HAMR Reliability Tests Exceed Industry Standards

Learn how Seagate MACH.2 and HAMR technologies are surpassing industry standards in reliability, speed, and response time.

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Partners work with Seagate to prepare HAMR and multi-actuator technology deployment

Seagate’s technology team reported at the recent Open Compute Project (OCP) Global Summit that partners have begun integration development with both our HAMR and MACH.2™ multi-actuator technologies. Several partners displayed these advanced technologies in their booth demos.

Seagate HAMR technology far exceeds customer reliability requirements

Seagate’s engineering team has revealed that in its latest in-lab reliability testing, our HAMR read/write heads have far exceeded industry standards and surpass customer requirements by a factor of 20.

The industry’s standard specification for nearline hard drive reliability anticipates that a drive will be able to transfer 550TB per year, or 2750TB total over a five-year period. On a hard drive with 18 read/write heads, each head is expected to transfer 152TB reliably over five years

The Seagate development team has now demonstrated a single HAMR read/write head transferring data for 6,000 hours reliably, equaling 3.2PB of data transferred on a single head. That’s more than 20 times the amount of data required by the specification.

How does this translate to a HAMR drive deployed in a data center?

“For any hard drive meeting industry specs, if all heads on the drive were writing 100% of the time in the field—which, of course, they don’t—that would mean each head had written 152TB,” explained Jason Feist, Seagate’s director of Enterprise Product Planning. “Or to put it into petabytes: the customer requirement is that a single head can write 0.152 petabytes; we’re already writing 3.2 petabytes on a single HAMR head.”

MACH.2 dual-actuator technology continues to set records

Seagate has been collaborating on testing and deployment of its MACH.2 dual-actuator hard drives (HDDs) with Microsoft® since late 2017 and has expanded availability to select partners. 

“MACH.2 multi-actuator technology is an IOPS-per-terabyte win for Seagate and our cloud provider partners,” said Tony Glavis, Seagate marketing initiative manager for Enterprise Applications, discussing the collaboration with Microsoft. “Our purpose is to accelerate performance technology innovation in the cost-sensitive storage tier, and MACH.2 does that by solving response time for the end user and enabling our cloud partners to attain SLA requirements. Continued advances in capacity with HAMR and increased IOPS with MACH.2 work together to improve cost efficiencies while sustaining performance.”

Editor’s note: Since this blog was first published, Seagate has continued to innovate and expand its Exos MACH.2 hard drive family, introducing four new models that offer higher capacity and enhanced performance. 

The latest Exos 2X18 hard drives deliver impressive capabilities, matching sequential read and write speeds of SATA solid-state drives and offering expanded capacities of 16TB and 18TB that surpass the previous generation’s 14TB capacity.

The Exos 2X18 family features six models, including two 18TB HDDs with SATA 6 Gbps, SAS 12 Gbps interfaces, and two 16TB variants with the same interfaces. It should be noted, SAS drives always come with encryption options. Seagate has achieved remarkable performance with these drives, with Exos 2X18 SATA boasting a maximum sustained transfer rate of 554 MBps and the SAS models reaching a sustained transfer rate of 545 MBps. These drives now hold the distinction of being the world’s fastest hard drives. Additionally, all four models exhibit an average latency of 4.16 ms and offer 304/560 random read/write IOPS (4K QD16).

The dual-actuator Exos 2X18 drives employ conventional magnetic recording technology and operates at a spindle speed of 7,200 RPM. They feature a 256MB multisegmented cache and fully support Seagate’s advanced data center technologies, including PowerChoice™ for managing idle power consumption, PowerBalance™ for managing active power consumption, and hot plug support. These hermetically sealed and helium-filled MACH.2 hard drives offer two independent addressable logical hard drives, each with a capacity of 9TB or 8TB, requiring some software optimizations on the host side.

Multi-actuator HDDs provide several advantages over single-actuator drives, particularly in terms of higher per-terabyte sequential and random read performance that can decline as hard drive capacity increases. By doubling the number of actuators working independently, performance is significantly improved.

Together, Seagate HAMR and MACH.2 multi-actuator technologies maximize per-platter areal density and drive capacity while maintaining performance levels that are above data center customers’ specifications.

Why do we pursue these advanced technologies?

Imagine your entire datasphere—all the data that enables you to thrive, succeed, connect, remember, and cherish those around you. Now think about if you had to slice away 90% of all your data. Imagine a future world in which we can only preserve 10% of our memories, knowledge, and software applications. If you imagine all your data represented as a photograph, that photo becomes a low-resolution, grainy, greyscale image at best.

That’s the near future we’d face without the combined advances of higher capacities (made possible by HAMR) and fast access to this enormous data pool (made possible by Seagate MACH.2 multi-actuator technology).

Feist noted that HAMR and MACH.2 are just the latest crucial advances made by Seagate scientists and engineers as part of our long history of developing breakthrough, enabling technologies.

“Our story does not end here,” he said. “But what we do here sets up what we can give to the future. A world where history is more than a grainy shadow. And we’re working with our partners to help us create and achieve this vision.”

Seagate HAMR and MACH.2 multi-actuator technologies are on track to work together, enabling new-generation capacities and performance. These technologies are currently being implemented in certain Seagate Exos enterprise hard drives.

Mozaic 3+: Where the Future is Read and Written

Mozaic 3+ is a hard drive platform that incorporates Seagate’s unique implementation of heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology to deliver mass-capacity storage at unprecedented areal densities of 3TB/disk and beyond.

Mozaic 3+ is a composite of the most complex nanoscale recording technologies and material science breakthroughs on the planet and is how data can now be stored to media at density levels that were previously inconceivable, all while using the same material resources as current Seagate hard drives and delivered in a known 3.5-inch form factor. Mozaic 3+ is both the present and future, with an eye toward 50TB and still “10 platters and 20 heads”.

With Mozaic 3+, data center operators can store more exabytes in less space, with fewer racks, amounting to massive TCO savings, with energy consumed and floor space. 

Learn more: https://www.seagate.com/innovation/mozaic