Digitization leads to rapid growth in data volumes, especially for servers, storage systems, and archiving solutions in data centers. European companies are experiencing a 38% yearly increase in data volume, and it is projected that each organization will have over two petabytes of data by 2022.
This trend highlights the need for large-capacity hard disks.
Hard Disks with Ultra-Thin Graphene Coating
Researchers at the University of Cambridge have made a significant breakthrough in hard disk technology by utilizing a graphene coating. This wafer-thin graphene layer, when combined with Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) techniques, enables storage density to increase tenfold, which would enable hard disks with a capacity exceeding 100 TBytes.
The traditional coating used on hard disks has been carbon. However, graphene offers a distinct advantage as it can be applied at a thickness of around 1 nanometer compared to the 2.5-3 nm thickness of carbon. This means the read and write heads can be brought closer to the magnetic disk, resulting in higher recording density.
The research team achieved this breakthrough by depositing a thin layer of graphene on the disk’s surface and utilizing HAMR techniques to enable data writing. HAMR techniques use lasers to heat up the disk surface temporarily, allowing data to be written more efficiently at higher densities.
The potential impact of this technology could be significant, especially for data centers that require high-capacity storage solutions. For example, a hard disk with a capacity exceeding 100 TBytes would be able to store around 20 million high-resolution photos or 20,000 high-definition movies.
Although the technology is still in the development stage, researchers are optimistic about its commercial viability. This breakthrough could lead to the creation of smaller, higher capacity hard drives that are more energy-efficient and cost-effective.
New Recording Techniques Promise Higher Storage Densities for Hard Disks
The advancement of data storage technology relies heavily on the development of recording technology.
One of the most promising techniques, Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR), involves the use of lasers integrated into the write head to heat magnetic particles to just below their Curie temperature of 450 degrees before writing.
This lowers the magnetic field strength needed for the writing process, allowing write heads to become smaller, and storage density to increase.
Further progress in recording technology is anticipated with the implementation of bit-patterned magnetic recording (BPMR). This technique involves forcing bits into non-magnetic indentations only a few nanometers in size to create islands. The combination of HAMR and BPMR is expected to result in storage densities of up to 10 terabits per square inch, which is ten times that of current hard disks.
Although these technologies are still in the development stage, they hold significant promise for the future of data storage. In addition to higher storage densities, these technologies may also lead to smaller, more energy-efficient, and cost-effective hard drives.
This would be especially beneficial for data centers, which require large-capacity storage solutions while minimizing their environmental impact and costs.
As the volume of digital data continues to grow, researchers are continually exploring new technologies to keep up with this demand.
HAMR and BPMR are two examples of these advancements, which could revolutionize the way we store and access data in the future.
MACH.2 and HAMR Technologies Bring Enhanced Performance and Capacity to HDDs
HDDs remain competitive with flash storage media due to ongoing technological advancements, such as Seagate’s MACH.2 technology. T
This technology addresses the challenge of providing low latency access times for cloud and hosting service providers whose users share storage space on a server or storage system.
With standard HDDs, a single actuator with one data path must cover all read and write accesses, resulting in increased access times.
Furthermore, larger HDDs have fewer Input/Output Operations per Second (IOPS) available per terabyte if specified latency times must be met. In nearline storage systems using 10 TB HDDs, the ratio is approximately 8 IOPS/TB, but this drops to approximately 3 IOPS/TB for models using 24 TB HDDs.
As a result, workloads can only utilize a portion of the booked HDD resources to avoid high delay times.
Another promising technology in HDD development is Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR). HAMR uses lasers to heat magnetic bits on the disk surface, allowing for smaller write heads and increased storage density.
This could lead to HDDs with a capacity of more than 100 TBytes, as seen with the University of Cambridge’s graphene-coated hard disks. The combination of MACH.2 and HAMR technology offers higher performance and storage space for HDDs, making them more attractive for cloud and hosting service providers.
As digital data continues to grow, it is crucial to develop storage solutions that can keep up with demand while remaining cost-effective and energy-efficient. HDDs continue to evolve technologically to meet this challenge and remain competitive with flash storage media.
The combination of MACH.2 and HAMR technology represents a significant step forward in HDD development, offering greater performance and storage space for nearline storage systems used by cloud and hosting service providers.