Do not write off the mechanical hard disk drive (HDD). This storage medium is not going anywhere. Of course, we are all thrilled with the incredibly fast SSDs (SSDs), and the penetration of PCI Express 5.0 will lead to another big leap in performance. But in terms of capacity, HDDs still rule. To that end, Toshiba is preparing some major upgrades to HDD storage capacity in the near future and for years to come.
As for the near future, Toshiba has shared a roadmap showing that the 26TB HDD will arrive around this time next year. That’s over 44 percent more than the current largest models at 18TB. These models have nine plates and use magnetic resonance imaging (FC-MAMR) technology with flux control. They use torque oscillators to help capture data.
Even earlier, Toshiba plans to start mass production of 20TB HDDs based on the same basic technology, but with 10 boards under the hood. Then come the 26TB models with the same number of boards and according to the roadmap, it will be the last HDD line to use FC-MAMR before switching to microwave magnetic recording (MAS-MAMR), a redundant sounding technology aimed at improving recording density by local exposure of the medium to microwaves.
You probably won’t put a 26TB HDD in your computer this year, because Toshiba is focusing on data centers first. This is not unusual, especially in wholesale storage. However, they always find a way to eventually enter the consumer space.
“Toshiba continues to work closely with cloud companies to understand their exact capacity and performance requirements, and the ability to use our next-generation technologies will be key to meeting our customers’ needs,” said Raghu Gururangan, Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc.
Vice President, Product Engineering and Marketing.
“Many years of close cooperation with our key component suppliers leads to influential technological discoveries to achieve greater capacity, which ultimately reduces the TCO (total cost of ownership) of our Nearline HDDs.”
Keep in mind that the top roadmap of Toshiba’s HDD corresponds to its fiscal years. So that 26 TB model is tied to data centers until March 31, 2023, which is the end of Toshiba’s fiscal 2022. After that, Toshiba envisages scaling to 30 TB HDDs in 2024, then 35 TBs in 2025 and 40 TBs in the third 2020. Each capacity will have 11 boards and advances in multiple stacking technology. And starting at 35TB, Toshiba will switch to magnetic recording with the help of heat (HAMR) to continue to increase capacity.