Seagate has launched a massive 29TB hard disk drive that almost nobody noticed — but you can only buy the biggest ever HDD in a 2500TB storage device

Seagate Exos Corvault 4U106
(Image credit: Exos)

Seagate has boosted its Exos Corvault 4RU self-healing storage system so it can reach 2.5 petabytes in capacity, with a maximum individual hard drive size of 29TB based on heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology.

The Exos Corvault 4U106, which is also available in a 2PB 5U84 conventional magnetic recording-based configuration, reduces storage networking resources by 50%, and improves total power efficiency by up to 30%.

The 4RU chassis can be fitted with 106 3.5-inch hard drives of various capacities including Exos X drives with HAMR technology that range up to 29TB, according to Blocks and Files — which is close to the 30TB HAMR hard drives Seagate has previously promised. It's a device that researchers and scientists at institutions can use to perform intensive high-performance computing (HPC) workloads, with the latest iteration shedding storage costs by up to 80% annually, according to the company. 

It's HAMR time

After years of development and testing, Seagate began distributing 30TB-plus HAMR hard drive samples, with the first set of commercially available products expected to enter production next year and be commercially available.

The technology relies on storing information on rotating disks with a nanometer-thick media lubricant, and they can leverage shingled recording without any degradation in performance. 

That's why it's possible to cram up to 100TB of available storage capacity onto a single HAMR unit, while the biggest hard drives out there right now are only up to 28TB in size. The drive in particular is the WD Ultrastar DC HC680 Data Center HDD as well as Seagate's Exos X24 28TB drive.

The 29TB hard drive that's being produced for Seagate's Exos Corvault unit will become the largest hard drive anybody can use — but they still won't be able to buy individual units to be fitted, say, into their own network-attached storage (NAS) drives. 

Instead, users hoping to use a high-powered, high-capacity HAMR hard drive at their own discretion will have to wait until next year, when Seagate launches its first 30TB HAMR HDD. 

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Keumars Afifi-Sabet
Channel Editor (Technology), Live Science

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is the Technology Editor for Live Science. He has written for a variety of publications including ITPro, The Week Digital and ComputerActive. He has worked as a technology journalist for more than five years, having previously held the role of features editor with ITPro. In his previous role, he oversaw the commissioning and publishing of long form in areas including AI, cyber security, cloud computing and digital transformation.