Seagate Brings the HAMR: 16TB Home/NAS and Data Center HDDs

Nearly a year ago Seagate announced its 14TB Barracuda Pro, IronWolf and IronWolf Pro hard drive models. Just in case 14TB wasn’t enough, the vendor Monday announced 16TB drives in the Exos X16 for data center use and the IronWolf and IronWolf Pro models slated for Home/NAS use and optimal RAID performance.

Since traditional magnetic recording technologies have pushed drive densities to the edge, applying the HAMR (Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording) technology increases the capacity even more. With the traditional method, called Perpendicular Magnetic Recording, writing only the bits desired is not possible with additional data needing to be written which impacts performance.

HAMR technology on the other hand, the bit to be written is heated using a laser, so it is easier to write to a smaller region and can be targeted specifically. This, along with the sealed helium design allows for increases in areal density. According to Seagate, this process can yield not only 16TB drives, but up to 100 TB drives by 2025, thus raising capacity dramatically.

Credit: SeagateCredit: SeagateCredit: SeagateCredit: Seagate

The IronWolf drives carry over their RV (Rotational Vibration) sensors, said to help the drive counteract vibrations in multi-bay enclosures, as well as including advanced power management features designed for NAS devices. It also comes with Seagate’s bundled Rescue Services for data recovery. Performance on these models are rated at 250 MB/s sustained transfer rates with its 256MB cache and 7,200 RPM spindle speeds. The IronWolf Pro includes a five-year warranty, while the non-pro version is three years with both sporting 1.2-million MTBF rating and workloads up to 300TB/year.

The Exos X16 drives deliver 33% more petabytes per rack compared to the 12TB drives while keeping the footprint reducing TCO in data center environments. The drives include Seagate Secure allowing for safe and secure driver erasure. Using 7,200 RPM rotational speeds and the same 256MB cache, the Exos X16 is capable of speeds up to 261 MB/s sustained transfer rates with random Read/Write 4K (QD16) IOPS listed at 170/440. MTBF is listed at 2.5-million hours and comes with a five-year warranty. It is worth noting the Exos is available in both SATA and SAS type drives. 

Some enterprise customers have already owned the Exos drives for a while now for vendor qualification and performance tests ahead of this week's general availability. The Exos X16 has an MSRP of $629. The IronWolf and IronWolf Pro are priced at $610 and $665, respectively. We should see more 16TB models hit the scene soon enough with Toshiba’s 16TB MG08 series unveiled at CES in January, along with Western Digital drives using the MAMR (as opposed to HAMR) technology.