Seagate Releases 60 TB Drive

Digital storage company Seagate Technology recently debuted its newest product: the largest solid-state drive ever.

Clocking in a 60 terabytes, the SAS SSD (serial-attached SCSI solid-state drive) holds more bits per swuare inch of disk space than there are starts in the Milky Way Galaxy, according to Seagate. The drive is only 3.5 inches wide, but holds four times as much storage twice as densely as its highest capacity SSD competitors. 60 TB means room for up to 400 million photos or 12,000 DVD movies.

flashThis goliath of a storage drive was demonstrated at Santa Clara’s Flash Memory Summit. Seagate was sure to remind summit attendees that the drive is still “currently a demonstration technology” and won’t be released until sometime next year. Seagate showed off its 60 TB drive along side its new 8 TB Nytro XP7200 NVMe SSD, which will hit mainstream markets by the fourth quarter of 2016.

According to Seagate’s company statement, the new drives “represent the high performance end of Seagate’s Enterprise portfolio- a complete ecosystem of HDD, SSD, and storage system products designed to help customers manage the deluge of data they face and move the right data where it’s needed to meet rapidly evolving business priorities and market demands.”

The 60 TB drive is not only revolutionary for its currently unmatched capacity. The drive also rids data centers of the need to separate data based on whether it has to be available in short-term (“hot” data) or long-term (“cold”data) storage. Seagate says that the new drive’s capacity allows for IT teams to “quickly accommodate and ensure accessibility of ever-increasing large amounts of data without having to add additional servers or incorporate additional management steps.”

Seagate’s 8 TB Nytro XP7200 NVMe SSD is also expected to lessen the load that data center operators are forced to deal with on a daily basis. The company said that increasing industry needs for fast access to large amounts of data constitute “a scenario commonly seen in applications involving high performance computing, scale-out databases and big data analytics, such as scientific research and weather modeling.”

60Seagate has been teasing its 60 TB drive since 2012, when the company announced that its research and development teams had managed to find a way to store 1 trillion bits of information per square inch. Seagate said that the achievement was made possible through the discovery of a “next-generation recording technology” called heat-assisted magnetic recording, which allowed for more dense storage opportunities than more traditional perpendicular magnetic recording technology.

Phil Brace, president of Seagate’s Cloud Systems and Silicon Group, spoke at the Flash Memory Summit where the two drives were unveiled. His speech offered advice to the mnay enterprises and organizations struggling with our era’s exponentially increasing data loads and the difficulty of setting up stable and scalable data storage systems that will be able to keep up.

“Efficient storage systems today involve both flash and HDD’s,” he notes in his keynote abstract. “Flash provides fast access but limited capacity. HDDs provide huge capacities with relatively long access times. Proven, effective caching software will allow the best use of both kinds of storage. Direct transfers to and from storage elements (without processor involvement) will also speed up systems generally. The latest SMR HDDs can provide cost-effective storage in situations usch as archiving that can tolerate longer access times.”

“Designers must combine the latest flash and HDD technologies to produce optimized storage systems with the best cost per TB and per IOP,” he concludes. “The end result will be better ROI for such applications as real-time data analysis, big data processing, and hyperscale data centers.”

While the strain of storing huge amounts of digital information continues, it’s a comfort that companies like Seagate are stepping up to the challenge.