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Next generation higher recording densities, and lower cost per terabyte hard disk drives for enterprise datacenters and video surveillance systems

The explosion of connected devices and digital services is generating massive amounts of new  data. Digital world is growing exponentially from 4.4 zettabytes (1021 or 1 sextillion bytes) of digital data created in 2013 to an expected 44 zettabytes by 2024.  Digital information can be stored in different types of device depending on the use and how frequently the data need to be accessed. Hard disk drives are magnetic devices that allow storing terabytes of data for long time, however speed of access to the data is relatively slow (a few milliseconds).

As the volume, velocity, variety, value and longevity of both Big Data and Fast Data grow, a new generation of storage technologies are needed to not only support ever-expanding capacities, but ultimately help our customers analyze and garner insights into our increasingly connected universe of data, said Mike Cordano, president and chief operating officer at Western Digital.

The amount of data you can squeeze onto a hard drive continues to grow by leaps and bounds, with Seagate announcing a 60TB SSD late last year.  Earlier in 2017,  IBM scientists who have built what they say is the world’s smallest ever magnet, which uses a single atom to store information. Their proof of concept could one day lead to credit card-sized hard drives capable of holding the entire 35 million song iTunes library.

The video monitoring market is growing rapidly worldwide thanks to the almost insatiable demand to have visual sensing of the environments around us — be it in and around our homes, buildings, factories, enterprises or infrastructures. Micron has introduced new industrial microSD cards for video surveillance edge storage will give system designers unprecedented freedom in designing and cost-optimizing large distributed surveillance systems. These microSD cards, with extremely high density and reliable data storage at the silicon level, make it possible for the first time to store many days of video in the camera itself.


Use of 3D NAND-based flash storage technology

In the past few years, flash storage technology has transitioned from planar (think a single-story building) to vertically stacked 3D (think a 64-story skyscraper) implementations. For example, Micron’s 64-layer 3D NAND technology packs 32GB of storage on a tiny 59mm silicon die at a density of 4.3 Gb/mm. That’s 5-6 times the density of equivalent performance planar NAND technology. It’s now possible to build highly reliable video surveillance microSD cards with ultra-high densities, like 128GB and 256GB.

Thanks to the IoT, sensors and smart devices are being deployed across many verticals like smart cities, transportation infrastructure, factories, enterprises and homes. But scale and manageability requirements of the IoT is driving a shift to cloud-based device deployment and management models, where devices can be provisioned, authorized and managed directly from the cloud without need for separate physical networks and intermediate equipment.

Human monitoring of video is expensive, error-prone and not scalable. Instead of bringing high-resolution video to the central network video recorder (NVR) or servers, which forces users to deal with cost of bandwidth and central storage, cameras can now perform most of the video analysis, using centralized capabilities only for more advanced functions. This means users can get advanced video analytics in the camera, enabling better insights, decisions and outcomes at the source itself.

On Oct. 31, 2017, Micron announced an extension of our industrial microSD cards family with the addition of new 3D NAND-based 128GB and 256GB densities. These products can help move the industry further down the path to where edge storage in the camera can become the primary video storage or at least be a strong part of hybrid deployments where edge storage is used in conjunction with traditional NVRs, which significantly reduces bandwidth, storage and maintenance costs and increases deployment flexibility with cloud-based deployments.


Western Digital’s MAMR technology

Now Western Digital has unveiled new “next-generation technology” that promises to bring hard disk drive capacity to a whopping 40TB by 2025. That’s a leap of about 300% in a span of around 7 years. One of WD’s new developments is something called “microwave-assisted magnetic recording”, or MAMR. Western Digital expects to begin shipping ultra-high capacity MAMR HDDs in 2019 for use in data centers that support Big Data applications across a full range of industries.

“Western Digital’s demonstration of MAMR technology is a significant breakthrough for the hard disk drive industry,” said John Rydning, research vice president, Hard Disk Drives, IDC. “Commercialization of MAMR technology will pave the way to higher recording densities, and lower cost per terabyte hard disk drives for enterprise datacenters, video surveillance systems, and consumer NAS products.”

Western Digital’s innovative MAMR technology is expected to offer over 4 terabits-per-square-inch over time. With sustained improvements in recording density, MAMR promises to enable hard drives with 40TB of capacity and beyond by 2025, and continued expansion beyond that timeframe.

An MAMR drive uses a breakthrough innovation called the “spin torque oscillator,” which generates a microwave field that helps write data at an extremely high density without reduced reliability.

Western Digital’s MAMR technology is the latest innovation to significantly improve areal densities. It builds upon a number of other leading innovations from the company. In addition to HelioSeal helium-filled drive technology, MAMR also builds upon the company’s micro actuation and recording head manufacturing technologies. 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.

In 2014, Western Digital introduced Ultrastar He6 drive,  the world’s highest capacity HDD for cloud storage, massive scale-out environments, disk-to-disk backup, and replicated or RAID environments, according to HGST, a Western Digital subsidiary. The helium being one-seventh the density of air, reduces air resistance of spinning disk, results in faster drives ,consumes less power and increase in reliability due to lower temperature within the disk drive.


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