Perpendicular recording technology has recently been introduced in hard disk drives for computer and consumer electronics applications. Although conceptualized in the late 1970s, making a product with perpendicular recording that has competing performance, reliability, and price advantage over the prevalent longitudinal recording technology has taken about three decades. One reason for the late entry of perpendicular recording is that the longitudinal recording technology was quite successful in overcoming many of its problems and in staying competitive. Other reasons are the risks, problems, and investment needed in making a successful transition to perpendicular recording technology. Iwasaki and co-workers came up with many inventions in the late 1970s, such as single-pole head, CoCr alloy media with a perpendicular anisotropy, and recording media with soft magnetic underlayers [S. Iwasaki and K. Takemura, IEEE Trans. Magn. 11, 1173 (1975); S. Iwasaki and Y. Nakamura, ibid. 14, 436 (1978); S. Iwasaki, Y. Nakamura, and K. Ouchi, ibid. 15, 1456 (1979)]. Nevertheless, the research on perpendicular recording media has been intense only in the past five years or so. The main reason for the current interest comes from the need to find an alternative technology to get away from the superparamagnetic limit faced by the longitudinal recording. Out of the several recording media materials investigated in the past, oxide based CoCrPt media have been considered a blessing. The media developed with CoCrPt-oxide or CoCrPt–SiO2 have shown much smaller grain sizes, lower noise, and larger thermal stability than the perpendicular recording media of the past, which is one of the reasons for the success of perpendicular recording. Moreover, oxide-based perpendicular media have also overtaken the current longitudinal recording media in terms of better recording performance. Several issues that were faced with the soft underlayers have also been solved by the use of antiferromagnetically coupled soft underlayers and soft underlayers that are exchange coupled with an antiferromagnetic layer. Significant improvements have also been made in the head design. All these factors now make perpendicular recording more competitive. It is expected that the current materials could theoretically support areal densities of up to 500–600 Gbits/in.2. In this paper, the technologies associated with perpendicular recording media are reviewed. A brief background of magnetic recording and the challenges faced by longitudinal recording technology are presented first, followed by the discussions on perpendicular recording media. Detailed discussions on various layers in the perpendicular recording media and the recent advances in these layers have been made. Some of the future technologies that might help the industry beyond the conventional perpendicular recording technology are discussed at the end of the paper.