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Data Storage Technology

Seagate's Shingled Magnetic Recording Tech Boosts HDD Capacities to 5TB and Up 195

crookedvulture writes "Seagate has begun shipping hard drives based on a new technology dubbed Shingled Magnetic Recording. SMR, as it's called, preserves the perpendicular bit orientation of current HDDs but changes the way that tracks are organized. Instead of laying out the tracks individually, SMR stacks them on top of each other in a staggered fashion that resembles the shingles on a roof. Although this overlap enables higher bit densities, it comes with a penalty. Rewrites compromise the data on the following track, which must be read and rewritten, which in turn compromises the data on the following track, and so on. SMR distributes the layered tracks in narrow bands to mitigate the performance penalty associated with rewrites. The makeup of those bands will vary based on the drive's intended application. We should see the first examples of SMR next year, when Seagate intends to introduce a 5TB drive with 1.25TB per platter. Traditional hard drives top out at 4TB and 1TB per platter right now."
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Seagate's Shingled Magnetic Recording Tech Boosts HDD Capacities to 5TB and Up

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  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @05:20PM (#44812969) Journal

    Yep, they've had it since 2004, when all twelve of the drive manufacturers agreed to just sit on it while Western Digital kicked their butt in the marketplace. Nine of them went out of business rather than reveal their secret.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @05:31PM (#44813099)

    Pretty sure these will be marketed towards the write-rarely "backup/media dump" segment. At lower $/GB than a non-shingled 5.4kRPM.

  • Re:Not going back (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @05:31PM (#44813103) Homepage

    Yeah. Buy storage in 256G chunks.

    That makes as much sense as someone getting giddy over how large of an array they can make out of 10 year old hard drives. It will be unnecessarily complex and resemble some sort of Rube Goldberg machine.

    Large drives are hardly a "niche" use case.

    On the other hand, there is a very wide gap between what expensive SSD can reasonably deliver and what much cheaper spinning rust can manage. Spinning rust can manage a wide range of use cases.

    It's SSD that represents the niche: small data for very casual users that don't do much of anything.


  • Re:Not going back (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @06:13PM (#44813659) Homepage

    I know how thin SSD drives are. I have some. Although I realize their limitations. I just don't swim in the kool-aid or act like some sort of tech fashionista.

    It's good that you mention drive failures because spinning rust gives you some warning. It makes it easier to prepare rather than just being surprised suddenly.

    The cost difference also makes it more likely that you have some degree of protection either from array redundancy or extra copies of the data.

    Not going out of your way to waste as much money as quickly as possible has some practical benefit.

  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @06:13PM (#44813663)
    The read-modify-write penalty for overwriting existing data in-place is huge (even with attempts to minimize it with smart block mapping) and not worth the very minor increase in areal density. It's a bad sign that the storage industry was forced to adopt this because it means better encoding technologies are further off in the future than originally anticipated. Brick wall.
  • Re:Not going back (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @06:31PM (#44813897)

    512GB hits the use case for probably 95% of consumers (based anecdotally on backup sizes and harddrive capacities for ~3-400 friends, customers, family, etc).

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @06:38PM (#44813949) Homepage Journal

    You would be able to clone a drive, just not as quickly.

    But from the sound of it, it is probable that well formed sequential writes (such as cloning a whole disk) might run at full speed, there's no need to read and rewrite a track if you can hint that it will be overwritten anyway.

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