The way technology moves forward, 300 TB on a 3.5-inch hard drive may not seem so big in 2010. But here in 2007, it’s a lot of data, especially when Seagate’s largest single hard drive capacity is a paltry 750 GB in comparison.
-Correction- The 300 TB is actually terabits, and not terabytes. Therefore, the new Seagate drive in 2010 will store approximately 37.5 terabytes, and while that's just over 10 times smaller than a real 300 terabyte drive, it's still massive compared to the drives we are using today. And who knows what we'll have by 2011, or 2012!
The technology used today to expand hard drive capacities is called perpendicular recording, where bits are recorded to a hard drive in a vertical fashion, instead of horizontal, allowing many more bits to be recorded into the same physical space.
To pull the 37.5 terabyte (or 300 terabit) rabbit out of the hat, technology comes to the rescue once again. This time, Seagate will use a technology called heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR). These isn’t much detail on exactly how this works, but a single square inch of hard disk space will be able to store 50 terabits of data.
According to an online report from Joystiq, this is enough to store the entire ‘Library of Congress’ without needing to use any compression. It will also be enough to store 6,144 50 GB Blu-ray discs. That would be tens of thousands of standard DVD discs, hundreds of thousands of CDs and probably billions of photos.
There are concerns about losing 37.5 terabytes of data to a hard drive crash, but if 37.5 TB is truly the norm in 2010, buying a spare 37.5 TB to back it all up to won’t be that expensive. Defragging tools had better dramatically speed up, or a defrag might take days - unless, as has been pointed out, you're using a file system that doesn't need defragmentation like NTFS.
We don’t hear too much these days about holographic storage or where that will be by 2010, nor do we know how much capacity flash storage will offer by 2010. Still, an iPod nano sporting 1 TB of storage on flash memory may well be a reality by 2010, too.
Storage. It really is the answer to the space we need for our digital lives. Space is the final frontier, after all, although I’m sure Captain Kirk would laugh at the impossible prospect of flying the huge Enterprise starship through the 300 terabits of space contained on a 3.5-inch hard disk platter.