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Seagate Announce World's Largest Capacity SSD

The battle for the largest capacity solid state drive continues. Stepping up to the plate this time is Seagate, unveiling a SSD that they claim is the largest ever demonstrated at a mammoth 60 terabytes.

The drive has a 3.5-inch form factor, with storage twice as dense and four times as big as the highest capacity SD currently on the market. For those wondering, that 60 TB could store 400 million photos or around 12000 standard resolution films. And for those astronomical sorts out there, Seagate have kindly added that the drive holds more bits per square inch of disk space than there are stars in the Milky Way. Far out!

Though the drive, shown off at the Flash Memory Summit, is currently a demonstration technology, Seagate expect it to be released to consumers at some point in 2017.

This drive joins Seagate’s high performance enterprise portfolio, “a complete ecosystem of HDD, SSD and storage system products designed to help customers manage the deluge of data they face and move the right data where it's needed fast to meet rapidly evolving business priorities and market demands,” claim the company.

Data centres won’t need to separate data based on whether it needs to be available for the short or long-term, say Seagate. The drive’s large capacity allows accessibility of ever-increasing large amounts of data without having to add additional servers or incorporate additional management steps, they claim.

Of course, data centres are under great pressure to store the ever-increasing volumes of data, especially with the rapid expansion of cloud services. According to an IDC report, revenues from cloud services alone are set to reach $43.6 billion by 2020. It’s a rapidly growing industry.

The 60 TB drive has been in the works for a while. More than four years ago Seagate announced that it had managed to get a storage density of 1 trillion bits per square inch, which they achieved by using heat-assisted magnetic recording. Current drives use perpendicular magnetic recording, which can be limiting when trying to cram in as much storage capacity as possible.

Seagate also announced another drive at the summit, the 8 TB Nytro XP7200 NVMe SSD, which will be available before the end of the year. While obviously nowhere near the mammoth 60 TB offering, this drive will still benefit data centres. Fast access to vast amounts of data is often seen in applications involving high performance computing, scale-out database and big data analytics; these are the types of firms that Seagate are targeting with their new drives.

While this might be the largest SSD to hit the market, there’s no doubt that a competitor will top this eventually. And at the rate that storage technology and demand is moving, it probably won’t take that long to get there. While these drives may not have much application yet for the average consumer, the enterprise market is in hot demand for storage devices that offer quick access to data with huge capacities to match – the race is on.

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