What is Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR)?

Posted by Kari Grosser on Jul 18, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Internet of Things will Boost Data Storage

Data transactions have evolved beyond peer to peer transactions to an age of interconnected devices and sensors. In this new era of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), data transactions are ubiquitous, whether it's for smart city machines, industrial equipment or transportation systems, today's data exchanges are huge. Some have estimated that IIoT data transactions will eventually make up for 50% of data transmitted over the Internet by 2020, creating a whole new expanded need for massive storage. Storage vendors need to come up with more cost effective technologies to support these challenges and one of them is called SMR.

What is SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording)

In the simplest terms, Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) is a new hard drive technology that allows the tracks on a platter to be layered on top of each other, just like roof shingles on a house, to increase platter density of tracks per inch (TPI). Current technology - Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR), uses a parallel track layout. By increasing TPI with SMR technology and decreasing the space between tracks, SMR offers tremendous potential for overall hard drive capacity gains.

The use of SMR HDD technology follows the same physical or operational usage as a standard PMR drive, but it comes with a much higher capacity in the same physical dimension. The change in hardware architecture means the user experience from a performance perspective will be dramatically different.

The Impact of SMR

SMR addresses the issue commonly found on conventional HDDs that scale the write head down, in fact, the write head is intentionally larger in an SMR drive. The larger write head means it can effectively magnetize (write) the media without having to compromise readability or stability (retention).


PAPS is excited to announce the phase in of Seagate's 2.5" 2TB SMR HDD in a thin 7MM lightweight enclosure, which directly address the higher capacity needs to support systems such as archive storage, video servers etc. As SMR technology continues to advance it will be combined with other storage technologies to deliver the best performance available.

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