Image: Western Digital

Western Digital has announced that it has begun sampling two new Ultrastar hard drives with exciting amounts of capacity to select hyperscale cloud customers. The Ultrastar DC HC570 features 22 TB of space, while the DC HC670 is even more impressive, offering an incredible 26 TB of storage. These higher capacities are enabled by some of Western Digital’s newer technologies, which include OptiNAND, energy-assisted PMR (ePMR), triple-stage actuator (TSA), HelioSeal, and UltraSMR. Western Digital will begin shipping its 26 TB UltraSMR HDD to select customers this summer.

“As a longstanding partner of the industry’s leading cloud providers, we understand their unique requirements in building next-generation cloud infrastructure and invested in several HDD innovations we developed alongside our areal density technology,” said Ashley Gorakhpurwalla, EVP and GM, HDD Business Unit, Western Digital.

“Our intent with taking this development strategy was not only to address the capacity demands of the world’s largest cloud titans but to deliver on a roadmap that would also support the evolving economics of their data centers for decades to come. With ePMR, OptiNAND and now UltraSMR as the foundation of Western Digital’s HDD roadmap, our cloud customers can continue rapidly scaling their business by taking advantage of our innovations to lower their storage TCO.”

Western Digital’s HDD technology portfolio and areal density leadership puts it at the center of storage innovation. Leveraging its unique OptiNAND technology, energy-assisted PMR (ePMR), triple-stage actuator (TSA), HelioSeal and now UltraSMR technologies, Western Digital is on a clear path to delivering 30+ TB with ePMR.

The new ePMR drives leverage Western Digital’s OptiNAND technology to unlock unprecedented levels of capacity, performance and data resiliency. The 22TB CMR HDD incorporates OptiNAND to deliver areal-density leadership on a mature 2.2TB/platter HelioSeal platform with ten disks.

Combining OptiNAND with proprietary firmware that leverages HDD system-level hardware advancements, Western Digital’s new UltraSMR technology introduces large block encoding along with an advanced error correction algorithm that increases tracks-per-inch (TPI) to enable higher capacity. The result is Western Digital’s new 26TB Ultrastar DC HC670 UltraSMR HDD that delivers 2.6TB per platter, offering 18% more capacity for cloud customers optimizing their stacks to take advantage of the benefits of SMR. With cloud service providers increasingly adding SMR to their datacenter roadmaps, the 26TB capacity serves as a tipping point to accelerate adoption.

Uniquely capable with OptiNAND, the HDDs also include the ArmorCache write cache data safety feature, which gives customers the performance of write cache enable (WCE) combined with the data protection of write cache disable (WCD) for added data protection or resiliency in case of an emergency power off (EPO). For the first time in HDD history, this Write Cache Data Safety feature gives users both performance and data protection, no matter which mode is selected. OptiNAND gives the drives a significant performance increase also in WCD mode, which is greatest in random writes with larger block transfers. At common HDD application transfer lengths of 256KB or greater, IOPS and throughput improve by more than 40% relative to a non-OptiNAND drives, with a peak improvement of over 80% at 1MB transfer length.

Source: Western Digital

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  1. Honestly, this is the way to sell SMR drives. Launch them alongside the CMR version and show how you get more space at a slight performance hit.

    If this had been done from the get go, there would never have been a controversy.
  2. People love to rag on SMR disks, but they have their uses.

    I have a remote backup server that all it ever does is - once a night - receives an incremental block level backup stream at WAN speeds.

    I'm going to need new drives for this server at some pointsnf when I do, I'll probably save a buck or two by going with SMR drives. My home NAS uses only CMR, but fot this remote backup purpose, SMR is great.

    It won't be these disks though. They are both larger and use more power than what I need in this role. I'm thinking 5400rpm SMR drives, at maybe 8TB a pop.

    Right now the backup server has 16x 4TB WD Red's in a RAIDz3 configuration. I went up on the redundancy due to it being remote and possibly being a longer lead time before ai can replace a failed drive. I also went single VDEV with many drives because the performance impact of this compared to multiple striped smaller VDEV's didn't matter much in this remote backup role.

    That said, I could achieve the same storage capacity with a lot fewer of these 7200rpm huge drives. I'll have to run the numbers on purchase cost and power savings and see which is more favorable. 16 smaller, cheaper more efficient drives vs fewer larger more expensive, more power hungry drives.

    I mean, 16x 8TB drives in RAIDz3 gives me 104TB.

    If I stick with RAIDz3 I'd only need 7 of these big 26TB drives for the same capacity...

    I haven't seen the price of these bad boys yet, and WD hasn't even released an 8TB SMR Red drive yet, so a proper comparison will have to wait.

    I'm still only at ~65% capacity on the 16 4TB's so I have some time, but some of those drives are starting to get close to the 70k hours of uptime mark... At some point they are going to start dropping like flies...

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