Western Digital has made a huge HDD breakthrough

Western Digital has unveiled its new 22TB CMR and 26TB UltraSMR hard disk drives (HDDs) which are currently being tested by select hyperscale cloud customers.

The reason the storage giant has been able to dramatically increase hard drive capacity over the years is due to its ever-expanding technology portfolio that includes its unique OptiNAND technology, Power-Assisted PMR (ePMR ), the Three Stage Actuator (TSA), HelioSeal and now UltraSMR.

Western Digital’s new ePMR drives leverage the company’s OptiNAND technology to unlock higher levels of capacity, performance and data resiliency. For example, its new 22TB CMR hard drive incorporates OptiNAND to provide areal density on a 2.2TB/platter HelioSeal platform with ten drives.

While the average consumer probably doesn’t need a drive of this capacity, cloud providers and other tech giants can use Western Digital’s hard drives to store more data in less space. space, which could help reduce the cost of cloud storage services for the end. users.


By combining OptiNAND with proprietary firmware that leverages hardware advancements at the hard drive system level, Western Digital’s new UltraSMR technology introduces large-block encoding with an advanced error-correction algorithm that increases the number of tracks per inch (TPI) to allow for larger capacity hard drives.

The first hard drive to use this new technology is the company’s new 26TB Ultrastar DC HC670 UltraSMR hard drive, which offers 2.6TB per platter and offers 18% more storage capacity. However, as cloud service providers increasingly add SMRs to their data center roadmaps, the drive’s 26TB capacity could serve as a tipping point to accelerate adoption.

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Ashley Gorakhpurwalla, executive vice president and general manager of Western Digital’s HDD business unit, provided additional insight into the company’s HDD technology portfolio in a press release, saying:

“As a long-time partner of the industry’s leading cloud providers, we understand their unique requirements for building next-generation cloud infrastructure and have invested in several hard drive innovations that we’ve developed alongside our technology. of areal density. Our intent in adopting this development strategy was not only to meet the capacity demands of the world’s largest cloud titans, but to provide a roadmap that would also support the economic evolution of their data centers for decades. coming. With ePMR, OptiNAND and now UltraSMR as the foundation of Western Digital’s HDD roadmap, our cloud customers can continue to rapidly scale their business by leveraging our innovations to lower their total cost of storage.

The Ultrastar DC HC570 22TB hard drive will soon begin volume shipments to the channel while the Ultrastar DC HC670 UltraSMR 26TB hard drive is expected to begin shipping to select customers this summer.

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