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Seagate Ships 1MM SMR Drives Discussion


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#1 Brian

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 01:06 PM

Seagate has shipped one million SMR drives to direct customers and promises 20TB capacities by the end of the decade.

Seagate Pledges 20TB Shingled Magnetic Recording HDD by 2020

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#2 FastMHz

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 01:38 PM

After reading the tech article it sounds to me that these drives will be best for infrequently modified large data storage. I can't imagine how long defragging might take.

This tech might do best merged with a large solid state cache.

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#3 Brian

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 02:11 PM

We're thinking the same way...Seagate hasn't been very open about where these drives are going and what they're doing unfortunately. But I suspect as you do that it's a very specific workload where these drives can succeed.

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#4 fallbreak

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 02:20 PM

Perfect for the cold storage solutions Facebook is asking around for a while.

#5 continuum

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 02:56 AM

From the SR article:

Our 4K and 8k 70/30 tests showed performance being a small fraction of current-generation hard drives

Ouch... agreed with fallbreak, looks like something perfect for Amazon Glacier and not much else.

#6 [ETA]MrSpadge

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 06:22 AM

This technique looks very suitable for archiving large media files - which are what the bulk of todays massive storage is used for anyway. To use them efficienctly I think the shingle-bands should be exposed to the OS/driver to handle things effciently. Some possible optimizations which come to mind:

- relax defragmentation by the OS
- bundle writes more liberally before pushing them to the disk
- rather write to a new band than squeeze data into an existing hole in a almost filled band (and cause lots of re-writes)
- upon file modifications: rather than always overwrite starting from where the modification happened, and in the worst-case overwriting the entire band, start at the beginning of a band if the modification is to be done in the fisrt 50% of the band. This should half the average performance hit
- align logical block sizes with band sizes to restore write speeds to almost normal levels, trading in some capacity (OK for large files)

And thinking about this.. how's the state of linear overlap between bits in HDDs? I've heard in BluRays they're already overlapping 8 bits sequentially and triggering / coding the data on the signal flanks. This requires more states than 0 and 1 to be distinguishable. Is this already being done in HDDs? Can it be done, or would there be some fundamental limitation? This could increase the linear density further, which yields nice STR increases. The drawback would probalby be more fragile data and of course more complicated read-out. But if it can be handled..

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#7 fullermd

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 01:05 PM

I worry about what this will do to power safety. Imagine you need to rewrite a few k in the early part of a band. The drive has to rewrite the whole rest of the stupid thing. Now the power fails partway through the rewrite. Whoopsy. Well, I'm sure those other bits that have been assumed safely written and not touched in months weren't that important... :blink:

#8 [ETA]MrSpadge

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 02:38 AM

That depends on how large the independent blocks are. The PSU can at least buffer a few 10 ms..

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#9 FastMHz

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 05:26 PM

I wouldn't think of running any critical system without a UPS anyway.

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#10 Garry_SuperGeek

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 12:42 AM

It will die before I fill it. :D

Portable hard drives are short-lived. In addition, to complete at least 5 TB, a person would need a lot of time. ;)

#11 [ETA]MrSpadge

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 03:03 AM

This depends on whether you carry it around or not. If this is used to increase the capacity of 3.5" low-rpm mass-storage drives (for NAS, Backup etc.) the disk placement could be very static.

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#12 jtsn

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 06:50 AM

Shingled magnetic recording is already used by tape drives and there it makes sense. I don't see a need for even slower hard drives.

#13 Brian

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 09:09 AM

Cold storage appears to be the target market.

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