Western Digital Announces 'Breakthrough' In Disk-Drive Storage

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For about the past year and a half, flash memory storage devices have held the honor of stuffing more data in less space than any rotating magnetic storage (hard disk drive) device.

Western Digital is talking about the possibility of 40TB enterprise hard drives using MAMR by 2025, which is a mind-boggling amount of storage. The company recently innovated a breakthrough in material and process that provides the required reliable and predictable performance, as well as the manufacturability to accelerate areal density and cost improvements to an estimated average of 15 percent per year.

At the heart of WD's MAMR technology is a new spin-torque oscillator that generates a miniature microwave field that increases the ability to record ultra-high-density data. The company claims that MAMR, coupled with helium-sealed, shingled recording, and other technologies could allow the company to offer drives with a capacity of 40 TB in 2025 and even larger drives further into the future.

What is MAMR? MAMR, or microwave-assisted magnetic recording is a new storage technology that WD has been working on for years now, with the other being HAMR, or heat-assisted magnetic recording.

In addition to higher capacities, hard-disk drives based on MAMR should also be much improved.

MAMR technology was developed primarily in-house with help from researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. With HAMR, a laser is used to heat the media and make it easier to write. The head design would also be completely different than current hard drives, which adds to the manufacturing complications. The Damascene process involves precise depositing and etching layers of magnetic and non-magnetic materials to arrive at a finished head.

"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.

Western Digital has a nice new video which demonstrates all of their HDD innovations, including the new MAMR.

Western Digital stock closed down slightly on Wednesday and traded up less than 0.3% Thursday afternoon at $85.85, in a 52-week range of $52.10 to $95.77.