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Western Digital unveils world’s first 22TB CMR and 26TB UltraSMR HDDs

New Ultrastar hard disk drives aim to lower storage TCO for hyperscale cloud customers, as well as accelerate SMR adoption

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Western Digital has announced it is sampling its new 22TB and 26TB UltraSMR hard disk drives (HDDs) to select hyperscale cloud customers, with general availability expected to follow this summer.

The new 22TB Ultrastar DC HC570 HDD and 26TB Ultrastar DC HC670 models leverage the storage firm’s OptiNAND technology, energy-assisted PMR (ePMR), triple-stage actuator (TSA), and HelioSeal technologies to help lower business’ storage TCO.

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Announcing the HDDs at its What’s Next event, Western Digital said the introduction of these new HDDs puts the company on a “clear path” to delivering its target of 30+ TB with ePMR.

“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 of Western Digital’s HDD Business Unit.

“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.”

At the heart of the new ePMR drives lies Western Digital’s OptiNAND technology, which has been designed to boost capacity, performance, and data resiliency.

With the addition of a tenth platter inside each drive, the 22TB CMR HDD offering provides a density of 2.2TB per each of its platters. Naturally, the 26TB Ultrastar DC HC670 UltraSMR HDD offers 2.6TB per platter, which promises an 18% increase in capacity for cloud customers that are optimising their stacks for SMR technology.

As cloud service providers increasingly add SMR to their datacenters, Western Digital says the 26TB capacity will serve as a “tipping point” to accelerate adoption.

The HDDs also benefit from ArmorCache technology - a write cache data safety feature that provides the performance of write cache enable (WCE), combined with the data protection of write cache disable (WCD), for added data protection and resiliency in the event of the emergency power off (EPO).

Additionally, WCD mode offers a significant performance increase thanks to the inclusion of OptiNAND – a benefit most noticeable in random writes with larger block transfers.

At HDD application transfer lengths of 256KB or greater, IOPS and throughput improve by more than 40% relative to non-OptiNAND drives, WD added, with a peak improvement of over 80% at 1MB transfer length.

“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,” Gorakhpurwalla added.

The DC HC570 HDD will begin volume shipments to the channel in the summer, at which time the UltraSMR HDD will begin shipping to select customers, Western Digital confirmed.

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