Seagate just unveiled the first ever PCIe NVMe hard disk drive

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Aleksandr Grechanyuk)

Seagate has unveiled the first ever hard disk drive (HDD) that utilizes both the NVMe protocol and a PCIe interface, which have historically been used for solid state drives (SSDs) exclusively.

As explained in a company blog post, the proof-of-concept HDD is based on a proprietary controller that plays nice with all major protocols (SAS, SATA and NVMe), without requiring a bridge.

The NVMe HDD was demoed at the Open Compute Compute Project Summit in a custom JBOD enclosure, with twelve 3.5-inch drives hooked up via a PCIe interface.

Although the capacity of the drive is unconfirmed, Seagate used images of the Exos X18 for the presentation, which has a maximum capacity of 18TB.


(Image credit: Seagate)

The future of the HDD

According to Seagate, there are a number of benefits to bringing the NVMe protocol to HDDs, such as reduced total cost of ownership (TCO), performance improvements, and energy savings. Further, by creating consistency across different types of storage device, NVMe HDDs could drastically simplify datacenter configurations.

“The goal is to pave the way for a seamless consolidated NVMe interface across HDDs and SSDs,” explained Seagate.

“As NVMe continues to be a cornerstone for new storage architectures and feature deployment, its support for rotational media ensures HDDs will have the capability to support the industry’s latest architectures and initiatives.”

While current HDDs are nowhere near fast enough to make full use of the latest PCIe standards, technical advances could mean SATA and SAS interfaces are no longer sufficient in future. At this juncture, PCIe NVMe HDDs may become the default.

That said, it will take a number of years for these hard drives to enter the mainstream. Seagate says it expects engineering demo units to be sent to key customers by Autumn next year, with customer demo units shipped by the middle of 2024.

Via Tom's Hardware

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.