Monday, May 9th 2022

Western Digital UltraSMR HDDs now Available with 22TB CMR and 26TB UltraSMR

Building on significant technology innovations cultivated over decades, Western Digital today announced that it is sampling its new industry-leading 22 TB and 26 TB UltraSMR HDDs to select hyperscale cloud customers, further expanding its areal density leadership and delivering customer value by driving TCO lower. 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.

"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."
OptiNAND, UltraSMR and ePMR Drive Cloud TCO Lower
The new ePMR drives leverage Western Digital's OptiNAND technology to unlock unprecedented levels of capacity, performance and data resiliency. The 22 TB CMR HDD incorporates OptiNAND to deliver areal-density leadership on a mature 2.2 TB/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 26 TB Ultrastar DC HC670 UltraSMR HDD that delivers 2.6 TB 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 26 TB 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 256 KB or greater, IOPS and throughput improve by more than 40% relative to a non-OptiNAND drives, with a peak improvement of over 80% at 1 MB transfer length. See the tech brief here for more details.

22 TB CMR and 26 TB UltraSMR HDD Availability:
  • The 22 TB Ultrastar DC HC570 HDD and the new 26 TB Ultrastar DC HC670 UltraSMR HDD are now sampling to select hyperscale customers. The DC HC570 HDD will begin volume shipments to the channel, and the UltraSMR HDD will begin shipping to select customers in the summer of 2022.
  • The Ultrastar Data60and Data102JBODs will feature the new 22 TB CMR Ultrastar HDDs this summer, delivering the industry's highest storage density in a fully optimized platform for added durability and data reliability for software-defined storage.
  • Extending OptiNAND innovations across its HDD portfolio, Western Digital will deliver 22 TB WD Purple Pro HDDs for smart video/surveillance, WD Red Pro HDDs for NAS solutions, and WD Gold HDDs for system integrators and resellers serving enterprises and SMBs. These drives will be available this summer.
Source: Western Digtal
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16 Comments on Western Digital UltraSMR HDDs now Available with 22TB CMR and 26TB UltraSMR

#1
progste
Pretty cool that we're approaching 30 TB, HDDs are still great for media storage.
Posted on Reply
#2
DeathtoGnomes
progstePretty cool that we're approaching 30 TB, HDDs are still great for media storage.
yea thats a lot of movies, even in 4k.
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#3
TheinsanegamerN
Cool, but at some point these sizes become impractical. If this drive could maintain 100MB/s write speeds, it would take 78 hours of straight writing to fill a single 26TB drive. That's a long rebuild window.
Posted on Reply
#4
LifeOnMars
I use an 8TB external HDD Drive for the majority of my games, no issues. Very few games are actually on my SSDs and even then they are generally just used for games that have excessive loading or streaming issues. I would lap up one of these drives as I love everything installed on my rig and available
Posted on Reply
#5
Tomorrow
TheinsanegamerNCool, but at some point these sizes become impractical. If this drive could maintain 100MB/s write speeds, it would take 78 hours of straight writing to fill a single 26TB drive. That's a long rebuild window.
Previous lower capacity versions achieved 250MB/s so i doubt these will be slower. Perhaps approaching 300MB/s but i agree that speeds are not keeping up with capacity.
Essentially current HDD speeds are a big bottleneck before a big reservoir of storage. We need dual actuators to get 600MB/s to at least saturate the SATA 6Gbps limit.
Posted on Reply
#6
timta2
I think it's incredible that they are still selling that garbage SMR. Consumers are some suckers.
Posted on Reply
#7
dragontamer5788
timta2I think it's incredible that they are still selling that garbage SMR. Consumers are some suckers.
SMR seems like an adequate competitor to tape-drive / tape-library technologies, which would take far longer to modify than SMR-drives. Seeking performance on SMR is also quite good (while its terrible in tape-libraries: like 3-minutes to load any file)

SMR is slow compared to "typical" PC-users / laptop users. But SMR is quite fast compared to its competitor.
Posted on Reply
#8
syrup
My main issue with it was poor disclosure. In this respect, seems WD is moving in the right direction, although wouldn't be surprised if this sort of naming ends up limited to enterprise products while consumers still get obfuscation.
Posted on Reply
#9
lexluthermiester
DeathtoGnomesyea thats a lot of movies, even in 4k.
Or even a game library. My entire GOG library would still need a bit more space but not much.

What I would like to see is WD give users the ability to switch between CMR and SMR with a utility. Granted doing so would destroy all the data on the drive in favor of a reformat, but it would be nice to have the choice between the faster recording method or more space. And before anyone comments that such is not possible, save it, the hardware difference is minor and a firmware based reconfiguration would be trivial.
dragontamer5788SMR seems like an adequate competitor to tape-drive / tape-library technologies, which would take far longer to modify than SMR-drives. Seeking performance on SMR is also quite good (while its terrible in tape-libraries: like 3-minutes to load any file)

SMR is slow compared to "typical" PC-users / laptop users. But SMR is quite fast compared to its competitor.
Please take your snarky trolling comments elsewhere..
Posted on Reply
#10
dragontamer5788
lexluthermiesterPlease take your snarky trolling comments elsewhere..
I'm not trolling. Tape libraries send out a little robot to fetch tapes, that can take 1 to 2 minutes depending on the library. Once the tape is loaded into an available drive, the tape then begins the winding process, which can take another minute or two.

3-minutes to load a file in a tape-library is approximately what people should expect? As far as I'm aware. Once you get to that file, tape is surprisingly fast (300+ MB/s), but there's a significant delay in fetching items using LTFS.

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People still use tape-libraries today, because $60 for 12TBs is cheap as all heck. SMR-drives are trying to compete against this. SMR is still more expensive than tape. This kind of archival load is used for IIRC, Hollywood raw footage. (Save off all the takes and everything for editing later). Its not really a normal consumer load, but SMR / Tape Drives have a solid use case.
Posted on Reply
#11
smstnitc
TheinsanegamerNCool, but at some point these sizes become impractical. If this drive could maintain 100MB/s write speeds, it would take 78 hours of straight writing to fill a single 26TB drive. That's a long rebuild window.
Great, I'll take 8!
Posted on Reply
#12
ghazi
TheinsanegamerNCool, but at some point these sizes become impractical. If this drive could maintain 100MB/s write speeds, it would take 78 hours of straight writing to fill a single 26TB drive. That's a long rebuild window.
At least when you get denser platters you see better throughput. Though I now see these are using 10x 2.2TB platters... Still, I would imagine these sustain 200-300MB/s as another poster said. But it is true at these capacities that if you have the ability, you're better off getting a bunch of ~8TB drives.
dragontamer5788I'm not trolling. Tape libraries send out a little robot to fetch tapes, that can take 1 to 2 minutes depending on the library. Once the tape is loaded into an available drive, the tape then begins the winding process, which can take another minute or two.

3-minutes to load a file in a tape-library is approximately what people should expect? As far as I'm aware. Once you get to that file, tape is surprisingly fast (300+ MB/s), but there's a significant delay in fetching items using LTFS.

----------

People still use tape-libraries today, because $60 for 12TBs is cheap as all heck. SMR-drives are trying to compete against this. SMR is still more expensive than tape. This kind of archival load is used for IIRC, Hollywood raw footage. (Save off all the takes and everything for editing later). Its not really a normal consumer load, but SMR / Tape Drives have a solid use case.
This is 22TB CMR vs 26TB SMR... and I feel safe in saying the 26TB drive will cost a pretty penny, to say the least. No comparison at all. As far as I can tell that's like saying if you stuck a turbocharger in a semi it'll compete better with Ferrari.
Posted on Reply
#13
TheinsanegamerN
TomorrowPrevious lower capacity versions achieved 250MB/s so i doubt these will be slower. Perhaps approaching 300MB/s but i agree that speeds are not keeping up with capacity.
Essentially current HDD speeds are a big bottleneck before a big reservoir of storage. We need dual actuators to get 600MB/s to at least saturate the SATA 6Gbps limit.
I didnt know the previous versiosn were that fast. That's more reasonable.
Posted on Reply
#14
trsttte
dragontamer5788SMR seems like an adequate competitor to tape-drive / tape-library technologies, which would take far longer to modify than SMR-drives. Seeking performance on SMR is also quite good (while its terrible in tape-libraries: like 3-minutes to load any file)

SMR is slow compared to "typical" PC-users / laptop users. But SMR is quite fast compared to its competitor.
The point of tape is that you don't modify if after archive, you only fetch them in case of a failure in the original storage. Otherwise they're left in the vault untouched.
Posted on Reply
#15
lexluthermiester
dragontamer5788I'm not trolling. Tape libraries send out a little robot to fetch tapes, that can take 1 to 2 minutes depending on the library. Once the tape is loaded into an available drive, the tape then begins the winding process, which can take another minute or two.

3-minutes to load a file in a tape-library is approximately what people should expect? As far as I'm aware. Once you get to that file, tape is surprisingly fast (300+ MB/s), but there's a significant delay in fetching items using LTFS.
Ok, I'll conceed on that point, tape has become a much more viable form of storage than it has been in years past. However, my point was that comparing an SMR based HDD to tape storage is folly at best. There's no comparing them.
dragontamer5788SMR-drives are trying to compete against this. SMR is still more expensive than tape.
No they're not. SMR HDDs are slower than CMR HDDs, but they are still near instant access drives. Tape storage is not. It's not even close. Tape is excellent for archival/back-up uses, not for daily driver use-case-scenarios.
Posted on Reply
#16
dragontamer5788
lexluthermiesterOk, I'll conceed on that point, tape has become a much more viable form of storage than it has been in years past. However, my point was that comparing an SMR based HDD to tape storage is folly at best. There's no comparing them.


No they're not. SMR HDDs are slower than CMR HDDs, but they are still near instant access drives. Tape storage is not. It's not even close. Tape is excellent for archival/back-up uses, not for daily driver use-case-scenarios.
IBM's storage solutions goes from DDR4 RAM, to PCIe NVMe Flash, to HDD nearline storage, to LTFS Tape libraries. All of this data-transfer stuff is completely automatic these days.

Storage is therefore fungible. They're all going to be "Cached" by a layer of NVMe Flash (which is abundant and plentiful these days). The question is how much money do you put into the "tape" side vs the "hdd" side.

If your HDD nearline storage / archival HDDs are fast enough (and yes, SMR is "faster than tape"), and cheap enough (not quite as cheap as tape, but SMR is much cheaper than CMR / PMR), then future systems will use more SMR HDDs.

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No "daily-driver consumer" is going to be buying these 26TB HDDs when 4x 8TBs is cheaper. The reason why 26+ TB HDDs exist is because at the business-class level, its cheaper to fill up on (slightly) more expensive hard drives than to buy a 2nd or 3rd DAS box.

As such: my assumptions is that this 26TB SMR-drive is for some crazy business somewhere that needs 400x of this drive to store its data.
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