What is MACH.2?

The world's first multi-actuator hard drive contains two independent actuators that transfer the data concurrently. Now, hyperscale data centres can access performance gains without sacrifices in latency thanks to MACH.2.

Seagate, as a leader in storage technology, is releasing to market MACH.2 multi-actuator technology hard drives (HDD). HDDs provide the storage industry with consistent capacity growth at a consistently declining cost, making them a dominant storage technology across all markets and applications. Commonly known as 'nearline drives', Enterprise 3.5" 7200RPM HDDs, have doubled capacity in the last five years, enabling the lowest cost, while maintaining a consistent level of performance. These HDDs have met the growing Exabyte demands of cloud infrastructures. MACH.2 multi-actuator technology is on an innovation vector that will maintain performance to match the capacity growth of these 3.5" high-capacity HDDs while meeting or exceeding total cost of ownership goals.

HDD technology involves moving parts, and performance is largely driven by RPM and the number of channels used to transfer I/Os (read and write commands). Historically, performance was gained by increasing RPMs, which led to 2.5" mission-critical 15,000 and 10,000 RPM drives. However, these 2.5" drive cannot deliver higher capacities due to form factor constraints. Similarly, 3.5" HDDs which can deliver higher capacities, cannot be spun to higher RPMs due to higher power consumption, and the extra performance gains were not enough to justify increased power requirements. Higher RPMs also had other side effects such as chassis-level vibration and operational shock performance degradation.

An alternate means of improving 3.5" HDDs performance is via caching within the drive, which only helps at certain workload conditions and provides limited benefits. Queueing is another means of deriving more performance from a drive, but it comes at a latency penalty and having to architect applications to work at higher queue depths (QD). You may also increase random read/write performance by reducing the maximum usable capacity of a drive (also known as short-stroking) which limits the seek distance across the disk. This technique however is not cost-effective due to the amount of capacity lost.

 

 

HDDs using a single actuator to transfer I/Os from the device to the host using a single read/write channel have limited performance irrespective of the capacity gain and number of heads/media per drive. MACH.2 technology addresses this limitation by using two actuators that can transfer I/Os independent of each other within a single HDD. The image below helps visualise the two actuators working simultaneously, yet independently. Each actuator addresses one half of the total capacity of the drive.

Seagate manufactures hard drives that specifically address the needs of the hyperscale storage market. As the highest-performing hard drive in the Seagate X class, the Exos 2X14 enterprise dual-actuator hard drive utilises MACH.2 technology enabling up to 2x the performance of an enterprise single-actuator 3.5" hard drive.

MACH.2 technology enables up to 2x the performance of an enterprise single-actuator 3.5" hard drive

Highest 14TB hard drive performance, making it perfect for cloud data centre and massive scale-out data centre applications

14TB of capacity available as two independently addressable, 7TB logical units

PowerBalance™ features optimises IOPS/Watt

Helium sealed drive design delivers lower total cost of ownership through lower power and weight

Next-generation helium side-sealed weld technology for added handling robustness and leak protection

Digital environmental sensors to monitor internal drive conditions for optimal operation and performance

Latest hermetic interconnect technology supporting higher data rate heads and higher pin counts for extreme thermal conditions

Proven enterprise-class reliability back by 5-year limited warranty and 2.5M-hr MTBF (Mean time between failures) rating

MACH.2 technology provides a proven solution to accelerate data transfer while reducing overall command latency. As more and more applications encounter IOPS/TB constraints, MACH.2 technology will resolve performance constraint, reduce TCO, and help customers meet the growing demand for increased performance as defined is SLAs.

For more detailed information about MACH.2 technology, click here.

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