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Western Digital unveils 20TB mechanical HDDs

06 Sep 2019
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Western Digital is releasing a new nine-disk mechanical platform that builds on its data center expertise in areas such as energy-assisted recording technology and high capacity for OEM and hyperscale data center customers.

Select customers will be able to sample Western Digital’s 18TB Ultrastar DC HC550 CMR HDD and the 20TB Ultrastar DC HC650 SMR HDD, with full production expected to begin in the first half of 2020.

The company says that it rapidly ramped up the development of its 20TB SMR drive following a technology preview in June 2019. It believes the drive will support a growing ecosystem and the continued industry adoption of SMR.

“Western Digital continues to innovate to deliver efficient, purpose-built storage with excellent TCO with the optimal combination of industry-leading areal density, mechanical innovations and materials advancements,” explains Western Digital senior vice president and general manager of data centre devices, Christopher Bergey.

“Leveraging our success in bringing energy-assisted recording to market with our expertise in mechanical design, we can deliver this scalable HDD platform with significant capacity increases to our customers, particularly in the transition from 14TB to 18TB.”

Dropbox is one of Western Digital’s customers. The company’s vice president of engineering, Akhil Gupta, comments:

“At Dropbox, we are constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency and power in our data centres. We’re excited to see SMR drives reach a 20TB capacity point, which will enable us to power collaboration and deliver long-term value to our customers.”

Western Digital estimates that 50% of its HDD exabytes shipped will be on SMR by 2023.

Western Digital will also expand its offerings to include a portfolio of Capacity Enterprise HDDs, with cost-optimised configurations for every important capacity point: six-disk 10TB Ultrastar DC HC330 air-based HDD; eight-disk 14TB Ultrastar DC HC530 helium-based HDD; nine-disk 18TB Ultrastar DC HC550 helium-based HDD; and a nine-disk 20TB Ultrastar DC HC650 helium-based HDD.

Broadcom’s data center solutions group product line manager Rick Kitcipal says, “We continue to collaborate with Western Digital to deliver host-managed SMR and traditional CMR HDD high-capacity solutions across a broad ecosystem. Broadcom is a leading supplier of enterprise storage infrastructure.”

“Our goal is to enable customers to create optimal infrastructure designs that reduce risk while lowering total system cost.  By continuing to deliver the highest capacities, Western Digital and Broadcom will enable customers to reap both time-to-market and TCO benefits for generations to come."

Western Digital’s 10TB Ultrastar DC HC330 and 14TB Ultrastar DC HC530 are available now.

The company will sample the 20TB Ultrastar DC HC650 SMR HDD and the Ultrastar DC HC550 CMR HDD in 18TB and 16TB capacities to select customers by the end of 2019.