Seagate has introduced the Exos X Mozaic 3+, a groundbreaking 30TB hard disk drive, the largest to date. While initially aimed at hyperscalers and enterprises, the good news is that it will also be available to end users and can be read without specialized hardware.
The Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of the company, the U.S.-based storage giant accomplished this milestone through the implementation of innovative, proprietary technologies enabling them to pack more terabytes per platter.
Seagate’s CEO hinted at it in October 2023, and the drive was showcased at Supercomputing 23 last year under the name Exos X (lacking the Mozaic 3+ branding). It operates as a SATA drive, specifically the ST30000NM0002F, featuring a spinning speed of 7200rpm and a 512MB cache.
It has been confirmed that expanding the number of platters is not in the plans, as it could negatively impact factors such as noise, cost, reliability, weight, and power consumption (including heat dissipation). The drive utilizes ten 3TB platters with an actual areal density of 1.742 Tb per square inch. There are considerations for higher-capacity models using either HAMR (Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording) alone or combining SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) with HAMR for hyperscale customers seeking optimal value, though this combination may not be readable on consumer-grade hardware.
The Western Digital Gold held the title for the highest capacity before, reaching 24TB. Seagate’s main competitor revealed ongoing efforts on 28TB hard drives but hasn’t officially released them. Toshiba, another major player in hard drives, aims to introduce 50TB models in the future, yet they haven’t introduced any drives larger than 22TB so far.
Seagate verified that the drive will offer a lower cost per terabyte in comparison to current models. BS Teh clarified that the new drives leverage existing Seagate technologies, encompassing the chassis, motors, and most electronics. This results in a significantly reduced development cost compared to creating an entirely new product line.
The development of 30TB drives has been in progress for some time. Seagate made an announcement two years ago, stating that select customers were testing the drive. Toshiba, another HDD vendor, also confirmed its efforts in developing drives with similar capacity. Additionally, following Seagate’s introduction of the Exos 24TB drive, other confirmed capacities include 32TB and 36TB hard disk drives.