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Western Digital Readies WD Black SN850 Firmware Update Restoring AMD X570 Performance

Western Digital is reportedly preparing a firmware update for its WD Black SN850 M.2 NVMe SSD that restores the drive's write performance levels on PCs based on the AMD X570 platform. This problem is localized to X570, specifically to when the drive is installed on an M.2 NVMe slot that is wired to the X570 chipset. Drives that are installed on the slot that's directly wired to the Ryzen processor perform as expected (Ryzen 3000 "Matisse" and Ryzen 5000 "Vermeer").

The drive performs as intended on AMD B550, as well as Intel platforms that support PCIe Gen 4, as the only Gen 4-capable M.2 slots are the ones directly wired to the processor. Western Digital localized the problem to certain X570 motherboards that have their PCIe maximum payload size (MPS) value set at 128 bytes. This dictates the maximum transaction layer packet (TLP) that goes through the PCIe controller, and a low MPS value cripples performance. The firmware update by Western Digital possibly works around this limitation. The company is expected to release the firmware update by 12 July, 2021.

Western Digital, Percona Join Forces to Extend The Zoned Storage Ecosystem

Championing the Zoned Storage initiative, Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) today announced at its Flash Perspective Event that it has teamed with Percona, a leader in open source database software and services, to unlock the performance benefits of Western Digital's Ultrastar DC ZN540 NVMe ZNS SSDs for MySQL Server, one of the most popular open-source transactional databases in the world.

"Many of our customers are using MySQL as a database for their online data services and this new partnership with Percona will allow customers to unlock the full capabilities of our innovative ZNS flash solutions. With our contributions to the Linux and MySQL open-source communities, MySQL users will be able to install the Percona Server for MySQL and get out-of-the-box support for Western Digital Zoned Namespaces SSDs," said Wim De Wispelaere, vice president, Strategic Initiatives at Western Digital. "This demonstrates our continued commitment to deliver innovative data center infrastructure products and to build our partnership ecosystem to make those easy to implement by our customers."

Global NAND Flash Revenue for 1Q21 Rises by 5.1% QoQ Thanks to Better-Than-Expected Demand for Notebooks and Smartphones, Says TrendForce

Total NAND Flash revenue for 1Q21 increased by 5.1% QoQ to US$14.82 billion, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. In particular, bit shipments rose by 11% QoQ, while the overall ASP dropped by 5% QoQ; hence, bit shipment growth offset the decline in the overall ASP. Although NAND Flash demand from notebook computer and smartphone manufacturers remained high, clients from the data center segment exhibited relatively weak demand, since this segment had yet to leave the state of NAND Flash oversupply. Contract prices for this quarter therefore still mostly showed a considerable QoQ drop. On the other hand, OEMs/ODMs of end products began to increase procurement of NAND Flash products from the second half of January onward because they noticed that the shortage of NAND Flash controller ICs was affecting the production of medium- and low-density storage products. Besides avoiding a possible supply crunch in the future, OEMs/ODMs were placing additional orders because they were preparing for a push to expand market share. On account of these developments, the overall NAND Flash demand surpassed expectations in 1Q21.

Western Digital Reports Fiscal Third Quarter 2021 Financial Results

Western Digital Corp. (Nasdaq: WDC) today reported fiscal third quarter 2021 financial results. "We reported solid results above the guidance range, driven by increasing momentum of our energy-assisted drives and our second-generation NVMe enterprise SSDs, improving NAND flash pricing trends, along with the continued accelerated digital transformation across end markets," said David Goeckeler, Western Digital CEO.

"Western Digital's strengths in technology and cost leadership, expansive product portfolio and broad routes to market are providing a foundation upon which we are solidifying our position as an essential building block of the digital economy. These strengths, combined with our increased operational and strategic focus enabled by our new business unit structure, are driving results. As we continue to face a dynamic environment, we are seeing the benefits of the synergistic value in the breadth of Western Digital's portfolio, and our unique ability to deliver both hard drive and flash solutions to our diverse end-markets and customer base."

Western Digital Releases SanDisk Apex Legends Memory Card for Nintendo Switch

Western Digital has teamed up with Respawn Entertainment to create an Apex Legends -themed memory card for the Nintendo Switch, offering gamers and contenders across the Outlands expanded storage solutions just in time for the universally acclaimed battle royale game to drop into the Nintendo eShop next month.

Featuring the distinctive Apex Legends insignia, players can squad up and battle for glory with the microSDXC card which offers up to 128 GB of expanded storage. Whether it's existing fans who want to ready themselves to jump into the action, or new players looking to compete in the Apex Games for the first time, this microSDXC card ensures any gamer is equipped with the additional space they need to take on more adventures or challenges on their Nintendo Switch system.

NAND Flash Revenue for 3Q20 up by Only 0.3% QoQ Owing to Weak Server Sales, Says TrendForce

Total NAND Flash revenue reached US$14.5 billion in 3Q20, a 0.3% increase QoQ, while total NAND Flash bit shipment rose by 9% QoQ, but the ASP fell by 9% QoQ, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. The market situation in 3Q20 can be attributed to the rising demand from the consumer electronics end as well as the recovering smartphone demand before the year-end peak sales season. Notably, in the PC market, the rise of distance education contributed to the growing number and scale of Chromebook tenders, but the increase in the demand for Chromebook devices has not led to a significant increase in NAND Flash consumption because storage capacity is rather limited for this kind of notebook computer. Moreover, clients in the server and data center segments had aggressively stocked up on components and server barebones during 2Q20 due to worries about the impact of the pandemic on the supply chain. Hence, their inventories reached a fairly high level by 3Q20. Clients are now under pressure to control and reduce their inventories during this second half of the year. With them scaling back procurement, the overall NAND Flash demand has also weakened, leading to a downward turn in the contract prices of most NAND Flash products.

SanDisk Japan Branding Integrated with Western Digital

SanDisk Corporation, a Japanese corporation of Western Digital Corporation, changed its organization from the current corporation to a limited liability company on January 1, 2021. SanDisk has decided to change its name to Western Digital. This will change the new trade name to Western Digital GK. New trade name: Western Digital Limited Liability Company, English name: Western Digital GK, Scheduled change date: January 1, 2021.

Western Digital offers NAND flash memory products and HDDs (hard disk drives) at the top level of multiple brand products such as WD and SanDisk brands, from consumers to enterprises and large-scale data centers. We provide total storage solutions developed and mass-produced at. Among them, SanDisk Co., Ltd. has been in charge of the flash memory business, but with this change of trade name, it has become clearer that it is a Western Digital Group, making quicker decisions than ever before, and domestic customers and We aim to create a corporate structure that can further contribute to our business partners.

Update 10:27 UTC: Western Digital reached out to us and clarified that this organizational change only pertains to the Japanese entity of Western Digital changing its name from SanDisk Corporation to Western Digital GK. SanDisk Corporation (the Japanese entity) is 100% a subsidiary of Western Digital Corporation. Globally, there have been no changes announced for the SanDisk brand, and existing SanDisk products will continue to carry the brand.

Western Digital Launches Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Branded Gaming Storage

Western Digital is working with Call of Duty to reimagine three high-performance products from the WD_BLACK portfolio, bringing gamers three special edition storage drives that encapsulate the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War look and feel with the added bonus of in-game Call of Duty points.1 These three products include the WD_BLACK P10 Game Drive, WD_BLACK P50 Game Drive SSD and the recently announced WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD featuring PCIe Gen 4 technology.

"We are excited that this collaboration with Call of Duty gives us the opportunity to bring these limited edition specially designed drives to their passionate fans," said Jim Welsh, Senior Vice President of Consumer Solutions at Western Digital. "We know gamers are exceptionally serious when it comes to their gameplay, so we created optimized storage solutions that enable them to keep up with the immersive Call of Duty experience."

TerraMaster Launches F4-210 NAS for Personal Cloud Storage

TerraMaster, a professional brand that specializes in providing innovative storage products including network-attached storage (NAS) devices, launches the F4-210 1 GB version, the same 4-bay NAS for personal cloud storage at a more affordable price. The TerraMaster F4-210 is just a portion of the price of an Intel-based NAS device. The F4-210 supports up to 108 TB of storage and supports 3.5" SATA hard drives and 2.5" SATA hard drives and solid-state drives.

The TerraMaster F4-210 is perfect for users that are looking for a powerful personal cloud storage solution without a hefty investment. Costing just half the price of an equivalent Intel x86 quad-core processor-based NAS storage, the F4-210 can deliver modest read/write speeds of up to 124 MB/s with two WD Red 4 TB hard drives in RAID 0. The F4-210 supports various private cloud services including Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive.

Western Digital Announces Next-Gen WD_Black Gaming Storage Portfolio

Western Digital Corp. is helping gamers enhance their setups and adapt to the evolving gaming landscape heralded by the next generation of games with today's introduction of three new and upcoming products for its WD_BLACK portfolio of storage solutions. These include its first NVMe solid-state drive (SSD) with next-gen PCIe Gen 4 technology, a fully bootable Gen3 x8 add-in-card and a Thunderbolt 3-powered NVMe SSD gaming dock, each offering eye-catching RGB lighting options.

"As game developers move towards creating immersive titles that require higher performance, consumers need to equip themselves with the best tools to stay up-to-speed," said Jim Welsh, senior vice president, Consumer Solutions, Western Digital. "Innovative, high-performance storage solutions are essential to keep up with this ever-changing landscape. Our latest WD_BLACK products have been purpose-built to allow gamers to meet the increasingly high standards of future games and gaming platforms. We've optimized these products to not only provide more storage for gamers but to elevate the gaming experience as a whole."

Western Digital Teases Next-Generation WD_Black Gaming-grade Storage

Western Digital announced a media event dated October 8, 2020, in which it's expected to announce the next generation of WD_Black line of gaming-grade storage products. Over the years, the WD_Black brand evolved from representing the company's fastest client-segment hard drives to gaming-grade client-segment products, including the company's fastest internal NVMe SSDs, external SSDs for game consoles, and fast external HDDs. Western Digital is expected to unveil its next-generation WD_Black NVMe SSD succeeding the SN750, which could possibly leverage PCI-Express Gen 4. We know this from the three motifs in the teaser image, which denote a desktop PC, notebook, and a console. The media event will be livestreamed on Twitch.

Western Digital Aligns Product Strategy With New Flash and HDD Business Units

Western Digital Corp. today announced a significant step in the ongoing implementation of its diversified storage portfolio strategy by forming separate product business units for its Flash and HDD technology assets. The Flash business and the HDD business will each be led by a general manager and will align the company's diversified portfolio to an acceleration strategy designed for growth, profitability and development agility. By delivering both Flash and HDD market-leading innovation through highly focused product development organizations, Western Digital's strategy positions the company to leverage its strong go-to-market and operational synergies and uniquely address broad customer storage needs from edge devices to cloud infrastructure.

Also today, Western Digital announced the appointment of Robert Soderbery as executive vice president and general manager of its new Flash business unit. A thirty-year technology and business veteran, Soderbery is responsible for all Flash portfolio strategy, product development and business results and will lead engineering and product management teams focused on delivering the company's Flash innovation. The company confirmed an executive search is underway for a general manager who will lead its HDD product business.

Western Digital Sets a New Standard in Data Protection with Ground-Breaking ArmorLock Security Platform

Underscoring its mission to enable the world to solve its biggest data challenges by building a data infrastructure with next-gen security, Western Digital (NASDAQ: WDC) today introduced the ArmorLock Security Platform. A data encryption platform that rethinks how data security should be done, the ArmorLock Security Platform was created to help with the diverse security demands of data-centric and content-critical storage use cases in industries as varied as finance, government, healthcare, IT enterprise, legal, and media and entertainment. As data security concerns continue to rise in visibility, Western Digital plans to apply the platform across a range of storage solutions.

The first product to leverage this advanced technology, the new G-Technology ArmorLock encrypted NVMe SSD, is designed to deliver an easy-to-use, high-performance, high-grade security storage solution for creators in the media and entertainment industry. Facing the threat of hijacked media files and leaked films, studios, agencies, and especially investors are demanding a better way to protect critical content. While much of the industry's focus has been on cloud security, data often remains vulnerable on the portable storage devices holding critical commercial content.

NAND Flash Revenue Rises 6.5% QoQ in 2Q20 Due to Pandemic-Induced Demand Growth for Cloud Services, Says TrendForce

The NAND Flash industry benefitted from strong demand for PCs and servers in 2Q20 as the COVID-19 pandemic caused a demand surge for cloud services and technologies that are related to working from home, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. This, in turn, kept demand high for SSDs. However, the smartphone and consumer electronics markets had not recovered from the impact of the pandemic. The demand for these products therefore declined compared to the previous quarter. In 2Q20, total NAND Flash bit shipment and ASP both experienced a minor increase of about 3% QoQ, while NAND Flash revenue reached US$14.5 billion, a 6.5% increase QoQ.

Western Digital Announces My Passport SSD

For consumers who need to accelerate their productivity and protect their valuable content without compromising style, Western Digital Corp. today introduced the new WD brand My Passport SSD in capacities up to 2 TB. With a sleek, compact metal design and blazing fast speeds powered by NVMe technology, the new palm-sized drive allows home and business users to save, access and protect the content that matters.

"The new My Passport SSD delivers the speed, reliability and functionality consumers have come to expect from us," said Susan Park, vice president, Consumer Solutions, Western Digital. "It is a powerful and sophisticated solution for the everyday content creators, curators and hobbyists who need to move files quickly. The rounded corners, waving ridges and soft edges enhance the My Passport SSD's portability and make it easy to carry, yet also distinctly recognizable as a member within WD's award-winning My Passport product line-up."

Backblaze Releases Q2 2020 Hard Drive Stats for 142,630 Spinning HDDs

As of June 30, 2020, Backblaze had 142,630 spinning hard drives in our cloud storage ecosystem spread across four data centers. Of that number, there were 2,271 boot drives and 140,059 data drives. This review looks at the Q2 2020 and lifetime hard drive failure rates of the data drive models currently in operation in our data centers and provides a handful of insights and observations along the way. As always, we look forward to your comments.

Quarterly Hard Drive Failure Stats for Q2 2020
At the end of Q2 2020, Backblaze was using 140,059 hard drives to store customer data. For our evaluation we remove from consideration those drive models for which we did not have at least 60 drives (see why below). This leaves us with 139,867 hard drives in our review. The table below covers what happened in Q2 2020.

Western Digital Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2020 Financial Results

Western Digital Corp. (Nasdaq: WDC) today reported fourth quarter and fiscal year 2020 financial results. "I am extremely proud of the way our team has navigated the complexities and uncertainties inherent in this unprecedented environment, as we continue to adapt to provide supply continuity and high-quality products to our customers and drive value for our shareholders," said David Goeckeler, Western Digital CEO. "While we continue to navigate through a dynamic environment, we remain focused on managing the business for the long-term, including ramping two important product lines to high volume: our SSD products and our energy-assisted capacity enterprise drives. We will continue to deliver the quality, performance and cost-effectiveness our customers rely on, and I am confident that our end market diversity and breadth, broad customer base, channel reach, and innovative leadership all position Western Digital to benefit from the multi-year growth in data creation and storage."

In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, Western Digital's revenue increased 18% year-over-year to $4.3 billion, led by strength within Data Center Devices & Solutions and Client Devices end markets.

Western Digital Finally Launches Ultrastar DC HC550 18 TB Drives With EAMR for Enterprise

Western Digital had already announced the Ultrastar DC HC550 drives back in late 2019, but only now have they actually been released for sale. The new drives make use of CMR (Conventional Magnetic Recording), where data is stored in parallel tracks that increase rewriting proficiency of the drives compared to SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording, in which data tracks are overlapped for higher data density). In addition to CMR, Western Digital is employing some form of energy assistance (the EA in EAMR), though the company hasn't slipped many technical details on what kind of energy assistance is actually employed.

The drives are available in either SATA or SAS connections, with a data density of up to 1,022 gigabits per square inch in these 18 TB drives. Nine platters are employed, with speeds rated at 270 MB/s at 7,200 RPM. A 512 MB cache helps increase overall data speeds, and WD is offering their usual 5-year warranty with continuous operation and 550 TBW per year ratings. Street pricing for these Ultrastar DC HC550 18 TB drives seems to over around €630.

Backblaze Releases Hard Drive Stats for Q1 2020 - Seagate Worst Performer

As of March 31, 2020, Backblaze had 132,339 spinning hard drives in our cloud storage ecosystem spread across four data centers. Of that number, there were 2,380 boot drives and 129,959 data drives. This review looks at the Q1 2020 and lifetime hard drive failure rates of the data drive models currently in operation in our data centers and provides a handful of insights and observations along the way. In addition, near the end of the post, we review a few 2019 predictions we posed a year ago. As always, we look forward to your comments.
Hard Drive Failure Stats for Q1 2020

At the end of Q1 2020, Backblaze was using 129,959 hard drives to store customer data. For our evaluation we remove from consideration those drives that were used for testing purposes and those drive models for which we did not have at least 60 drives (see why below). This leaves us with 129,764 hard drives. The table below covers what happened in Q1 2020.

Western Digital Reports Fiscal Third Quarter 2020 Financial Results

Western Digital Corp. (Nasdaq: WDC) today reported fiscal third quarter 2020 financial results. "I joined Western Digital a little over a month ago because I have strong conviction in the digital transformation that is reshaping every industry, every company and how all of us live our daily lives," said David Goeckeler, Western Digital CEO. "While I couldn't have anticipated the unprecedented series of events that have transpired, I'm very proud of how the company has responded to an extremely dynamic environment with dedicated focus both on our employees' safety as well as delivering our market leading technology to our customers. As the only company in the world to provide a broad array of NAND flash, Solid State Drives (SSD) and Hard Disk Drives (HDD) solutions, I'm confident our innovation will drive significant new value for customers around the world."

We generated $142 million in cash from operations during the fiscal third quarter of 2020 and ended the quarter with $2.9 billion of total cash and cash equivalents. We returned $149 million to shareholders through dividends and used $212 million to reduce debt. On February 13, 2020, we declared a cash dividend of $0.50 per share of common stock, which was paid to shareholders on April 17, 2020. Going forward, we are suspending our dividend to strengthen our reinvestment in growth and innovation and to support our ongoing deleveraging efforts. We will reevaluate our dividend policy as leverage ratios improve.

Western Digital Defends DM-SMR on WD Red HDDs, Points Users to WD Red Pro or WD Gold

Western Digital gave its first response to allegations of the company implementing SMR (shingled magnetic recording) on its WD Red internal hard drives without properly documenting it. The WD Red series is extensively marketed as being "NAS optimized," which caused many NAS and RAID DAS enthusiasts to pick it up for home-office use, only to discover that the company's implementation of drive-managed SMR (DM-SMR) makes them effectively unfit for RAID use, as DM-SMR is vital for some of the higher-capacity WD Red models to achieve their nameplate capacity, while coming at a heavy cost of random write performance.

"SMR is tested and proven technology that enables us to keep up with the growing volume of data for personal and business use. We are continuously innovating to advance it. SMR technology is implemented in different ways - drive-managed SMR (DMSMR), on the device itself, as in the case of our lower capacity (2 TB - 6 TB) WD Red HDDs, and host-managed SMR, which is used in high-capacity data center applications. Each implementation serves a different use case, ranging from personal computing to some of the largest data centers in the world.," Western Digital writes.

Some Western Digital WD Red HDDs Allegedly Use SMR, A Big Nono for NAS and RAID

Western Digital launched the WD Red line of hard drives and solid state drives specifically for NAS applications. The rigors of NAS involves not just near 24x7 uptime, but also the ability to work in RAID volumes, as most NAS servers ease the process for end users to set up RAID volumes for data redundancy. Data Storage-focused tech publication Blocks & Files alleges that some WD Red HDDs are shipping with shingled magnetic recording (SMR), a physical-layer data recording technique that makes the drive unfit for RAID, and in turn unfit for most serious NAS setups.

SMR is a recording technique that aims to achieve higher data density per platter, by partially overlapping tracks, by taking advantage of write tracks being wider than read tracks. Think of it as trying to cram a little more than one line of text per ruling, in a ruled notepad. The biggest trade-off with cramming in more data using SMR is a heavy loss in random write performance. The controversy of Western Digital shipping SMR WD Red drives came to light when Alan Brown, a network administrator with the UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory, noticed that a brand new WD Red HDD kept getting kicked out of RAID arrays during resilvering (rebalancing of data with the addition of a new disk to an existing RAID array).

Western Digital Announces the WD Gold Series U.2 NVMe Enterprise SSDs

Western Digital is enabling small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to easily transition to NVMe storage and dramatically improve application performance with a new addition to its portfolio of data center NVMe SSDs: the first enterprise-class NVMe SSD in the WD Gold family. Industry analyst firm IDC expects NVMe unit shipments to reach more than 79 percent of the market by 2023. With advancements in multi-core, multi-threaded CPUs, legacy storage technology has become a bottleneck to maximum application performance.

Shipping in early cQ2 2020, the new WD Gold NVMe SSDs will be available in four capacities to channel partners and end customers. The WD Gold NVMe SSD is designed to be the primary storage in servers delivering superior response times, higher throughput and greater scale than existing SATA devices for enterprise applications. WD Gold NVMe SSDs complement recently launched WD Gold HDDs by providing a high-performance storage tier for applications and data sets that requires low latency or high throughput.

Western Digital Samples World's First 20TB SMR and 18TB CMR Hard Drives

Western Digital announced that it has started shipping the industry's highest-capacity HDD samples to enterprise OEMs and hyperscale customers worldwide. The 20 TB Ultrastar DC HC650 SMR HDDs and 18 TB Ultrastar DC HC550 CMR HDDs, first previewed in June 2019, and announced in September 2019, feature its first-ever commercial implementation of energy-assisted magnetic recording technology on a nine-disk platform, enabling customers to more efficiently provision and scale their data center environments with unmatched total cost of ownership.

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. The industry-leading capacities of Western Digital's Ultrastar 20 TB SMR and 18 TB CMR HelioSeal HDDs enable customers to deploy up to 22 percent fewer racks and reduce their TCO by up to 11 percent, along with the corresponding reductions in power consumption, cooling costs, and data center infrastructure needs when compared with today's 14 TB CMR HDDs.

Western Digital Announces Financial Results for First Quarter Fiscal Year 2020

Western Digital Corp. today reported revenue of $4.0 billion for its first fiscal quarter ended October 4, 2019. The operating loss was $129 million with a net loss of $276 million, or ($0.93) per share. Excluding certain non-GAAP adjustments, the company achieved non-GAAP operating income of $235 million and non-GAAP net income of $101 million, or $0.34 per share.

In the year-ago quarter, the company reported revenue of $5.0 billion, operating income of $686 million and net income of $511 million, or $1.71 per share. Non-GAAP operating income in the year-ago quarter was $1.1 billion and non-GAAP net income was $906 million, or $3.04 per share. The company's first fiscal quarter of 2020 was a 14-week fiscal quarter, compared to a 13-week fiscal quarter for the year-ago quarter.
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