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Western Digital Enters In-Memory Computing Segment with Ultrastar Memory Drive

Western Digital Corporation, a data infrastructure leader, today announced it is extending the breadth and depth of its data center portfolio into the rapidly evolving in-memory computing market segment. The new Ultrastar DC ME200 Memory Extension Drive is the company's first product that enables customers to better optimize in-memory system capacity/performance for running demanding applications that drive today's real-time analytics and business insights.

"Today's requirement for faster analytics, data processing, cloud services and high-performance computing (HPC) is increasing demand for in-memory computing across a variety of industries, including healthcare, telecommunications and IT, and retail," said Ashish Nadkarni, group vice president, IDC. "By expanding in-memory capacity, the Ultrastar memory drive helps alleviate the high cost of adding extra DRAM, as well as addresses the physical limitations of available DIMM slots, where scaling is either cost-prohibitive or nearly impossible."

Western Digital Announces Financial Results for First Quarter Fiscal Year 2019

Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) today reported revenue of $5.0 billion for its first fiscal quarter ended Sept. 28, 2018. Operating income was $686 million with net income of $511 million, or $1.71 per share. Excluding certain non-GAAP adjustments, the company achieved non-GAAP operating income of $1.1 billion and non-GAAP net income of $906 million, or $3.04 per share.

In the year-ago quarter, the company reported revenue of $5.2 billion, operating income of $905 million and net income of $681 million, or $2.23 per share. Non-GAAP operating income in the year-ago quarter was $1.4 billion and non-GAAP net income was $1.1 billion, or $3.56 per share.

The company generated $705 million in cash from operations during the first fiscal quarter of 2019, ending with $4.8 billion of total cash, cash equivalents and available-for-sale securities. The company returned $711 million to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends. On Aug. 1, 2018, the company declared a cash dividend of $0.50 per share of its common stock, which was paid to shareholders on Oct. 15, 2018.

Western Digital Expands Surveillance Storage and Analytics Portfolio

Western Digital Corp. today expanded its portfolio of data storage devices purpose-built for the modern surveillance market, introducing three new offerings: the industry's first industrial-grade 3D NAND UFS embedded flash drive (EFD) for surveillance; an expanded WD Purple microSD card series to support up to 256 GB capacity; and Western Digital Device Analytics, the new device analytics technology enabling OEMs and system integrators to proactively manage their storage subsystems and maintain optimal operation.

The new devices and tools address the complex and dynamic data demands of a surveillance market in transformation, supporting the high performance, capacity and endurance required by networked and artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled camera systems, as well as other smart video devices operating at the edge.

"As the adoption of higher resolution and AI-enabled cameras expands, and traditional centralized surveillance video systems become more distributed, fast and reliable storage with higher capacities are essential for enabling surveillance devices to capture, analyze and transform greater amounts of data, locally, and in real-time," said Oded Sagee, senior director, product marketing, Western Digital. "With the new devices and analytics capability introduced today, we are excited to enable the new era of smart video and AI-driven surveillance systems with the industry's most comprehensive offering for surveillance, from the edge to the core."

Backblaze Releases Hard Drive Stats for Q3 2018: Less is More

As of September 30, 2018 Backblaze had 99,636 spinning hard drives. Of that number, there were 1,866 boot drives and 97,770 data drives. This review looks at the quarterly and lifetime statistics for the data drive models in operation in our data centers. In addition, we'll say goodbye to the last of our 3TB drives, hello to our new 12TB HGST drives, and we'll explain how we have 584 fewer drives than last quarter, but have added over 40 petabytes of storage.

Hard Drive Reliability Statistics for Q3 2018
At the end of Q3 2018, Backblaze was monitoring 97,770 hard drives used to store 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 45 drives (see why below). This leaves us with 97,600 hard drives. The table below covers what happened in Q3 2018.

Toshiba Memory and Western Digital Celebrate the Opening of Fab 6

Toshiba Memory Corporation and Western Digital Corporation today celebrated the opening of a new state-of-the-art semiconductor fabrication facility, Fab 6, and the Memory R&D Center, at Yokkaichi operations in Mie Prefecture, Japan. Toshiba Memory started construction of Fab 6, a dedicated 3D flash memory fabrication facility, in February 2017. Toshiba Memory and Western Digital have installed cutting-edge manufacturing equipment for key production processes including deposition and etching. Mass production of 96-layer 3D flash memory utilizing the new fab began earlier this month.

Demand for 3D flash memory is growing for enterprise servers, data centers and smartphones, and is expected to continue to expand in the years ahead. Further investments to expand its production will be made in line with market trends. The Memory R&D Center, located adjacent to Fab 6, began operations in March of this year, and will explore and promote advances in the development of 3D flash memory. Toshiba Memory and Western Digital will continue to cultivate and extend their leadership in the memory business by actively developing initiatives aimed at strengthening competitiveness, advancing joint development of 3D flash memory, and making capital investments according to market trends.

Western Digital Shuts Down Hard Drive Factory - Just not Enough Demand

With the advent of solid-state storage in pretty much every device you can think of, demand for mechanical HDDs has gone down, because users prefer fast and compact SSD storage over the mechanical dinosaurs. HDD manufacturers have been trying to stop the inevitable by coming out with new technologies to increase capacity - faster than SSD pricing can drop, but it seems they can't prevent the inevitable.

Now The Register UK reports that Western Digital will close its HDD factory near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This is one of the company's first factories, operating since 1973. After the shutdown of the Malaysia plant, WD will be left with only two factories in Thailand, and is now trying to gain more share in the SSD market.

Western Digital Expands Purple Line of HDDs with 12TB Model

To help enable the surveillance industry's evolution to increasingly higher resolution cameras and new applications requiring real-time edge analytics, Western Digital Corporation has expanded its surveillance portfolio with the introduction of the industry's highest capacity, deep-learning-capable, surveillance-class drive, Western Digital Purple 12TB drive with exclusive AllFrame AI technology. The newest addition to Western Digital's surveillance portfolio creates new possibilities in video surveillance by supporting the capture of multiple high resolution video streams while simultaneously accessing recorded video to support deep learning and analytics. This capability is purpose-built for emerging DVR and NVR systems with Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities in that it supports real-time detection of AI-triggered events at the point of capture with continuous background learning.

According to IDC, the amount of big data exabytes generated by surveillance solutions is expected to grow by 25 percent per year through 20211. This growth is driven by the installation of more complex cameras with vastly improved resolutions, increasingly intelligent applications and overall expanding use of video for analytics globally. Traditional video surveillance systems detect moving subjects without providing detailed analysis. New systems enable additional functions such as real-time edge analytics to better detect objects and reduce false triggers. Objects such as animals, leaves, and even light can cause false alarms. AI-enabled systems not only detect the moving targets, but can analyze them to help determine if they are a potential threat.

Western Digital's 14 TB HDD Qualified by Huawei for Big Data Applications

As a leader in enterprise-capacity hard disk drives (HDDs) and the inventor of helium HDD technology, Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC) today announced that Huawei has qualified its host-managed shingled magnetic recording (SMR) helium-based HDD, the Ultrastar Hs14 - the industry's first 14TB HDD designed for demanding big data applications. An early adopter of Western Digital's SMR HDDs, Huawei is breaking new ground by optimizing its distributed cloud storage OceanStor 9000 system for the sequential nature of data capture in video surveillance applications. Seeing the value in enabling significant TCO improvements, Huawei has made considerable investments in the integration of Western Digital's SMR HelioSeal HDDs, which deliver unsurpassed density, power efficiency and reliability.

Western Digital Announces New Ultrastar DC HC530 14TB Hard Drive

Enabling new lower levels of total cost of ownership (TCO) for cloud and enterprise customers, Western Digital Corporation today introduced the Ultrastar DC HC530 hard drive - at 14TB, no other CMR (conventional magnetic recording) hard drive in the industry offers a higher capacity. The breadth and depth of big data is driving the universal need for higher capacities across a broad spectrum of applications and workloads. Built on Western Digital's fifth-generation HelioSeal technology, the Ultrastar DC HC530 drive is designed for public and private cloud environments where storage density, watt/TB and $/TB are critical parameters for creating the most cost-efficient infrastructure.

The data explosion caused by big data, IoT, artificial intelligence, machine learning, rich content and fast data applications is challenging hyperscale cloud data centers and enterprises to efficiently build massive petabyte-scale infrastructures. This ability to cost-effectively scale-up or scale-out is business critical, not only for cloud service providers but for organizations leveraging big data analytics and machine learning in medical, science, agriculture and other fields seeking innovation, discoveries and unique insights, as well as for creating new business models.

Western Digital Introduces WD Purple microSD Card

As the adoption of 4K Ultra HD video, emerging artificial intelligence (AI) applications and analytics drive the rapid growth and evolution of data in surveillance, Western Digital Corp. today unveiled the Western Digital Purple microSD card, purpose-built for the complex and dynamic data demands of modern surveillance cameras and edge systems.

Whether it's a business employing surveillance video to keep their assets secure or a retailer utilizing surveillance to accurately analyze shopping behavior through video facial recognition, capturing and assessing every moment is critical. Optimized for 24/7 surveillance video capture, surveillance system operators can count on the robust Western Digital Purple microSD card to support a continuous surveillance workload. With its outstanding performance, the card captures and preserves video in a variety of high-definition and next-generation formats, including 4K Ultra HD video, as well as nimbly supports the movement of data to core data systems for analytics and fast business insights. The rugged and humidity-resistant design of this new card enables trusted video capture in a wide range of environmental conditions, including outdoors in snowy winters and indoors in hot and humid factory settings.

Western Digital Launches Three New G-Technology Thunderbolt 3 SSD Solutions

Western Digital Corporation is meeting the escalating fast-transfer and high-capacity demands of professional content creators by enabling real-time 4K and 8K workflows with three new professional-grade ultra-fast solutions in its powerful G-Technology G-DRIVE and G-SPEED Shuttle product families.

Working with large 4K and 8K RAW video means massive file sizes and is undoubtedly one of the largest pain points for content editors. With new cameras capable of capturing over 400 MB/s of RAW data, there is an opportunity for content professionals to create incredibly high-resolution footage and ever-more immersive viewer experiences. It is not uncommon for a production crew to be on-location for two or three months recording three to four terabytes per day of footage from multiple cameras. With this expansion of data capture, comes a potential bottleneck in maintaining a real-time workflow on location - until now.

Western Digital Introduces New Black 3D NVMe SSD

PC gaming is increasingly immersive, with richer and more intense visual content than ever before, and gamers are faced with making technology choices to maximize their experience. To push leading-edge performance, lower power consumption and extended durability for PC gaming systems, Western Digital Corporation today introduced a high-performance Western Digital Black 3D NVMe SSD featuring the company's own SSD architecture and controller. The drive accelerates data for PC applications to enable users to quickly, access, engage and capture today's high-resolution video, audio and gaming content.

With growing demand for rich content, PCs must have the capability to run intensive applications and enable the 4K/Ultra HD graphics and video content experiences. To move this immense amount of data quickly and seamlessly, Western Digital developed a new breed of SSDs to help remove the traditional storage bottleneck. This M.2 drive features a new NVMe architecture and controller, which optimally integrates with Western Digital 3D NAND. Western Digital's new vertically integrated SSD platform was engineered from the ground up, specifically architected to help maximize performance for NVMe SSDs, with advanced power management, durability and endurance for the growing range of applications benefiting from NVMe technology.

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

Overview
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."
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