The Seagate MACH.2 is the world’s first multi-actuator hard drive technology, containing two independent actuators that transfer data concurrently. MACH.2 solves the need for increased performance by enabling parallelism of data flows in and out of a single hard drive. By allowing the data center host computer to request and receive data from two areas of the drive simultaneously, MACH.2 doubles the IOPS performance of each individual hard drive.

  • ST14000NM0001 (hyperscale version)
  • ST14000NM0081 (conventional version)
  • 7200rpm
  • 256MB cache
  • SAS 12 Gbps interface
  • 4.16 average latency
  • 524 MB/s maximum transfer rate
  • 304/384 random read write IOPS
  • error rate 1015
  • helium drive assembly

Seagate has worked on developing this technology for several years. Now they have introduced a initial model for the server market.

  • Hyperscale applications/cloud data centers
  • Massive scale-out data centers
  • Big data applications
  • Content delivery networks
  • Mainstream enterprise external storage arrays
  • Distributed file systems, including
  • Hadoop and Ceph
  • Enterprise backup and restore—D2D, virtual tape
  • Centralized surveillance
  • High-bandwidth streaming applications

Seagate will likely sell lots of these disks as they are less expensive to manufacture. MACH.2 drives have two actuators, each driving arms and heads that address half of the platters in a disk and can do two things at once. They’re therefore pleasingly rapid. MACH.2 also offer pleasingly large capacities up to 20TB. That combination of speed and capacity has seen Microsoft buy up plenty of the Seagate’s early production run and put them to work in the Project Olympus servers it deploys inside the Azure cloud. Seagate is hoping to reach 30TB using the MACH.2 approach.

Exos 2X14 was designed for hyperscale workloads that focus on low queue-depth random read operations (low queue-depths to keep command latencies low) and large transfer size sequential operations. The highest performance gains over single actuator will be found during high transfer size sequential reads/writes (128KB transfers and larger, queue 2+ for writes), random reads (all transfer sizes), and random writes (128KB transfers and larger).

Seagate is the first to commercialize its dual-actuator HDD, but its rivals from Toshiba and Western Digital are also working on similar hard drives. Competition from Toshiba and Western Digital are likely to be HAMR media more suitable for racks of storage for applications like Youtube etc. The faster MACH.2 can be used in more active area depending on the workload capability.