Small Sizes, Big Impacts: Nanoscale Hard Drive Innovations to Spearhead Progress for Data Storage

Small Sizes, Big Impacts: Nanoscale Hard Drive Innovations to Spearhead Progress for Data Storage

Authored by Sameer Bhatia, Director of Asia Pacific Consumer Business Group and Country Manager for India & SAARC, Seagate Technology

What can the near doubling of current storage capabilities within the same footprint hold for the future of data storage and digital infrastructure of data centres?

In the age where AI advancements have made data more valuable than ever, IDC predicts that data creation will greatly outstrip manufactured storage capacity by 15 times, and the global datasphere to generate 291ZB of data in 2027. Large data centres host most of data, with 90% of large data centre exabytes being stored on hard drives. The surge in data, driven by AI applications, calls for storage technology innovation essential for handling the country's expanding digital footprint without increasing the physical footprint. Upgrading the data storage infrastructure is not merely a technological imperative but the logical answer to the challenges of scale, total cost ownership (TCO), and sustainability.

Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) has been the forerunner of hard drive technology, its potential harnessed for substantial areal density gains and perfected in the past two decades. The unique implementation of HAMR technology is combined with the most complex nanoscale recording technologies and material science breakthroughs, from media to writer, reader, and controller. This is done by transforming data bits and packing them even tighter while maintaining magnetic and thermal stability. In other words, far more data can be stored on each platter with greater reliability and performance.

Upgrading a fleet of 16TB drives to 30TB drives, for instance, effectively doubles storage capacity in the same data centre footprint, and additionally if upgrading from lower capacities. This dramatically improves storage TCO with lower acquisition and operational costs, including a 40% lower per terabyte power consumption. By reducing operational costs with more efficient resource allocation and use of recycled materials, these hard drive innovations enable Indian data centres to deliver on sustainability goals, offering a 55% reduction in embodied carbon on a per terabyte basis.

Such significant areal density advancements are a game-changer for both hyperscale and private data centres in India. Not only does it foster economies of scale, but fuels the rapid growth of India's digital economy, projected at an impressive 20% over the next five years. This will lead to strategic investments and innovation within the Indian datasphere, aiding the country to make significant strides towards becoming a digital economy by 2026. Leading Indian companies can harness the cloud for specific AI workloads while maintaining critical data on-premises. The utilisation of hard drives' mass-capacity storage is indispensable for seamless and continuous AI model training, fuelling innovation and driving business success.

For the Indian enterprise data centres, they will need to find sustainable ways to scale against limited space, power, and budget. The areal density innovation in hard drive technology progression is the answer to the ever-expanding cloud ecosystem, and also how data centre operators are enabled to scale their infrastructure to store more exabytes in the same space, while placing less demand on the earthโ€™s natural resources. This is crucial to staying competitive in the global datasphere and fortifying India's position as a frontrunner in the global digital economy.

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