In an interview published this week with Blocks & Files, Toshiba outlined the company will be relying on a mix of hard drive technologies in order to keep increasing hard drive capacities. Along with current-generation two-dimensional magnetic recording (TDMR) and shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technologies, the company will also be tapping both microwave assisted magnetic recording (MAMR) as well as heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) for future drives. Already gearing up to ship its first 16 TB TDMR drives, Toshiba's short-term development plans call for it to adopt SMR as well as MAMR. Meanwhile in the longer-term, HAMR will be introduced for further capacity increases.

Earlier this year Showa Denko, Toshiba’s supplier of HDD media, revealed that the company would be supplying platters for hard drives based on MAMR technology. Toshiba has since confirmed their plans to use MAMR in this week's interview, but in an added twist, the company also noted that some of its high-capacity MAMR hard drives will use shingling as well.

“MAMR will be used to advance the capacity of both CMR (discrete track) recording and to SMR (shingled track) recording,” Scott Wright, director of HDD marketing at Toshiba America Electronic Components.

Overall, It is not a secret that for years now Toshiba has been working on hard drives featuring SMR technology. However unlike its competitors, the company has yet to introduce any commercial SMR hard drives, so these new MAMR + SMR drives would be the first commercial SMR deployment for the company. SMR of course brings some new performance trade-offs due to the read-modify-write cycle introduced by shingled tracks, but it still makes a great deal of sense for high-capacity HDDs since it allows drive vendors to increase their capacities without switching to a new type of media.

Toshiba's MAMR-based HDDs will begin sampling later this year. And, accounting for a few quarters for datacenter operators to validate the new drives, we should see their MAMR hard drives to enter volume production in 2020.

Looking further out, Toshiba has also said that sooner or later it will have to use HAMR, due in large part to the higher scalability that the technology offers.

“In theory, MAMR does not advance long-term areal density gain as far as what may be achievable with HAMR. MAMR is certainly the next step; HAMR is very likely an eventual future step up the areal density ladder.”

By adopting MAMR for their 2019 – 2020 nearline HDDs Toshiba and Western Digital can continue using HDD media that is similar to platters used today. By contrast, Seagate is set to skip MAMR and use HAMR along with brand new disks instead.

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Source: Blocks & Files

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  • shabby - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - link

    No asmr? Disappointed...
  • colinstu - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - link

    that requires a rebuild of eight 15k RPM SCSI drives.
  • Alexvrb - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - link

    Ignore young Skycolinstuwalker. They don't need to be 15K SCSI drivers to do ASMR...
  • colinstu - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - link

    So when is WD or Seagate going to buy out Toshiba's HDD division?
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - link

    There probably won't be any more consolidation until spinning rust is in its final death throws. Toshiba currently owns the part of Hitachi's former HDD division that WD wasn't able to keep for anti-trust reasons.
  • Beaver M. - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - link

    Wrong. They kept it all. They just had to share some with Toshiba.
  • Samus - Thursday, March 14, 2019 - link

    Consolidation has been happening for better or worse in the storage industry for decades. I read somewhere awhile back there were, at one point, over 200 manufactures in the magnetic storage industry.

    Quantum bought Connor, Maxtor bought Quantum, Seagate bought Maxtor - mostly to get Quantum's DLT patents...they shelved practically all Maxtor technology and killed the brand, Seagate bought Samsung's magnetic storage division too I believe, Hitachi bought IBM storage, Toshiba and Hitachi signed a technology sharing agreement, WD bought HGST - complicating the whole Toshiba situation and resulting in some inherent IP licensing, then you have the oddball drives like Fujitsu who make their OWN exclusive platters through Fuji heavy industries which is really ridiculous to think about...I guess WD bought Komag awhile back but I don't think anything came of it as WD doesn't make platters they use Showa Denko and Komag just seemed to go away...

    It seems Toshiba and WD drives both use a lot of Hitachi technology - they operate and feel very similar even down to the noises they make. You take them apart and see the motors and platters are all the same brands...Showa platters, JVC actuators, Nidec motors, TDK heads...even the cases have the same footprint and controllers are all off the shelf chips from LSI (Seagate), Addonics (Fujitsu) and Marvell (WD\Toshiba). I've even seen the same Hitachi-developed SMOOTH ASIC on WD and Toshiba controller PCB's.

    Long story short, we are down to what, 4-5 manufactures. It's like to stay that way. What I am worried about is these hard drive cartels buying up SSD\NAND manufactures. WD bought Sandisk, Toshiba bought OCZ (which got them Indilinx) and Seagate bought LSI (which got them Sandforce) and so on...
  • KarlKastor - Friday, March 15, 2019 - link

    M, I don't agree with your last part. We have 4-6 big Players in NAND Manufacturing: Micron with Intel, Toshiba with SanDisk (now WD), Samsung and Hynix.

    The only acquisition was Sandisk by WD. And Toshiba by a consortium.
    To buy a Flash-Controller manufacturer isn't a big thing. We have a lot and it's easy for new players to enter the market.
    Toshiba bought OCZ but since then no controller came off that. Sandforce 3 was canceled.
    Hynix bought LAMD and no new controller any more.

    We have controllers from Intel, WD and Samsung itself. Big 3rd party players like SMI, Phison and Marvell. Where Marvell is a bit loosing ground. And some smaller ones like JMicron (now Maxiotek) and new to the game Realtek. Of course there are some enterprise controller in the market like Flashtec too.

    SSD manufacturer itself have no IP from interest. They relabel SSDs or build them on their own with help of referenz models. Kingston does their own drives and bin their NAND themselves, but that isn't rocket science and the same with some OEM manufacturers.
    It's the NAND manufacturer that counts. And to a small part controller manufacturer.
  • Alexvrb - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - link

    Now to combine HAMR and MAMR into... MAHAMR.
  • kawmic - Thursday, March 14, 2019 - link

    Fuck hdd. Concentrate on making better cheaper ssd's instead. Insane to keep producing obsolete crap.

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