Toshiba’s 20TB nearline spinner finally arrives at the party… later than rivals

Toshiba has announced a 20TB HDD, as predicted in its February roadmap, arriving almost a year after Western Digital launched its first 20TB drive.

To put this further context, Seagate launched a 10-platter 20TB SkyHawk video surveillance drive in March. This used conventional magnetic recording (CMR), unlike the WDD drive which was shingled, with its partially overlapping write tracks slowing write performance. WD moved to the 22TB level in July, with conventional, not shingled drives.

Toshiba has now added a 10th platter to its 9-platter MG09 disk drive product line to make the MG10. it spins at 7,200rpm, and has either a 12Gbit/s SAS or 6Gbit/s SATA interface, like the MG09. 

The MG10 has a huge range of TB capacities; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20TB. The 1TB to 10TB drives are air-filled. The 12TB to 16TB are helium-filed and use CMR, while the 18TB , 20TB and a 16TB variant, are still helium-filled CMR disks but use the Flux-Control Microwave-Assisted Magnetic Recording (FC-MAMR) technology. This strengthens the write signal with microwaves, to bump up the CMR capacity.

The top-end 20TB capacity is restricted to the SATA interface, with SAS not being available at that capacity level.

The buffer size varies with capacity, starting at 128MB, rising to 256MB and topping out at 512MB. The maximum sustained transfer rate is 281 MiB/sec (294.7MB/sec).  Toshiba’s MG10 datasheet provides the capacity level product variation details, but uses separate MiB and MB values in its ratings.

Toshiba’s next nearline drive should be a 26TB shingled drive and that’s due later this year, according to its February roadmap.

The MG10 has a 5-year warranty and supports a 550TB/year workload. Sample shipments should start in the fourth calendar quarter.