed of 3 GBytes/sec. Yes, you read that correctly, that's 3 GIGABYTES PER SECOND with a cheap home system. You go right ahead and wait for 2 fucking hours for your 50 GB Bluray image to be copied/processed on your mechanical toaster; I'm sticking with my 1 minute with complete silence and low power consumption.

HDDs are dead to me already.

Re:Wondering (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412649)

Depends on your definition of 'current'; but it shouldn't be an issue(density strictly speaking, isn't even meaningfully visible to the motherboard, except in the broad terms that denser=greater capacity from whatever number of platters is viable).

That said, there are probably still a large number of motherboards that will be questionably bootable from the greater-than-2-terabyte drives that these platters are presumably intended for(some ghastly MBR thing); but anything new enough for 48-bit LBA and a modern OS should, at least, support perfectly normal OS use of the drive once everything is booted.

Re:Wondering (4, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412723)

Can current motherboards handle that?

Do you mean would PC manufacturers would design in arbitrary limits in their hardware and/or BIOS that would create some kind of "barrier", so that disks that are too big won't work with the system?

That's highly doubtful. Nobody would be that stupid... would they?

Re:Wondering (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412901)

It's a legacy thing, not an intentional-crippling thing:

The BIOS' handling of block devices dates back to when booting your OS off a floppy wasn't considered deviant behavior, and a 5MB HDD was some pretty serious gear. The details are kind of messy [wikipedia.org] ...

Most reasonably contemporary stuff should at least do 48-bit LBA; but there are still a lot of systems in the wild that still need MBR, at least on the boot disk(which limits you to 2TB partitions).

Re:Wondering (2)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413087)

Yeah, they always claim that "this time, we've fixed the barriers for good!". Then a few years later, you learn about some new barrier.

I had to deal with a subtle version of this just recently when they upped the hardware block size. Lots of fun trying to partition and boot my new disks; LBA didn't save the day there.

After hitting a dozen or so "barriers" over the decades, I doubt that they're ever going to really succeed in future-proofing systems for storage size.

Re:Wondering (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413231)

From a motherboard manufacturer's standpoint, they will future proof but only so far. The main reason is cost and practicality. They could future proof something ten years in advance but what is the likely hood that the equipment isn't obsolete by then. Also future proofing that far means support. They would rather introduce new models every few years and leave out backwards compatibility. Now if you are willing to pay more for a board that is more future proof, you can do so. But most people want cheap. Also most people replace whole computers than upgrade. So you are in the minority.

Re:Wondering (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413523)

EFI with GPT does solve the problem once and for all, it's just not common yet since Windows 7 was the first common desktop OS to support EFI.

Re:Wondering (4, Informative)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413351)

Computers tend to measure things with fixed size binary numbers since these are by far the most efficient format for them to handle and process. When chosing the size of these numbers there is always a compromise between efficiency and future proofing. Usually the margin left by the designers is enough to last a while.

However for long lived standards as the years pass that margin is eaten up. Eventually it reaches the point where all the margin is eaten up and things have to be redesigned . The most recent one we hit was that the conventional MBR partition table has a limit of 2^32 sectors (=2TiB assuming standard size sectors). Making things worse is the fact that MS refuses to support the combination of a GPT partition table on the boot drive with conventional BIOS booting so the motherboard may be able to see and access the large drive but it if doesn't support UEFI you can't use the whole drive as a windows boot drive.

Afaict the next barrier we will hit is the LBA48 limit of 2^48 sectors (=128PiB assuming standard size sectors). So a 60TB drive shouldn't be any more problematic than a 3TB one.

Re:Wondering (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413413)

Do you mean would PC manufacturers would design in arbitrary limits in their hardware and/or BIOS that would create some kind of "barrier", so that disks that are too big won't work with the system?

This rerun from 2002 [slashdot.org] might interest you. A snippet:

My old 400mz machine still plays all the new games, and with a little more memory would play them in XP (assuming I wanted to throw away another hundred dollars on a new OS I don't need). Plus, Becky's laptop is the first whole computer I've bought since I purchased a used IBM XT in 1987; I've built from spare parts since.
                I didn't know that older (in this case "older" means about three years) BIOSs couldn't handle drive sizes larger than 30gb. I had run across the same problem years ago while trying to install a huge (for the time) half gigabyte drive in a 386; then, the limit was 512mb. The Seagate I had bought then had come with software to overcome the limitation, and it had worked flawlessly.
                I can't say the same about the new Maxtor!
                I fought with that thing all weekend; its workarounds wouldn't work around. This on top of a defective installation floppy!
                It made Windows freeze at the desktop; then after a Windows reinstall, it was still hosed. Nowhere in the printed documentation was it mentioned, but I finally found a workaround deep inside one of the installation/test programs that involved lying to the BIOS.
                Bingo! It booted into Windows with no problem!
                But the drive wouldn't work. So I rebooted into DOS and did a high level format; the software was supposed to have done it but didn't.
                It booted into Windows and the drive worked!
                I rebooted; it still worked. I copied a half dozen gigabytes of data from the laptop to the new hard drive in the old PC, which it read with no problem. I rebooted again.
                All the data were garbage (and all your base are belong to us).
                I wrote over the garbaged-up data several times and low level formatted the drive one last time, then boxed it up for Becky to return. The new 30gb Western Digital is supposed to get here from JDR Monday afternoon.

Re:Wondering (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412731)

LBA-48 should be good up to 128PiB.

Re:Wondering (0)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413319)

For those of us who are computer people and not electricians, that is Petabytes.

Re:Wondering (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413469)

Pebibytes.Or possibly Pibibytes. Powers of two, not ten.

Re:Wondering (1)

gabereiser (1662967) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413283)

could they handle 60tb? probably... handle a format in anything less than a year's wait? probably not... even at 6gbps speeds of SATA III... it wouldn't make a difference if you had 1tb or 60tb... as the speed of the platter is what matters most to desktop users now a days. Sounds great for servers/file storage... doesn't make a difference to me and the speed of which I move files, video, games, iso's around on my drives. Now if they were to say "Hey, we increased the speed of SATA..." and came out with a SATA IV spec with like 12gbps speeds I'd say "Yey!" but ultimately... you get the picture.

100% shark jokes (4, Funny)

Zouden (232738) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412535)

"Seagate has strapped a laser to the hard drive head"

Well, there goes my hopes for an intelligent discussion.

HAMR Time (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39412551)

STOP! It's HAMR time!

Re:HAMR Time (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412879)

HAMR don't hurt em!

HAMR Head Sharks can hold two frickin lasers! (4, Funny)

Dareth (47614) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413051)

HAMR Head Sharks can hold two frickin lasers! Take that you great white hater!

Re:HAMR Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39413067)

Platter to head: U Can't Touch This!

Re:100% shark jokes (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39412571)

Yes, they have strapped a laser to the HAMR head.

Re:100% shark jokes (1)

modernzombie (1496981) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412815)

Really wish I had mod points for this. +1

Re:100% shark jokes (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413195)

And I wish I had mod points, too. That's great.

Re:100% shark jokes (2)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412693)

In my understanding, they have basically reinvented the MiniDisc, only at higher storage densities?
(Disproving your point ;) )

Re:100% shark jokes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39412935)

No, its actually more like the reverse of thee magneto-optical technology, like the one in the MiniDisk. Basically the MO writes the data heating the surface of the disk with the laser an then use a magnetic head to write the data but the read is optical and in this case the laser is used to write and the magnetic head to read the data.

Re:100% shark jokes (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412959)

To the best of my understanding, there is one major difference: the magneto-optical drives(minidisc and others) used the laser to do reads as well as to heat sectors to lower their coercivity so that the magnetic head could rewrite them. This HDD-derived technology does magnetic reads; but incorporates a laser for heating during writes, allowing you to use high-coercivity materials(which allow smaller sectors to remain stable over time; but would be prohibitive to rewrite in their normal state).

This is bad.... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39412573)

MPAA says this will cost the entertainment industry billions of dollars every year.

Re:This is bad.... (4, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412651)

MPAA says this will cost the entertainment industry billions of dollars every year.

Trillions of dollars every day! Won't you think of the children of the entertainment company lawyers who may never see thier parent because they are working 24/7 too protect the poor defenseless movie companies and the billions of americans who will loose thier jobs for each of these drives that are sold!

Re:This is bad.... (1)

hardburlyboogerman (161244) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412839)

The MPAA can kiss my big red hairy ass for all I care

Re:This is bad.... (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413045)

The result of this is trillions upon trillions stolen from children*!

(*After all, we are somebody's child.)

Re:This is bad.... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412813)

This seems like a logically valid(please note, dear reader, the difference between validity and truth) deduction, according to the official MPAA-math axioms:

1. All pirates have a willingness to pay equal to the MSRP for a given MPAA-member copyrighted work.
2. All storage devices not sold filled with an MPAA-approved copyrighted work are intended for use by pirates.
3. (Bonus Axiom of Choice): A content cartel hatchetman may, at his option, choose to replace "MPAA" with "RIAA" in these axioms.

Some Perspective from their CEO: (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412587)

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn."

Re:Some Perspective from their CEO: (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412667)

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn."

Well, that's wrong, whether or not he believes it. Examples of massive datastores that are changing the world (for better or worse) are individualized advertising and government big brother systems. The Large Hadron Collider also has over 60 petabytes of disk storage.

Re:Some Perspective from their CEO: (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412985)

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn."

Well, that's wrong, whether or not he believes it. Examples of massive datastores that are changing the world (for better or worse) are individualized advertising and government big brother systems. The Large Hadron Collider also has over 60 petabytes of disk storage.

Considering your examples here lean more towards the "for worse" side of changing the world, it's not helping the argument much. Personally, this is one scenario where hardware capability has FAR exceeded demand, so justification (especially on the consumer side) is questionable at best. Perhaps the (ex) CEO had a point here, regardless of how crass it may have come across.

Re:Some Perspective from their CEO: (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412697)

Ex-CEO. That was Bill Watkins, who was replaced in 2009 by Stephen J. Luczo. And for all the candor of that statement "pirate more crap" would probably be even more honest...

Re:Some Perspective from their CEO: (1)

RicktheBrick (588466) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413055)

I do not think the average person would want to buy 60 terabytes of anything. Lets go with just a dime for a gigabyte since there are 60,000 gigabytes in 60 terabyte it would mean $6,000 to fill it. Lets look at the cheapest cost per byte which I think would be the blue ray movie. Lets say that one could get 25 gigabytes for just $10. That is very cheap today and it still $.40 a gigabyte or $24,000 for the 60 terabyte and $2,400 for the 6 terabyte drive. Even today, until we get the MPAA off our back and they allow the storage of movies on hard drives, for the average person this is just overkill. Even if one could store that many movies the vast majority of them would never be watched again. I think the same would go for home video too. I hope that the internet speed increase to the point where only the ISP has to have a hard drive and I never have to worry about a hard drive failure again.

Re:Some Perspective from their CEO: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39413311)

My MythTV backend pulls about 8GB/Hour when recording from each of its two tuners. While there really isn't much on worth recording, I do about a terabyte a month. Having a single HDD with five years of recorded shows isn't so awful. And if it fails it's no big deal, things will get re-recorded during re-runs.

Re:Some Perspective from their CEO: (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413357)

I do not think the average person would want to buy 60 terabytes of anything.

It wasn't that long ago when I was running a 286 with a 40MB hard drive. "No one could fill that" I thought... and it wasn't long until I did.
Upgraded to a 486 with 200GB drive... Then I added an 850MB drive... "no one could fill that" I thought... within a few months it was full.
The list goes on - 1GB, 6GB, 20GB, 40GB, 1TB. Anyone who thinks that people won't want 60TB drives at some point in the future needs to look carefully at the past - in a few years time, they will look as silly as the people who thought, only 20 years ago, that 40MB was fine and 40GB would be an outrageously large size.

Re:Some Perspective from their CEO: (1)

GLMDesigns (2044134) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413511)

What about privacy? Either you have easy to use encryption or you store your own data. I think a lot of people will choose to have their own HDs in addition to any other ease-of-use solution.

What's an "inch"? (0, Flamebait)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412595)

What is this "inch" you keep going on about? Who's thumb is that, yours, mine or some king or others? How about using some sensible measurements for a change? Fractions of a football pitch should do it, or at a pinch, submultiples of "the size of Wales".

Re:What's an "inch"? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39412655)

You're absolutely right!!! Why didn't they measure it in meters??? Then I'd have some scale being able to compare it to the length of the path travelled by light in a vacuum in 1/299792458 of a second! I mean, everyone has some idea what that is...

Re:What's an "inch"? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413063)

You're absolutely right!!! Why didn't they measure it in meters??? Then I'd have some scale being able to compare it to the length of the path travelled by light in a vacuum in 1/299792458 of a second! I mean, everyone has some idea what that is...

Don't listen to those pointy-headed physicists and their ivory-tower propaganda! The One True Metre is a piece of Platinum/Iridium bar-stock painstakingly stored by the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures and roughly the same length as 1/10,000,000th of an incorrect estimate of 1/4 of a terrestrial meridian!

Re:What's an "inch"? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39412759)

Can you describe what a centimeter is, relative to something else?
A fraction of the distance from the equator to the north poll?
The distance light travels in a fraction of a second? What's a second?

The length of someone's thumb, or a fraction of someones foot is possibly more relevant to humans.

that said, yes, m and cm are ok too.

but do you ask for a 8.89 or 6.35 cm harddrive?

Re:What's an "inch"? (2)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413441)

but do you ask for a 8.89 or 6.35 cm harddrive?

Also note that drive bays were named after the size of the disks that went in the drives that went in the bays. Not after the size of the bays themselves.

Re:What's an "inch"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39413661)

Can you describe what a centimeter is, relative to something else?

How's this - it's the length of one edge of a cube that contains one gram of water.

Re:What's an "inch"? (2)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412873)

Let's bring back hogsheads and firkins!

Re:What's an "inch"? (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412877)

Be SILENT Welshman or you're getting ye stones a lashing...

Re:What's an "inch"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39412891)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inch [wikipedia.org]

Here, hope this helps. In the future, maybe you can be more self-reliant in expanding your knowledge. Google is a good place to start.

Re:What's an "inch"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39412927)

Get fucked, eurotrash. You don't belong on a US-ian site, fag. There is a reason we do things differently here. Because we think your way is bollocks.

Re:What's an "inch"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39412937)

What is it with the inevitable faggot making sarcastic comments about non-Metric units of measure every time they creep up? What's more irritating than a grammar nazi? A fucking units of measure nazi. Suck a cock...

How about reliability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39412621)

For the past few years, I've seen so many bad drives from all the major manufacturers, I wonder if they'll start looking at reliability over size?

Re:How about reliability? (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412635)

Once size is sufficient, you can solve reliability through redundency.

Re:How about reliability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39412699)

Once size is sufficient, you can solve reliability through redundency.

Redundancy is all well and good for us technical folks. I backup my desktop to an external HD, as well as my basement server. And I backup my basement server to a separate external HD. But that's more than you can expect most consumers to do.

Time is money, and I don't want to waste my time or money trying to achieve reliability rates for modern drives that seemed normal 5-10 years ago.

Re:How about reliability? (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412707)

Not with RAID you can't. If you don't decrease the unrecoverable error rate as you increase the size of the volume, eventually you get to the point where you're almost certain to hit an unrecoverable error while rebuilding your volume. So the real question is, how is the read error rate on these tightly packed data domains?

Re:How about reliability? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413633)

Only if the drive manufacturer helps you and _transparently_ does the redundancy for you at the level of reliability you want.

Because for single drive systems if you hit many bad sectors even though you have redundant copies on other sectors your throughput is going to drop to impractical rates (assuming you actually care about storing and retrieving TBs of data). The error recovery timeouts are usually in the order of _seconds_.

And if you're going to have multiple redundant drives, capacity might no longer be as important, performance and reliability might be more important. Because if your drives are too unreliable for their size you're going to need cleverer RAID controller software that won't "offline" a drive just because one sector is faulty especially on reads (it tries to read the data from all the array drives and as soon as it has enough data to build an answer, it sends it to the computer - even if a drive is not responding). Is such RAID software available?

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Error_recovery_control [wikipedia.org]

*Evil Laugh* (1)

CPTreese (2114124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412685)

I want a hard drive with some frikin' lasers!!!!!

Power? (4, Interesting)

Quantus347 (1220456) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412713)

I wonder what the power consumption increase is if you have to strap a heating laser to the write head. Lately the market seem to reward Technology that trends toward less power usage, not more

Re:Power? (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413091)

Power? I'm guessing a little over nil if it is focusing on 1nm or smaller areas.

Re:Power? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413125)

The power budget for the laser obviously isn't zero; but if you only want to heat a very small area for a small fraction of a second the total power required to achieve truly alarming "watts/meter^2" is surprisingly small.

More broadly, Seagate probably knows as well as anybody(although certainly isn't happy about it) that the small-n'-low power market is basically lost for mechanical HDDs. Game over. They'll stick around in cheapie laptops because they are cheap, and in crazed-enthusiast DTR and workstation models because they are huge; but Flash is taking over the good bits.

In those areas where Serious Storage Capacity still counts, the energy cost of having X platters and 2X heads fighting air resistance as they zip around at high speeds really starts to add up. If you increase the areal density of a platter, you increase the storage capacity of a given number of platters, allowing your customers to either reduce platter counts for a constant workload, or maintain constant platter counts under an increased workload.

Re:Power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39413599)

I'm sure they turn the laser off unless the are writing, they don't want the laser to die. Write time is a tiny fraction of the life of a drive. Heat build up and battery drain should be more a function of the extra mass at the end of the actuator and the amount of seeking. So the big problem is still the drag of the disk spinning in air.

Still will go unused (3, Insightful)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412721)

Granted most of *us* can find something to fill it but when Dell and other bulk PC makers start including 1TB or 10TB drives in their basic PC's, most of it will still be unused by the general public. With higher MP cameras I can fill mine up with video and pics and a few converted movies/music. But with streaming options and so much available online or stored online for you, I just don't see the need to keep a ton of torrented movies and other files around taking up space and having to manage.

The more space we have, it seems the more we keep. I can see a new show as a spinoff of "Hoarders" showing just what all is in your computers HDD.

Re:Still will go unused (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413243)

With the recent crackdowns on behalf of the MAFIAA, and the uncertainty of cloud based storage (see the Jotform debacle [wired.com] ) I think that the government is doing far more to advance "digital hoarding" than hard drive manufacturers and the ever-increasing size of hdd's.

I have about 4 TB's of external storage, and I've filled about 2.7 TB's of it so far just with stuff that I could stream or re-download but just don't have enough faith that the ability will be there tomorrow. Outside of my personal documents (which I would never trust solely to cloud storage, that's just begging to be screwed one morning after a bullshit domain name seizure) I have a ton of media I just do not want to lose access to again. Plus, add in the ISPs and their bullshit bandwidth caps and "throttling" these days, and you've got even more pressure to keep things local since streaming eats up so much fucking bandwidth.

I think there's a lot of potential with the cloud and streaming media, but it's being hampered by these 20th century media companies and their out-of-date business model. It's stifling innovation, but it seems our government would rather assist them in propping up their business plan than truly innovate. Probably because the innovaters aren't writing such large checks to make sure the government favors them like the MAFIAA does. [dailykos.com]

Re:Still will go unused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39413323)

You can't stream video all the time without hitting bandwidth caps and other nastiness. Especially at HDTV bitrates. What if your Internet is down or otherwise too slow to stream properly?

For now anyway. Maybe some day in the future connectivity will be better but that's probably not going to change much for many years.

Too much storage = too much garbage (5, Insightful)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412751)

I've noticed that the more storage you have, the more junk you fill it with. At my work, we have SANs with several Terabytes of storage, mostly filled with junk. When you have millions of useless files, it becomes a tedious task to search, and backup data. In the early days, there was a lot more cleanup of stored data, and only important files were kept on disks.

Re:Too much storage = too much garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39413361)

Too much storage = too much risk.

I also think huge 60TB single drives are a big data risk. If you have a 500GB drive that goes bad (assuming it not part of a RAID or SAN) at most you loose 500GB of data. But if you have a 60TB drive, so huge you keep EVERYTHING on it, you stand to loose 60TB of data. Not a happy though. Even if you have it backed up, reconstructing that drive would take days.

Re:Too much storage = too much garbage (1)

DeathMagnetic (1365763) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413563)

I've definitely noticed this with my personal data storage, but I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. Given the growth rate of hard drive sizes, it's just no longer worth my time to spend hours, or even days, picking through my old data to save a few percentage points of capacity. Entire multi-gigabyte backups of old systems that once seemed massive, are now only small, insignificant directories within a multi-terabyte array. And with every passing year, the ever-falling cost/byte makes it even less worthwhile to go back and trim the fat. Yes, it can make finding things a pain if you're not well organized, but that's more a symptom of an underlying problem than a problem in itself. I sure don't miss the days of being forced to hastily delete things to make room for something else, only to later regret it when I unexpectedly have a need for that thing I've deleted.

Heat (1)

ShAkE_a82 (790061) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412755)

Wonder how much does the magnetic bit need to be heated before it can be written upon. When used in a laptop, battery consumption and heat generated by it might be an issue.

Re:Heat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39412851)

It needs to be heated to 1.75x10^14 liters/parsec.

Re:Heat (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412919)

It's heating a minuscule amount of material, I doubt very much energy is put into the heating, certainly not that'll make you notice more heat coming out of a laptop.

Re:Heat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39413637)

well yes.but number of repetitions of this process will be very large... so it's still a valid point. we have to know the numbers before we discredit its influence on heat generation and power usage

Happy to hear this. (1)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412829)

I for one am happy to hear this. A lot of people probably thinks this will slow down SSDs move to mainstream computers but I do not. Once SSDs get to a reasonable price (under $1/GB before rebates) I can see them start becoming a common option for computers people buy in places like Bestbuy. Just imagine the "upgrade your hard drive to ultra fast speeds. Load windows faster than ever before for only $50 more" ads.

With Leaps Like this SSD continues to fall behind (1)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412837)

Don't get me wrong I love my SSD drives, but that tech needs to to start finding some way to move forward at a faster and a better $/GB..I guess its $/TB now :)

Re:With Leaps Like this SSD continues to fall behi (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413121)

Look up racetrack memory on Wikipedia. If everything goes as planned, it'll actually out-perform SSDs (and even some DRAM) while having density comparable to hard drives.

While I suspect it'll never scale to mass production at consumer prices, maybe I'll be surprised.

Too bad we are in the post-desktop era (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412845)

Look forward to 60TB cellphones!

Re:Too bad we are in the post-desktop era (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413035)

Look forward to 60TB cellphones!

Meh. I'm just looking forward to when people stop calling them cellphones, since using ones voice to talk into them is rare to find these days.

Re:Too bad we are in the post-desktop era (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413559)

I'm sure when phones became popular, people complained that others would write less... now that others write more, people complain that they talk less.

Downsides? (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412893)

I am wondering what the downsides to such large density are: how fast can the laser be turned on and off? The longer it takes for it to fire the bigger the random write latency. Secondly, how long does such a laser last, can we expect 10 years from it? Thirdly, what does this mean for power consumption? More? Less? Fourth, on machines with write-heavy tasks would the drive heat up even more than they now do?

Sure, 60TB storage sounds a lot, but I have trouble believing this thing is as wonderful as Seagate makes it sound like.

Re:Downsides? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39413043)

The media heats and cools in 100-200 picoseconds; the laser turns on and off much faster than that. No addition to latency. Laser lifetime and reliability will be an engineering hurdle, but not a showstopper by the time a production drive is approved for release. The spot size of the laser on the media is much less than 100 x 100 nm (probably less than 50 x 50 nm) so the total heat added to the drive from the laser light itself is quite small. More heat will be added from the electronics, so thermal management of the drive environment my be more critical. However, caveats to all of these statements are that this is an early demo, not a production-ready drive, and in fact is likely not actually a real HDD like you would put in your PC. These demos are done in a lab environment with lab electronics, and lab mechanical systems to stay on-track. Still, this is a very significant step in showing that HAMR is on track for product plans later this decade.

Bit error rates might doom these drives ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39412895)

If they can't improve the bit error rates from where they are today, then increasing capacity by a factor of 30x or so is going to make these drives much more susceptible to hard failures.

I think they're going to have to make these HDDs pretty dang smart using things like automatic on-disk redundancy and "failover" in addition to proactive and accurate detection and avoidance of "bad" sectors.

May get to 50 TB per sq in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39412929)

From Wikipedia: "Seagate believes it can produce 300 terabit (37.5 terabyte) Hard disk drives using HAMR technology"

HAMMER on HAMR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39412951)

It's obvious that the DragonFly guys are geeked for this.. I mean HAMMER on HAMR is going to rock.

It's heat-assisted (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412967)

I have a lot of heat coming from my rig. This oughta work fine on it!

what about useful units? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39412973)

like terabit per cm? Maybe even terabit per cm, as the medium always is having some volume.

TOO Big (1)

StrifeJester (1326559) | more than 2 years ago | (#39412991)

I really hope they figure out how to make a faster read write speed. It is already almost a given that if you have a RAID 5 setup with 2TB drives there is bound to be an error during rebuild. There was a report on the chance of failure of an array using large drives failing during rebuild. So instead of RAID6 or are we going to have to go to a 3 parity RAID? They claimed RAID 5 should have failed in 09 and that is sata drives but if you put 60TB on a single drive you are asking for trouble IMO. Granted a nice RAID10 would be nice though. http://www.zdnet.com/blog/storage/why-raid-5-stops-working-in-2009/162 [zdnet.com]

Re:TOO Big (1)

swilver (617741) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413177)

Replace the 60 TB for 60 GB and this comment could have been posted 10 years ago, yet the world hasn't imploded.

Time-to-market? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413003)

I recently did some calculations off Kryder's Law, and happened to keep the results. We would normally expect (based purely off regular continuous improvement) 6TB hard drives as early as next year, and 60TB hard drives around 2018.

So, while this is undoubtedly an improvement, it's not exactly a revolutionary one. WD et al. are probably at similar stages, either with this technology or with some other technique.

Is it me? (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413019)

Cool. Instead of using say a half dozen smaller drives and losing some data to drive failure, now you can put it all in one place and lose it all at once!

Re:Is it me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39413287)

or buy two and use Raid 1.

A cheap NAS in the corner will be able to store a library congress.
Neat.

Must stop... too easy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39413027)

So they are just going to HAMR that data in?

You never know how much HAMRing they had to do to shove it all on there.

Maybe if they HAMR a little easier the drives will be less moody.

How often can we HAMR the drives before they want to leave us?

Is our relationship only going to be a HAMRing?

Short-stroking (2)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413061)

As the density increases, the size of a short-stroked partition will be physically smaller too, making the seek times shorter. :)

What about the positionning precision? (1)

nicomede (1228020) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413081)

As an engineer I am truly impressed by the clever material breakthrough. However, I can't imagine how they can manage the mechanical precision on the positionning on the read/write locations of the HDD. Having a 1 nm wide bit size is not helpful if you are not in the same range for the relative head/disk position? Or I am missing something?

Laser Failure Mode (2)

BennyB2k4 (799512) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413307)

The good news is that if the laser fails, the data should still be available to read and copy onto a new hard drive. If the laser was needed for reading as well, I'd be wary of the reliability.

I wonder if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39413321)

this is somehow related to this: http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/12/01/12/206224/ibm-shrinks-bit-size-to-12-atoms

Cost? Reliability? Water Resistance? (2, Interesting)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413337)

As much as I love stories about X company being able to stuff Y capacity into storage device, the last few years have proven instructive.

1) How about doing it and producing it in such a way so that it is cheaper, not more expensive than last year?
2) How about making them at least a little bit reliable. I know you just want us to consume more and more of your drives, but lets get back to 5 year warranty's already. This one year BS is BS.
3) Maybe rather than doing the R&D to find a 60TB HD you do the R&D to find a building lot not on a fscking flood plain?

Thanks,
      From everyone that bought a HD in the last year or so...

Seems like a bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39413339)

This seems like a step in the wrong direction. Yes maybe for archival purposes the HAMR process might be just what is needed. But the problem with existing drives is 1. Temperature , 2. Power consumption, 3. Reliability. None of this is solved by making it consume more power.

And much of the problem can be thrown back at the OS vendors who do things like "try to keep as much RAM free by swapping to the hard drive as much as possible." Windows, Linux, that's you. FreeBSD doesn't do this.

What I could see happening is that SLC NAND drives come in 64GB sizes cheaply, and these drives become OS drives, and just sit plugged in to a PCIe3.0 slot and OS's start being designed around it. Then connected drives are always used as data, programs, or swap/tmp depending on their properties when powered up. If the device is SLC NAND (High durability Single cell NAND) it can be used for everything but temp/swap. If it's MLC NAND, it can't be used for the OS but can be used for programs or data, and absolutely not for swap/temp. If it's RAMDRIVE, it can be used for swap, temp, and if battery backed it can also be used for hibernate. If it's a low-power spinning drive, then the OS tries not to put the Swap/temp/Hibernate on it (since it would keep spinning up and down whenever the swap is written) unless there are no other drives. If it's an "always on, high power, high speed" drive, then it avoids temporary and swap files but can be chained together with other drives for redundancy.

The issue I see, is that power isn't even being considered. Vibration and noise probably isn't either. It almost seems like the error rate would increase with smaller bits, and this seems to keep bringing spinning drives closer to the unreliability point that SSD's have.

iron/platinum? (1)

gb7djk (857694) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413379)

I know that there are some pretty exotic coatings in use today, but I can't help feeling, considering the number of disks likely to be sold, that this is not going to help conserve the already overstretched usage of noble metals (e.g catalytic converters etc). If Seagate bring this to market at a competitive price, then that will would be another reason to invest in noble metal mining shares (or even metal, if one can stomach the ride).

Will it actually hit the market? (1)

SGDarkKnight (253157) | more than 2 years ago | (#39413403)

This will probably get modded all to shit since i dont have a referance, but do you think this technology will actually hit the market?

I remember back in the good old days of CD's, there was a company that created a new type of recording information to CD's using fluorescent lighting. They had a working model they presented at a technology expo, and it was all the rave saying how it will blow CD's and DVD's out of the water with the amount of storage capacity (they were able to get close to a hundred layers on a disc the size of a CD). I can't remember what the exact storage capacity was, and a google search comes up with nothing anymore. I just remember that the company suddenly disappeared (probably bought out and the tech scrapped).

Makes me wonder if the same thing might happen again, although, with a company as well known as seagate, I think it might be harder for them to disappear.

And yet in 2012 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39413649)

My modern PC will still become completely unresponsive during intense disk operations. Even the UI will not respond. I have 8 cpu cores and 8GB of RAM. Yet the UI fails to respond until the current io process has completed. Why?

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