Although there is an increasing shift towards solid state drive (SSDs) for their blazing fast performance and low-power profile, hard disk drive (HDDs) still carry the brunt of the load when it comes to storage now and in the immediate future. Moreover, its fabrication relies on technologies and processes that Western Digital has already invested in, including Damascene recording head technology, enabling the company to start rolling out MAMR hard drives to the industry by 2019.

At a media event October 11 at its San Jose headquarters, WD revealed new storageware that ostensibly enables ultra-high capacity HDDs to meet the future high-scale demands of big data. “That’s what it’s all about when it comes to big data”.

The new Western Digital technology was announced at the company’s headquarters in Silicon Valley and included a demonstration of what it called “the world’s first microwave-assisted magnetic recording”, known as MAMR. The method and system include providing an insulator and fabricating at least one hard mask on the insulator.

MAMR is an energy-assisted technology, much like heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR). The core of this new technology is the “spin torque oscillator” used to generate a microwave field that increases the ability to record data at ultra-high density without sacrificing reliability, according to WD. The MAMR drives are created to expand HDD capacity meeting the demands of Big Data. To put that in perspective, this is four times what Western Digital’s current hard drives can muster. The company claims that thew new technology demonstrates the reliability and cost profile that meets the demands of data center operators.

The result will enable hard drives that could come with 40 terabytes of capacity and beyond by 2025.

For now, MAMR technology will be first introduced into WD’s enterprise and server storage solutions.

MAMR will allow Western Digital to produce hard drives that offer up to 4 terabytes (TB) densities per square inch over the next decade. But, given that the company’s helium-filled Helio drives in November 2013 trickled down to the consumer market by March 2016 (in less than three years), we’re likely to see MAMR hard drives for regular consumers soon enough.

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