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SanDisk Announces a 400GB UHS-I microSDXC Card

As mobile content and applications grow increasingly sophisticated, Western Digital Corporation is transforming the mobile experience with new industry-leading mobile solutions designed to enable consumers to better capture, share and enjoy rich content on their devices. At Mobile World Congress, the company is releasing the world's fastest UHS-I flash memory card, the 400GB SanDisk Extreme UHS-I microSDXC card, and demonstrating the future of flash memory card technology with Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe)-enabled cards, designed to deliver the performance required for the next wave of data and content-intensive applications.

Whether it's exploring a new world in an immersive virtual reality app, or capturing 4K footage on a smartphone or drone, consumers can count on Western Digital to deliver even more robust mobile flash memory technology that offers them a premium experience on their favorite device.

Backblaze Releases Hard Drive Stats for 2017, HGST Most Reliable

At the end of 2017 we had 93,240 spinning hard drives. Of that number, there were 1,935 boot drives and 91,305 data drives. This post looks at the hard drive statistics of the data drives we monitor. We'll review the stats for Q4 2017, all of 2017, and the lifetime statistics for all of the drives Backblaze has used in our cloud storage data centers since we started keeping track.

Hard Drive Reliability Statistics for Q4 2017
At the end of Q4 2017 Backblaze was monitoring 91,305 hard drives used to store data. For our evaluation we remove from consideration those drives which were used for testing purposes and those drive models for which we did not have at least 45 drives (read why after the chart). This leaves us with 91,243 hard drives. The table below is for the period of Q4 2017.

Western Digital Expands Mid-Range Enterprise Hard Drive Offerings

Known for enabling new levels of enterprise total cost of ownership (TCO) with HelioSeal helium hard drive technology and industry leading capacity drives, Western Digital Corporation is expanding its portfolio for enterprise customers with a new, mid-range series of 4 terabyte (TB), 6TB and 8TB air-based hard drives. The new products enable corporate data centers having data set sizes smaller than found in hyperscale environments to harness the power of data across a broad spectrum of Big Data applications such as analytics and distributed file systems.

Western Digital leads the high-capacity enterprise hard drive market for hyperscale and cloud environments with its 10TB, 12TB and 14TB drives, where the company's HelioSeal helium-sealing technology is required for the highest capacities and densities to deliver the lowest (or best) TCO. However, many applications have small data sets or benefit from optimal performance from implementation of a cluster of lower capacity, air-based hard drives. Many traditional data center systems still rely on moderate capacity points for RAID-based block-and-file systems.

WD Announces G-Technology G-Speed Shuttle Thunderbolt 3 DAS

Western Digital Corporation today introduced two new ultra-transportable solutions in its high-powered G-Technology G-SPEED Shuttle product family. The new solutions are designed to meet the demands of professional content creators who need lightning-fast transfer speed and a high-capacity storage solution that can easily be moved from the studio to wherever your project takes you, and back.

The rise of streaming video on demand (SVoD) services is providing many new opportunities for studios, production houses and independent filmmakers. To capitalize on these opportunities, the right tools are crucial. When working in-the-field, production teams need a fast solution that can handle demanding workflows of 4K and 8K content with the ability to collect that precious footage and quickly move the content from location to location.

Toshiba's Not-so-flashy CES Booth was Full of Flash

Toshiba throughout 2017 made big moves in the flash storage industry, particularly its bitter falling out with WD/SanDisk. The company today is more innovative than ever. Its 2018 International CES booth had a mix of products by the original Toshiba digital storage products division, and its client-focused, US-based, former OCZ division. The star-attraction isn't some big PCIe add-on card SSD that can push a dozen terabytes per second; but the modest RC100 M.2 NVMe drive. Drives like it could make NVMe storage affordable for upper-mainstream gaming PC builders throughout 2018.

The RC100 has been exhaustively detailed in one of our older articles. It's an M.2-2242 drive with PCIe gen 3.0 x2 interface, and more than triple the transfer rates of the fastest SATA SSD you can find. This drive will be gulped down by both the DIY and OEM markets. Next up, is the TR200 entry-level SATA SSD launched last October, targeted at those still clinging onto HDDs or first-time builders. It features Toshiba's 64-layer TLC NAND flash to achieve some of the lowest price-per-gigabyte ratios.

SanDisk Announces New Flash Storage Solutions

At today's Consumer Electronics Show 2018 (CES 2018), Western Digital unveiled new and breakthrough consumer solutions that address today's personal content explosion, including voice-activated media streaming via popular Smart Home devices, the world's smallest 1TB USB flash drive and a portfolio of ultra-mobile, high-performance, wireless and high-capacity flash storage products. Sold under the SanDisk and WD brands, these offerings ensure that personal experiences and memories can thrive for years to come.

Smartphones, drones, action cameras and virtual reality (VR) goggles are capturing and creating rich content that users want to access and share with friends and followers alike. Innovations in multi-lens cameras, 8K video, 5G wireless, VR, augmented reality (AR) and video streaming are enabling more immersive experiences. As a result, consumers are looking for easier ways to capture, preserve, access and share their personal content as it becomes richer and more robust.

Western Digital Ships "Someone's Backdoor" With My Cloud Drives

Western Digital has seemingly been shipping their My Cloud personal network attached storage solutions with an integrated backdoor. It's not really that complicated a backdoor either - a malicious user should always be able to use it. That stems from the fact that it's a hard coded backdoor with unchangeable credentials - logging in to someone's My Cloud is as simple as inputing "mydlinkBRionyg" as the Administrator username and "abc12345cba" as the respective password. Once logged in, shell access is unlocked, which allows for easy injection of commands.

The backdoor has been published by James Bercegay, with GulfTech Research and Development, and was disclosed to Western Digital on June 12th 2017. However, since more than 6 months have passed with no patch or solution having been deployed, the researchers disclosed and published the vulnerability, which should (should) finally prompt WD to action on fixing the issue. Making things even worse, no user action is required to enable attackers to take advantage of the exploit - simply visiting malicious websites can leave the drives wide open for exploit - and the outing of a Metasploit module for this very vulnerability means that the code is now out there, and Western Digital has a race in its hands. The thing is, it needn't have.

Toshiba and WD Reach Global Settlement and Agree to Strengthen Collaboration

Toshiba Corporation, Toshiba Memory Corporation, and Western Digital Corporation have entered into a global settlement agreement to resolve their ongoing disputes in litigation and arbitration, strengthen and extend their relationship, and enhance the mutual commitment to their ongoing flash memory collaboration.

As part of this agreement, TMC and Western Digital will participate jointly in future rounds of investment in Fab 6, the state-of-the-art memory fabrication facility now under construction at Yokkaichi, including the upcoming investment round announced by Toshiba in October 2017. Fab 6 will be entirely devoted to the mass production of BiCS FLASH, the next-generation of 3D flash memory, starting next year. TMC and Western Digital similarly intend to enter into definitive agreements in due course under which Western Digital will participate in the new flash wafer fabrication facility which will be constructed in Iwate, Japan.

The parties will strengthen their flash memory collaboration by extending the terms of their joint ventures. Flash Alliance will be extended to December 31, 2029 and Flash Forward to December 31, 2027. Flash Partners was previously extended to December 31, 2029.

Western Digital Announces "State of Object Storage" Survey

Western Digital today announced the results of its first annual "The Growing Role of Object Storage in Solving Unstructured Data Challenges" survey conducted in collaboration with 451 Research. Two hundred enterprise and service provider decision makers and influencers participated in the September 2017 survey, providing new and valuable insights into their unstructured data storage requirements, and their interest in adopting object storage.

The survey validated the ongoing explosion of unstructured data, with 63 percent of enterprises and service providers reporting that their storage capacities are at 50 petabytes (PB) or more, of which, more than half is unstructured data. Most service provider respondents reported growth rates in the 60 to 80 percent range, while enterprise customers hovered more toward 40 to 50 percent annual growth.

Next-generation applications that are driving the adoption of new unstructured data storage technologies, like object storage, include analytics and Internet of Things (IoT), as well as traditional applications, such as web and email that are outgrowing their traditional infrastructures. Increased use of rich media, instead of text data, including audio, video and non-text research and engineering data, are also primary drivers for this data growth.

WD Announces New Line of SanDisk 3D iNAND Embedded Flash Devices

Western Digital today introduced a new portfolio of advanced iNAND embedded flash drives (EFDs) to empower smartphone users to unlock the full potential of today's data-driven applications and experiences. Leveraging Western Digital's 64-layer 3D NAND technology and advanced UFS and e.MMC interface technologies, the intelligent, new iNAND 8521 and iNAND 7550 EFDs deliver outstanding data performance and high storage capacity.

When designed into smartphones and thin, lightweight computing devices, they accelerate the possibilities of a wide range of demanding data-centric applications, including augmented reality (AR), high resolution video capture and rich social media experiences, as well as emerging artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) experiences at the "edge." The volume, velocity, variety and value of data continues to exponentially grow and evolve across Big Data, Fast Data and personal data. Many consumers around the world will experience this confluence of data on their smartphone.

WDC Announces Successful Repricing of $2.963 Billion of USD Term B Loans

Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC) ("Western Digital" or the "company") today announced that it has successfully priced $2.963 billion of new U.S. dollar-denominated term B-3 loans at an interest rate of LIBOR + 2.00%, which priced 75 basis points lower than its previous term B-2 loans issued in March 2017.

This new financing marks the company's third successful repricing of U.S. dollar-denominated term B loans since issuing its original term B loans in connection with its acquisition of SanDisk Corporation in May 2016. In connection with this transaction, Western Digital settled the previous U.S. dollar-denominated term B-2 loans with the proceeds of this new loan. The new financing is expected to generate annual cash interest savings of approximately $22 million beginning on Nov. 8, 2017, resulting from the 75 basis point reduction in interest spread.

The new term loans have the same remaining tenor as the previous U.S. dollar-denominated term B loans and mature on April 29, 2023.

Seagate Ready with HAMR Technology Enabling 20TB HDDs by 2018

Hot on the heels of Western Digital's announcement of an MAMR breakthrough enabling 40 TB hard drives in the near future, rival Seagate announced a magnetic storage technology breakthrough of its own, dubbed HAMR (heat-assisted magnetic recording). This technology will enable the development of hard drives with over 20 terabytes (TB) unformatted capacity by the end of 2018, which is a faster ramp-up than WD's 2019 timeline for the first MAMR-based drives. The first Seagate HAMR-based HDDs will ship with capacities of 20 TB, with the company promising 40 TB drives by 2023, well ahead of the 2025 timeline for 40 TB drives promised by WD.

Seagate HAMR is a fundamentally different technology than Western Digital MAMR. While MAMR relies on a spin-torque oscillator to generate a microwave field that burns finer magnetized bits on the disk, thereby increasing areal densities to 40 Tb per square inch, Seagate HAMR uses an extremely fine laser to heat up the RW head, creating finer magnetized bits. The physical layer of each bit is heated and cooled within nanoseconds, and hence a HAMR RW head draws relatively lower amounts of power - up to 8W for a random-write operation (the most power-consuming operation for a drive). Seagate promises RW endurance of 2 PB.

Western Digital Announces Magnetic Storage Breakthrough Enabling 40TB HDDs

At its "Innovating to Fuel the Next Decade of Big Data" event today, Western Digital Corp. announced a breakthrough innovation for delivering ultra-high capacity hard disk drives (HDDs) to meet the future demands of Big Data with proven data center-level reliability. The event, held at the company's headquarters in Silicon Valley, included a demonstration of the world's first microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR) HDD and presentations from company executives and the inventor of MAMR technology, Professor Jimmy Zhu from Carnegie Mellon University. The company also showcased advancements in micro actuation and Damascene recording head technology. Western Digital expects to begin shipping ultra-high capacity MAMR HDDs in 2019 for use in data centers that support Big Data applications across a full range of industries.

"As the volume, velocity, variety, value and longevity of both Big Data and Fast Data grow, a new generation of storage technologies are needed to not only support ever-expanding capacities, but ultimately help our customers analyze and garner insights into our increasingly connected universe of data," said Mike Cordano, president and chief operating officer at Western Digital. "Our ground-breaking advancement in MAMR technology will enable Western Digital to address the future of high capacity storage by redefining the density potential of HDDs and introduce a new class of highly reliable, 'ultra-high capacity' drives. We have a proven track record for identifying, investing in and delivering advanced technologies that create new product categories and enable the world to realize the possibilities of data. Five years ago we introduced our HelioSeal, helium-filled drive technology. Since then, we have shipped more than 20 million helium drives. That type of leadership and innovation continues today and we aim to leverage it well into the future."

SanDisk Initiates New Arbitration Proceedings Against Toshiba In the ICC

Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) today announced that several of its SanDisk subsidiaries have filed an additional Request for Arbitration with the ICC International Court of Arbitration related to three NAND flash-memory joint ventures ("JVs") operated with Toshiba Corporation ("Toshiba").

On Aug. 3, 2017, Toshiba announced that it would unilaterally invest in manufacturing equipment for the Fab 6 clean room at the JV operations in Yokkaichi, Japan. The arbitration demand seeks, among other things, a permanent injunction preventing Toshiba from making unilateral investments in manufacturing equipment for Fab 6 without first giving SanDisk the opportunity to make a comparable investment in expansions and conversions of JV capacity for BiCS 3D NAND flash memory.

Western Digital commented: It is unfortunate that SanDisk is forced to initiate binding arbitration to remedy Toshiba's retaliatory breach of the JV agreement entered into by both SanDisk and Toshiba.

Western Digital Ships 12 TB WD Gold Hard Drives

Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC), a global data storage technology and solutions leader, has expanded its WD Gold hard drive lineup to include a 12 TB capacity model, designed to address demanding Big Data workloads. The new high-capacity hard drives provide for increased storage density in a range of enterprise and cloud storage applications. Whether data comes in the form of confidential consumer data, healthcare records or business intelligence, WD Gold hard drives provide a no-compromise storage solution that modern day IT managers need.

"As data growth continues unabated, retaining more of that data and generating meaningful insight from it becomes increasingly important," said Brendan Collins, vice president, Devices business unit, Western Digital. "Businesses that most effectively extract value from operational data are able to make smarter decisions, improve business outcomes and ultimately gain a competitive advantage."

WD Comments on Toshiba's Statement Regarding NAND Flash-Memory JV

Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) today commented on Toshiba Corporation's ("Toshiba") statement regarding the transfer of its interests in its NAND flash-memory joint ventures operated with Western Digital's SanDisk subsidiaries ("JVs"):

"We are disappointed that Toshiba would take this action despite Western Digital's tireless efforts to reach a resolution that is in the best interests of all stakeholders. Throughout our ongoing dialogue with Toshiba, we have been flexible, constructive and have submitted numerous proposals to specifically address Toshiba's stated concerns. Our goal has been - and remains - to reach a mutually beneficial outcome that satisfies the needs of Toshiba and its stakeholders, and most importantly, ensures the longevity and continued success of the JVs.

Furthermore, it is surprising that Toshiba would continue to pursue a transaction with a consortium led by Korea-based SK Hynix Inc. and Bain Capital Japan without SanDisk's consent, as the language in the relevant JV agreements is unambiguous, and multiple courts have ruled in favor of protecting SanDisk's contractual rights. We remain confident in our ability to protect our JV interests and consent rights."

Toshiba to Sell Memory Production Sector to WD-led Consortium for $18.3 billion

It's been an interesting time if you're an avid reader of memory-related news pieces. Between increasing prices, Toshiba's debacle and subsequent spin-off of their memory division, to Toshiba and Western Digital butting heads regarding acquisition of said spin-off, and today's news, little was left to thread. Now, reports are surfacing that place Western Digital's consortium as being the (as of yet unofficial) winner in the bid for Toshiba's partial spin-off of their memory division. The deal is being valued at $18.3 billion, Japanese news outlet Nikkan Kogyo says, with Toshiba planning to make a formal decision on Wednesday, with the signing of an agreement to come on Sept. 20.

Western Digital Looking Towards Apple for Additional Funds in Toshiba Bid

The partial spin-off of Toshiba's memory production business, which should see the company shed around 20% of its memory business production stake, still has a lot of water to run under the bridge. Reports said that Toshiba would be suing Western Digital, which Toshiba said tried to continuously interfere with the bidding process, it seems that Western Digital isn't looking to back down any time soon. Reuters is reporting that Western digital is now looking to Apple to bolster its bidding position by another 50 billion Yen (around $464 million) to increase the likelihood of acceptance.

Granted, that is somewhat of a fraction of Western Digital's $17 to $18 billion bid for the chip business, but any increased amount of investment is likely to only sway the decision towards WD, who has a joint venture with Toshiba towards furthering memory semiconductor technology. Even though Toshiba has already elected a preferred bidder, nothing is closed as of yet. That Western Digital is looking towards Apple is slightly surprising, but begins to look less so the more you think about it: Apple is one of the foremost buyers of memory semiconductors in the industry; pricing for both flash and DDR memory has seen price hikes in the past due to increased production of iPhones, after all. It's in Apple's best interests to have an amenable partner in the memory production business, which is why an Apple aid for Western Digital might turn out advantageous for the company. Toshiba executives, fearing that WD might be angling to eventually take over the chip business (which isn't unreasonable), are demanding that the U.S. company promise to limit the size of its stake in the company. Toshiba's board is now aiming to reach a final agreement with the consortium by Sept. 13.

Western Digital Updates My Book Duo Desktop Storage - Up to 20 TB

For some users, having three HDDs of differing capacities in their system isn't the right solution for achieving the storage space they need. Others don't want to have their files uploaded to the cloud, where security and access times to their files may become hindrances. Some people just like to have all their files offline, in a (somewhat) portable medium that achieves up to 360 MB/s sequential read speeds. Enter Western Digital's updated My Book Duo external desktop storage.

RAID-optimized WD Red hard drives (formatted NTFS out of the box) enable those read speeds, and capacities of 4 TB, 6 TB, 8 TB, 12 TB, 16 TB and 20 TB are available. Connectivity-wise, the My Book duo offers USB Type-C and Type-A, while security isn't left out the door, with built-in password protection and 256-bit AES hardware encryption with WD Security software. The unit measures 7.09 x 6.3 x 3.94 inches and weighs between 5.05 to 5.25 pounds depending on drive capacity. The My Book Duo is available now, with pricing at $259.99 for the 4 TB unit, and a maximum of $799.99 for the 20 TB model, all with a three-year warranty.

Western Digital Announces Four-Bits-Per-Cell (X4) Technology on 3D NAND

Western Digital Corp. today announced its successful development of four bits per cell, X4, flash memory architecture offering on 64-layer 3D NAND, BiCS3, technology. Building on its pioneering innovation of X4 for 2D NAND technology and past success in commercializing it, the company has now developed X4 for 3D NAND by leveraging its deep vertical integration capabilities. These include silicon wafer processing, device engineering to provide sixteen distinct data levels in every storage node, and system expertise for overall flash management. BiCS3 X4 technology delivers an industry-leading storage capacity of 768 gigabits on a single chip, a 50 percent increase from the prior 512 gigabit chip that was enabled with the three bits per cell (X3) architecture. Western Digital will showcase removable products and solid-state drives built with BiCS3 X4 and systems capabilities in August at the Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, California.

"The implementation of X4 architecture on BiCS3 is a significant development for Western Digital as it demonstrates our continued leadership in NAND flash technology, and it also enables us to offer an expanded choice of storage solutions for our customers," said Dr. Siva Sivaram, executive vice president, Memory Technology, Western Digital. "The most striking aspect in today's announcement is the use of innovative techniques in the X4 architecture that allows our BiCS3 X4 to deliver performance attributes comparable to those in BiCS3 X3. The narrowing of the performance gap between the X4 and X3 architectures is an important and differentiating capability for us, and it should help drive broader market acceptance of X4 technology over the next several years."

Toshiba and WD Power Struggle Continues - WD Bid for Toshiba's Business 6 Times

You must remember the ongoing house of horrors that is Toshiba's financial situation. Granted, it isn't that bad - the company is still managing to push the envelope on its semiconductor production business. Still, I'm sure the company would have liked to not be on the verge of selling out 20% of its memory business production stake - which is one of the company's most profitable divisions to begin with.

Western Digital Introduces 10 TB RED, RED PRO HDDs

Western Digital has introduced new models to its RED and RED PRO line-up of HDDs. The RED series is oriented more towards a NAS environment, though nothing is really stopping you from putting on of these into your system. These use the same HelioSeal technology that WD uses on their enterprise-class drives, which allows the company to increase the capacity of the RED and RED PRO drives by 25%.

The normal RED drive is built for systems with up to 8 drive bays, while the RED PRO is built for systems with up to 16 drive bays. The RED series is more silent, with an internal spindle speed of 5400RPM, while the RED PRO series comes with a 7200RPM speed. This means the PRO series is louder while operating, but also that is has better performance and faster data access times.

Western Digital SanDisk Subsidiaries Initiate Arbitration with Toshiba at ICC

Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ:WDC) today announced that several of its SanDisk subsidiaries have filed a Request for Arbitration with the ICC International Court of Arbitration related to three NAND flash-memory joint ventures ("the Flash JVs") operated with Toshiba Corporation ("Toshiba

The arbitration demand seeks among other things an order requiring Toshiba to unwind the transfer to Toshiba Memory, and injunctive relief preventing Toshiba from further breaching the Flash JV agreements by transferring its Flash JV interests, or any interest in an affiliate that holds its Flash JV interests, without SanDisk's consent. Per the provisions of the joint venture agreements, the arbitration will take place in San Francisco, California.

Western Digital chief executive officer Steve Milligan stated, "The Flash JVs have been operated with Toshiba for the past 17 years and have been highly successful for the JV partners and for Japan. We continue to be actively engaged in discussions with Toshiba's stakeholders to ensure that they are fully aware of our joint venture rights and of our desire to work with Toshiba to achieve a favorable outcome for all parties. We firmly believe that we provide Toshiba with the optimal solution to address its challenges, and that we are the best partner to advance its legacy of technology innovation in Japan."

HGST Ships Ultrastar He12 12TB Enterprise Hard Drives

Western Digital Corp. today announced that it has begun shipping its fourth-generation helium-based hard drive with its 12TB HGST-branded Ultrastar He12 hard drive. The Ultrastar He12 12TB hard drive is the next generation of the company's award-winning high capacity enterprise-class drive with HelioSeal technology, providing customers with a data storage solution addressing the expansive information management needs and demanding performance requirements of today's enterprise, cloud and hyperscale workloads.

"We have again raised the bar in enterprise storage with the industry's most advanced and cost-effective highest capacity helium HDD storage solutions," said Mark Grace, senior vice president of devices at Western Digital. "The Ultrastar He12 hard drive advances Western Digital's portfolio leveraging the HelioSeal platform to deliver industry-leading high capacity HDD storage with exceptional power efficiency. Western Digital has shipped over 15M helium-based high capacity drives to date and continues to support our customers with outstanding reliability and Quality of Service (QoS). Our industry-leading data center portfolio enables customers across the spectrum to meet their evolving and dynamic data center demand."

G-Technology Announces Thunderbolt 3 and USB Type-C Updates to its Product Lines

Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC), a global storage technology and solutions leader, today announced upgrades to its award-winning G-Technology product lines, including the addition of Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C connectivity technologies. The upgrades optimize the speed and performance of these drives, meeting the growing needs of creative professionals who are capturing and transferring vast amounts of high-resolution content.

"G-Technology recognizes the need for a complete workflow solution that takes advantage of the power of Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C," said Sven Rathjen, vice president of marketing, Client Solutions, Western Digital. "The result is a substantial upgrade across several product lines that delivers reliable, fast, and easy-to-use storage solutions to fit the current and future needs of our customers."
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