Hyperscalers and enterprises will finally be able to buy 30TB hard drives in “early 2024”, Dave Mosley, the CEO of Seagate has confirmed in its first quarter fiscal 2024 earnings report. If confirmed, it would be the largest hard drive ever but would still lag the largest SSD in terms of capacity; the Solidigm D5-P5336 has a 61.44TB capacity.
In a transcript obtained by the Motley Fool, Mosley confirmed that Seagate is likely to begin aggressively ramping 3TB per disk products based on HAMR technology in early calendar 2024. 3TB refers to the platter capacity and Seagate packs ten of these in a hard drive.
Furthermore, he added that these drives will delivery storage capacity beyond 30TB – meaning that Seagate plans to pack more platters per drive or use higher density platters – and will come in either CMR or SMR configurations. Mosley hinted at a 32TB drive further down during a Q&A session and that was the expected capacity Seagate announced back in June 2023 during another analyst update.
After that, the next big step will be launching 40TB hard drives based on 4TB platters, which Seagate’s CEO expects to happen “in less than two years’ time”, which would mean a pre-November 2025 announcement, perhaps to coincide with the SC25, the annual supercomputing conference. Mosley has also reaffirmed Seagate’s commitment to sticking with HDD (rather than also betting on NAND like WD is doing).
He said “Simply put, we offer customers mass data storage at less than one-fifth the cost of comparable NAND solutions on a per-bit basis. We don’t foresee that value gap closing over the next decade relative to data center architectures”.
30TB drives have been in the pipeline for a while: Seagate had an announcement two years ago and confirmed select customers had already started testing the drive. Toshiba, another HDD vendor, confirmed it was working on drives of similar capacity. Other capacities that have been confirmed, after Seagate unveiled an Exos 24TB drive, include 28TB and 36TB hard disk drives. A 50TB HAMR-based product is also on Seagatee’s roadmap with a 2026 launch date in place.
Archrival Western Digital already launched a 26TB drive, the Ultrastar DC HC670, but end users can’t buy it as it is host-managed SMR (more on that in our interview with WD’s Ravi Pendekanti, SVP of HDD Product Management). It also confirmed that 28TB HDD are already in the hands of (enterprise/data center/hyperscale/nearline) customers, albeit in the testing stage.
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