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Western Digital to break 20TB hard drive barrier by 2020 as it addresses data centre TCO needs

Written by Thu 5 Sep 2019

Western Digital to ship 20TB SMR HDDs in the first half of 2020

Western Digital announced it will sample 18TB and 20TB hard drives by the end of the year as it edges closer to becoming the first hard disk manufacturer to break the 20TB storage threshold.

Select companies will get their hands on the 18TB Ultrastar DC HC550 CMR HDD and 20TB Ultrastar DC HC650 SMR HDDs by 2020 with the company planning to start production in the first half of 2020.

The company said it’s combining its nine-disk mechanical platform and energy-assisted recording to address the TCO requirements of data centre customers.

The high-density drives are in part made possible by the use of helium gas to seal them, instead of oxygen. The light mass and comparably lower density of helium reduce drive turbulence, allowing data tracks to be packed closer together and thus more data per HDD.

The second key enabling technology is Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR). While SMR offers affordable high-density storage compared to Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) drives, slow write speeds have impeded data centre adoption. Another downside to SMR drives is that unlike traditional HDDs they require system software modifications before they can be used.

For the last year, Western Digital has been working to improve SMR performance and expects 50 percent of its HDD exabytes to be on SMR by 2023.

“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,” said Christopher Bergey, senior vice president and general manager of Data Center Devices, Western Digital.

“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.”

Written by Thu 5 Sep 2019

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