20TB and 18TB hard drives emerge from Western Digital

20TB and 18TB hard drives emerge from Western Digital
Western Digital has begun sampling 20TB Ultrastar DC HC650 SMR HDDs and 18TB Ultrastar DC HC550 CMR HDDs. (Western Digital)

For most consumers, hard disk drives in computers are becoming a thing of the past as the latest models are rapidly moving to solid state drives. However, enterprise system computers are still using hard disk drives, and manufacturers of these drives keep boosting capacity. Western Digital announced that it has started shipping the industry’s highest-capacity HDD samples to enterprise OEMs and hyperscale customers worldwide. The 20TB Ultrastar DC HC650 SMR HDDs and 18TB Ultrastar DC HC550 CMR HDDs, first previewed in June 2019, and announced in September 2019, feature reportedly the first commercial implementation of energy-assisted magnetic recording technology on a nine-disk platform.

With zettabyte-scale data growth, the need for higher-capacity data storage across a broad spectrum of applications and workloads can be reliably met only with high capacity enterprise HDDs. According to the company, the industry-leading capacities of Western Digital’s Ultrastar 20TB SMR and 18TB CMR HelioSeal HDDs enable customers to deploy up to 22% fewer racks and reduce their total cost of ownership by up to 11%, along with the corresponding reductions in power consumption, cooling costs, and data center infrastructure needs when compared with today’s 14TB CMR HDDs.

Western Digital achieves the industry’s highest areal density performance in these drives through the use of energy-assisted magnetic recording. Together with the company’s HelioSeal and SMR technologies, triple-stage micro actuation and 9-disk platform, the energy-assisted recording technology provides an integrated solution, resulting in the dramatic gain in drive capacities.

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“The market outlook for capacity-optimized enterprise HDDs remains very positive as IDC expects petabytes shipped to hyperscale cloud data centers and for OEM storage systems and servers to grow at a combined compound annual growth rate of 28% through 2023,” said Ed Burns, Research Director, HDD and Storage Technologies at IDC, in a statement. “Western Digital’s new 20TB and 18TB HDDs should make a compelling case for customers to transition to higher capacity points as they seek greater storage and energy efficiencies in the near-term while building more cost-effective and scalable infrastructures for the future.”

Western Digital is now sampling the 20TB Ultrastar DC HC650 SMR HDD and the 18TB Ultrastar DC HC550 CMR HDD, with qualification and volume shipments expected in the first half of 2020.

 

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