Magnetic Storage – Not Dead Yet

Magnetic storage disk

Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2017

IT industry analysts seem to spend at least half their time predicting the death of certain technologies – most with limited success. In a year that has seen flash storage finally start to steal market share from spinning disks, many have chosen to prophesy the foreseeable doom of the venerable hard disk drive.

And sure enough, these doom-mongers have been wrong again. Two recent stories show that there’s still life in the magnetic storage sector.

Toshiba’s mammoth magnetic disk

Keen to join the helium-filled revolution, Toshiba has just announced its first drive using the technology. Their latest disk offers 14TB in a single 3.5” unit, much larger than Seagate’s top-of-the-range model for instance.

Western Digital already offer a 14TB drive using shingled magnetic recording (SMR) to increase per-platter capacity at the cost of data access speeds. The Toshiba MG07 uses traditional perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technologies; ensuring equivalent data access speeds to all of their previous, lower capacity models.

Toshiba’s 14TB drives have yet to be released for general sale, but they do potentially offer a useful, cost-effective way to increase array capacity at far lower cost than an OEM-inspired system upgrade.

Magnets and optics in Toyohashi

Optical storage is relatively niche in the modern corporate data center, but scientists continue to push boundaries with potential benefits for the IT industry. And so it is that a team of researchers at the Toyohashi University of Technology have developed a new way to improve the way that data is captured and stored using magnetic-holographic memory.

By applying magnetic assist recording, the team believe they may have finally paved the way for making hologram memory a reality. For the first time data has been saved and reconstructed successfully – and magnets play a crucial role in making the technique accessible and cost-effective.

Magnets survive into 2018 – and far beyond

The reality is that magnetic storage will continue to play a crucial role in corporate IT strategy for years to come. Hard disk drive arrays may eventually be consigned to history, but it appears that magnets still have a bright future – in some shape or form.

Existing arrays populated with magnetic disks do still have a role to play too – even if your OEM has declared them out-dated and forced them into EoSL status. To learn more about support, maintenance and spare parts services from CDS, please get in touch.