Western Digital Promises 40TB HDDs Thanks to Microwaves

Western Digital Announces 'Breakthrough' In Disk-Drive Storage

Western Digital's MAMR technology is the latest innovation to significantly improve areal densities. The company also showcased advancements in micro actuation and Damascene recording head technology.

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 and Seagate (NASDAQ:STX) were both investigating heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) for the same objective but UBS thinks MAMR will prove the better solution. The company says the new tech could potentially be ready for market by the end of 2019, and it could allow the manufacture of 40 TB hard drives by 2025. Only MAMR demonstrates the reliability and cost profile that meets the demands of data center operators.

"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.

For about the a year ago and a half, flash memory storage devices have held the honor of stuffing more data in less space than any rotating magnetic storage (hard disk drive) device.

In the press release announcing the new technology, Western Digital quoted IDC analyst John Rydning as saying "Western Digital's demonstration of MAMR technology is a significant breakthrough for the hard-disk-drive industry". The head design would also be completely different than current hard drives, which adds to the manufacturing complications. 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. MAMR uses the same media materials and similar head manufacturing process as PMR. The combination of these technologies deliver superior total cost of ownership (TCO) across all sizes of cloud and enterprise data centers.

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 has announced the creation of the world's first hard drive based around microwave-assisted magenetic recording (MAMR) technology, which it claims will allow it to scale standard 3.5" hard drives up to 40TB.

No release date for the new Ultrastar Hs14 hard drive has been announced, but large customers are now sampling the product in low volumes, a Western Digital spokeswoman said.

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