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Future of data storage: 8 new technologies

In our blog on Habré we not only tell a selection of high-performance and capacious storage devices about development of the cloud service, and also told about a 16-terabyte disk from Samsung and new approach to creation a flash memory from Intel.

The industry of data storage endures a stage of drama changes which will be shown as soon, and in the long term. Therefore today we will talk about technologies which will lead to these changes.

The near future

Hard drives with the Ethernet-interface

In 2014 Seagate announced the drive Kinetic HDD with the Ethernet interface which is several times more productive than the competing products existing at that time.

By means of the Kinetic Open Storage platform it is possible to refuse the traditional scheme of work with usual data storage systems, allowed applications and hosts to communicate with each other directly via their hard drives by means of TCP/IP infrastructure of data-centers, using open API. Each 4TB Kinetic HDD of disks has two gigabit Ethernet-ports, everyone with the IP address.

Similar approach allows to reduce also costs for iron, having at the same time increased computational capabilities.

The analyst of Forrester Henry Balthasar so commented on emergence of Ethernet-disks from Seagate:

If this technology it is commercially successful, then it will very strongly change the IT industry as direct link of disks with applications will allow to refuse controllers of storage, file systems, SAN and even RAIDs in a varying degree. This excellent solution for object storages and widespread file systems (Hadoop, Lustre, GlusterFS) distributed databases like Cassandra.

Hard drives with helium

In 2013 the division of Western Digital under the name HGST provided the disk filled with helium on the 6th terabyte. Filling of a disk with helium, and no more dense air, allows to increase the capacity of a disk and to reduce its heating. The helium winchester on 7200 revolutions per minute is about 4-5 degrees colder, than normal as heat conductivity of helium 10 times more air.

Future of data storage: 8 new technologies

Afterwards HGST released the winchester on the 10th terabyte, having bypassed a product of the main competitor of Seagate for corporate sector which capacity does not exceed 8 TB. The company is going to start completely by 2017 the production disks with helium, having completely refused the winchesters using air.

Record with overlapping of tracks (Shingled magnetic recording, SMR)

Record with overlapping of tracks is a technology of storage which uses imposing of tracks of data at record or "are truncated". It allows to increase quantity of tracks on each plate and to reduce distance between them that in turn leads to increase of capacity of a disk for 25%.

However with the SMR technology there are also problems — for rewriting and updating of information, it is necessary to rewrite not only the necessary fragment, but also data on the last tracks. The recording spot of such disks is wider reading out therefore it takes data on the adjoining tracks - it is and causes the necessity of rewriting. All this leads to the poor performance of record.

Are engaged in development of the SMR technology as Seagate and HGST (both companies wrote about it in the blogs on Habré – here and here). HGST started the disk filled with helium on 10 TB, using this technology — it is intended for application in cloudy applicaions and applications of cold storage as they do not demand big write performance.

Medium-term perspective

Disks on 60 TB on technology of the thermoassisted magnetic record

At the moment disks of high capacity use technology of the perpendicular magniny record (PMR, perpendicular magnetic recording) provided in 2005 and 1 Tbyte of data on a disk plate provides record.

And Western Digital and Seagate work on disks, ispolshchuyushchy technology of the thermoassisted magnetic record (heat assisted magnetic recording, HAMR) which is urged to replace PMR. HAMR uses the small laser for heating of part of a disk on which it is going to perform record. It allows to reduce the sizes of the magnetic area storing one bits of information and to increase stability of data storage. By means of the HAMR technology creation of disks on 3,5" with a capacity of 60 Tbyte is possible.

Hybrid disks with memory with phase transition and NAND technology

Memory with phase transition (Phase change memory, PCM) is considered as future replacement of technology a flash memory of NAND used in SSD drives. PCM uses halkogenid which when heating can "switch" between two statuses: crystal and amorphous.

State changes of a cell can be made about one million times that considerably exceeds parameters of commercially successful high-end SLC of NAND cells in SSD winchesters an enterprise level — 30 thousand cycles of rewriting.

The PCM memory problem in a big delay of record, but IBM showed that the hybrid device which are used by PCM, NAND and DRAM on one controller can work up to 275 times quicker, than the standard SSD device. Reading speed of such disk fluctuates in an interval from 100 to 300 nanoseconds, and write time from 10 to 150 microseconds.

By estimates of IBM, the first commercial products based on hybrid technology of PCM will be available for sale in 2016.

New generations of tape Linear Tape carriers – Open

For the first time provided in 2000, the current generation of technology of LTO record, LTO-6 offers the capacity 6,25 TB, a ratio of a compression 2.5:1 and the cost of record 1,3 cents on gigabyte or it is less. The next two generations will increase capacity to 16 Tbyte, and then and to 32 Tbyte.

In September, 2014 the companies which created consortium LTO Program Technology — HP, IBM, Quantum — announced an expanded road map on preparation of new generations (9 and 10) tape drives, with a compression capacity of 62,5 TB and 120 TB respectively. Transfer speed has to grow to 1,770 MB/SEC. for the 9th generation and to 2,750 MB/SEC. for 10.

Long-term future


In May, 2014 IBM and Fujifilm announced the tape storage device which can store 85,9 billion bits on square inch of the magnetic tape. Similar density allows to create the cartridges capable to store to 154 terebayt uncompressed data that is 62 times more than can offer LTO-6 cartridges. Commercial implementations of technology can appear within the next 10 years.

For receipt of so high density, experts of Fujifilm developed the Nanocubic technology which allows to create a superthin magnetic layer. The magnetic layer is thinner, the domains more magnetized is placed on unit of area of the magnetic tape.

Future of data storage: 8 new technologies

Genetic storages

Scientists quietly work with DNA of a mammoth who was frozen for thousands of years so there are no doubts that DNA can remain long time. The British scientists in 2013 showed how DNA can be used for archived data storage which can be read with an accuracy of 100%.

Molecules DNA are very dense medium of storage, in one gram can be located to 2000 TB data.

At this level of development of technology synthesis of DNA is too expensive process for use of DNA in commercial data storages. However in the future this tool can be used to long-term storage of important information — for example, data of different state departments.

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