Seagate Announces Mozaic 3+ Hard Drive Platform

Seagate Announces Mozaic 3+ Hard Drive Platform

The News: Seagate announced its latest hard drive innovation, Mozaic 3+. The new drive platform is Seagate’s implementation of Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR), a technology that allows for much greater areal density. Seagate has announced that the first iteration of Mozaic 3+ can provide 3 TB per platter and enables new Seagate Exos drives with 30 TB capacities. Seagate has additionally stated that the technology will lead to even greater densities in the coming years. More information about the Mozaic 3+ technology can be found in Seagate’s press release.

Seagate Announces Mozaic 3+ Hard Drive Platform

Analyst Take: HAMR has been an area of significant focus when considering technology innovation for hard drives, due to its ability to provide dramatically denser drives. The real benefit of the technology is it allows for much greater areal density, or more data stored on each platter. The challenge of putting more bits on each platter is keeping the bits magnetically stable. HAMR addresses this challenge by utilizing new materials to keep bits stable and a process of rapidly heating and cooling these bits, using a laser diode, to control their magnetic polarity. While the benefits of HAMR are clear—denser drives—the development of the technology involves several challenges including utilizing the proper materials and perfecting the precision heating and cooling process needed to write data.

Seagate’s announcement of its Mozaic 3+ drive platform represents a significant step forward for HAMR technology. Mozaic 3+ is Seagate’s newest drive platform based on its unique HAMR implementation. Seagate has stated that the initial version of the platform is capable of supporting 3 TB+ per platter and will enable 30 TB+ drives in its Exos family of hard drives. Seagate has additionally stated that this is the first step in a series of increasing densities using this technology, with projections of areal densities of 4 TB, 5 TB, and beyond in the coming years.

The Mozaic 3+ technology utilizes the foundations of HAMR technology, but Seagate has differentiated itself with several innovations. To maintain magnetic stability, Mozaic 3+ utilizes a new superlattice platinum alloy. Precision heating is accomplished using a new plasmonic writer device that is capable of heating precise areas of the platinum alloy to 800 degrees Fahrenheit, which can then cool back down in nanoseconds. Mozaic 3+ also features a gen 7 spintronic reader, which Seagate states is the “industry’s smallest, most sensitive magnetic field sensor”, to accurately read data stored at such high areal densities. These components are all brought together with Mozaic’s 12 nm integrated controller.

The announcement of this new HAMR based drive platform is a significant step in advancing HAMR technology and brings several benefits to data centers. While many flash storage vendors are quick to pronounce the impending “death of disk”—these new, denser disk drives significantly change the equation. The availability of 30 TB disk drives provides both enterprise IT organizations and cloud datacenters with a disk-based solution that rivals the densities of 30 TB SSDs to consolidate storage and keep up with growing capacity demands. Seagate’s new technology also provides some intriguing sustainability benefits as well. Along with an economic benefit, one benefit of consolidating storage onto denser devices is the potential for energy savings. Seagate estimates that its new drives can deliver 40% power savings when compared to a traditional 16 TB drive. Seagate additionally claims that new Mosaic 3+ platform offers additional sustainability benefits by reducing embodied carbon. As I have written about previously, despite the common argument that SSDs are more sustainable than HDDs, the later may actually have a sustainability edge due to embodied carbon emissions resulting from the manufacturing processes. Seagate has stated that the new Mozaic 3+ platform provides further benefit by reducing embodied emissions by 55% compared to a 16TB HDD.

The announcement of the Mozaic 3+ platform is quite significant, and quite exciting for an HDD market that many are quick to pronounce dead. The new technology provides incredibly dense storage, with promises of even denser storage to come in the next few years. This new technology from Seagate challenges the density, economic, and sustainability arguments that are commonly used to promote the adoption of the all-flash datacenter, and it may rejuvenate the use of disk moving forward.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

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Author Information

Mitch comes to The Futurum Group through the acquisition of the Evaluator Group and is focused on the fast-paced and rapidly evolving areas of cloud computing and data storage. Mitch joined Evaluator Group in 2019 as a Research Associate covering numerous storage technologies and emerging IT trends.

With a passion for all things tech, Mitch brings deep technical knowledge and insight to The Futurum Group’s research by highlighting the latest in data center and information management solutions. Mitch’s coverage has spanned topics including primary and secondary storage, private and public clouds, networking fabrics, and more. With ever changing data technologies and rapidly emerging trends in today’s digital world, Mitch provides valuable insights into the IT landscape for enterprises, IT professionals, and technology enthusiasts alike.


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