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13 October 2017, 02:21 | Casey Mitchell
Experts since the mid-2000s have forecasted that flash memory would eventually surpass traditional hard drives in the cost category, a vital metric in the enterprise space.
WESTERN DIGITAL (WD) has unveiled what it claims is the "world's first" microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR) hard-disk that, it claims, can improve capacity, performance and reliability of conventional hard-disk technology.
WD and its competitors have been working on drives using a similar energy-assisted recording concept called heat-assist magnetic recording for over a decade, with prototype drives demonstrated all the way back in 2007.
MAMR is one of two energy-assisted technologies that Western Digital has been developing for years. The company claims that MAMR can deliver on the reliability and cost targets needed by its datacenter customers, and HAMR cannot.
WD says that the material science and reliability challenges that have prolonged the development of HAMR are not an issue when it comes to MAMR.
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. The company claims that MAMR, coupled with helium-sealed, shingled recording, and other technologies could allow the company to offer drives with a capacity of 40 TB in 2025 and even larger drives further into the future. 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.
The new MAMR technology is innovative, yet classic in regards to the materials.
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. The higher heat required for HAMR impacts reliability of the media, head and interface materials. The Damascene process also provides the capability to embed the spin torque oscillator that enables the manufacturing of MAMR heads.
Western Digital has a nice new video which demonstrates all of their HDD innovations, including the new MAMR.
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.
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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