Seagate's roadmap includes 14TB, 16TB hard drives within 18 months

Seagate wants to release 20TB hard drives in the next three years

Seagate is getting closer to reaching its goal of making 20TB hard drives by 2020.

Over the next 18 months, the company plans to ship 14TB and 16TB hard drives, company executives said on an earnings call this week.

Seagate's hard drive capacity today tops out at 10TB. A 12TB drive based on helium technology is being tested, and the feedback is positive, said Stephen Luczo, the company's CEO.

The demand for high-capacity drives is mostly in enterprises and for consumers who can afford the drives. The drives are mostly used in NAS configurations and storage arrays.

Seagate is also rolling out more 10TB hard drives that are priced starting at around US $400.

Hard drives have lost market share to faster and more power-efficient solid-state drives, which are being installed in more PCs.

But hard drives are surviving in PCs and servers because SSDs are more expensive. Hard drives are popular among computer owners who want more storage capacity than most SSDs can provide. In data centers, large-capacity drives are replacing tape storage to preserve data.

Demand for hard drives remains strong in the consumer market but has also picked up in the new areas like surveillance, Luczo said. Surveillance cameras record data and store it on hard drives. Hard drives are also popular in network-attached storage.

Seagate is also increasing the storage capacity per drive, and wants to raise the minimum capacity of hard drives in PCs to 1TB, executives said.

SSDs have largely taken over the lower-capacity market. Thin and light PCs often use SSD storage with up to 256GB, with few, like Dell's XPS 13, offering capacities of 512GB. Others offer 1TB SSDs.

Seagate made its name in hard drives but has also taken a lead in SSDs. Last year, it showed a 60TB SSD that could ship this year.

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