Seagate has promised high-capacity spinning-rust drives to come in the near future, with chief executive Steve Luczo outlining a roadmap to 10TB drives in as little as a year.
During the company's most recent earnings call, Luczo promised a shift from the current highest 3.5" mechanical drive capacity of 6TB to a whopping 10TB in the near future. 'I just don’t see those price erosions sustaining themselves, given the capacity points that we have to deliver over the next year,
' Luczo claimed in response to an analysts' question during the call. 'Going from 6 to 8 to 10 terabytes, that’s a lot of technical investment as you know, it’s also a lot of test investment.
Although Luczo's comment suggested a shift to 8TB and 10TB drives as early as this financial year, he later clarified that quantities of the parts would be limited. 'As you get to the 6 and the 8 and the 10TB drives, the lead time on those drives is going to be pretty significant whether or not that’s wafer-related or whether or not that’s test related
' Luczo explained. 'So you are not going to kind of be able to call up and say "by the way I need an extra 500,000 8TBs I forgot to order," because they are just not going to be there and the industry can’t respond that quickly.
Luczo did not go into details of how his company plans to significantly increase the data density of its 3.5" mechanical hard drives, but the secret likely lies in Seagate's work with heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR)
technology. The company's first HAMR drives were demonstrated at Ceatec last year
, and it has previously pledged that the technology will lead to capacities of 20TB per drive by 2020.
Before getting too excited, however, Seagate's first high-density drives will likely be targeted at the enterprise market, meaning pricing that will likely keep them out of reach of enthusiasts for a year or two yet.