Seagate is on track to ramp up production of its first 32TB hard drive based on its heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology in early 2024 and then initiate mass production of 40TB+ HDDs roughly two years after, according to the company’s financial report last week.
“We also expect to begin aggressively ramping 3TB per disk products based on HAMR technology in early calendar 2024,” said Dave Mosley, chief executive of Seagate, in a call with financial analysts and investors. “These drives deliver capacity starting at 30 terabytes and offer customers the same flexibility to adopt either CMR or SMR configurations to further boost aerial density into the mid-30TB range.”
Seagate has repeatedly reemphasized that its HAMR-based HDDs will largely retain its 10-platter 3.5-inch helium-filled platform with new laser-enhanced write heads, new media, and some other differences. The company’s first HAMR-powered 32 TB HDDs are set to ramp volume production in early calendar 2024, which is more or less in line with the company’s strategic roadmap from a few years back, which sets the timeframe for HAMR-based drives for 2023, but that was before the company had to design its 2nd Generation HAMR HDD platform to ensure viable yields.
Indeed, the new platform seems to meet all internal goals. In fact, the company has more than succeeded as the new drives are drop-in compatible with existing infrastructure in terms of power consumption, according to Seagate.
“We also continued to hit all key HAMR product development milestones,” said Mosley. “Initial customer qualifications are progressing very well, and we continue to hit our reliability and yield metrics.”
When it comes to the fulfillment of the short-term roadmap, everything looks fine for Seagate. There may be a minor slip from a roadmap it demonstrated a few years back, but given the fact that the company is not behind its rivals in terms of absolute capacity and in terms of areal density, this may be articulated as a minor issue.
“Qualification and revenue ramp plans for our 30TB+ products remain fully on track with high-volume ramp starting early in calendar 2024,” the head of Seagate said. “The launch in ramp of our HAMR products is a competitive differentiator and increasingly important in light of the green shoots that we’re starting to see with respect to cloud demand trends.”