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Death By a Thousand Cuts: Toshiba to Sell Majority of its Semiconductor Business

Toshiba may not be dead in the water just yet, but news are dire for the company. After the company confirmed it was looking to spin-off its NAND production business so as to sell a minority, 20% stake for much-needed liquidity in the face of amounting debt and multiple management mistakes, reports now announce a much more aggressive stance from the company. It is now apparently looking to sell a majority stake (60%) on the spin-off, in the face of escalating costs and dwindling prospective chances.

WD Announces Pilot Production of World's First 64-Layer 512 Gb TLC NAND

Toshiba may be in the ropes for now, but WD, one of its foremost partners (mainly due to its SanDisk acquisition) and most interested party in Toshiba's NAND spin-off efforts, has just announced that it is world first in actually producing a 64-Layer 512 Gb TLC NAND die. WD is developing and producing this 64-layer NAND at its Yokkaichi, Japan fab which it operates alongside - you guessed it - Toshiba, under their joint Flash Forward venture, though there is no indication as to when the new dies will hit full production. The addition of the latest BiCS3 iteration indicates that, despite its recent challenges and snags, Toshiba continues to execute on its semiconductor roadmap, which is certain to be a boon in keeping the value of its NAND production capabilities in the face of the confirmed spin-off and sell-off of a 20% stake on its NAND production business.

There has been some difficulty in achieving any significant ramp-up in 3D NAND production over at the WD-Toshiba venture, with WD having announced a 256 Gb version of the same BiCS 3 technology it employs on the new 512 Gb die last year, to no considerable volume of production. That's one of the reasons for the current NAND shortage and price rises, among other factors, so let's hope all goes well in this ramp up. If all goes well, 1 TB SSD's with 512 Gb TLC NAND dies for $150?

Backblaze's 2016 HDD Failure Stats Revealed: HGST the Most Reliable

Backblaze has just revealed their HDD failure rates statistics, with updates regarding 2016's Q4 and full-year analysis. These 2016 results join the company's statistics, which started being collected and collated in April 2013, to shed some light on the most - and least reliable - manufacturers. A total of 1,225 drives failed in 2016, which means the drive failure rate for 2016 was just 1.95 percent, a improving over the 2.47 percent that died in 2015 and miles below the 6.39 percent that hit the garbage bin in 2014.

Organizing 2016's failure rates by drive size, independent of manufacturer, we see that 3 TB hard drives are the most reliable (with 1,40% failure rates), with 5 TB hard drives being the least reliable (at a 2,22% failure rate). When we organize the drives by manufacturer, HGST, which powers 34% (24,545) of the total drives (71,939), claims the reliability crown, with a measly 0,60% failure rate, and WDC bringing up the rear on reliability terms, with an average 3,88% failure rate, while simultaneously being one of the least represented manufacturers, with only 1,626 HDDs being used from the manufacturer.

Source: Backblaze

Toshiba to Spin-off NAND Production; WD to be Main Beneficiary

In an AMD-like move to generate more short-term liquidity so as to strengthen its somewhat precarious position, Toshiba may be moving towards one of the most interesting shakeups in the NAND production field: a possible spin-off of its NAND production business into a separate company.

This move to restructure comes in the wake of recent snags and strategic mistakes for the company - such as the $1.2 billion dollar accounting "misstated" earnings, which created difficulties for the company to refinance itself in the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Also not negligible was a gross miscalculation on the amount of debt of the CB&I Stone and Webster company that Toshiba acquired so as to facilitate its U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric nuclear plant subsidiary investment. This "miscalculation", where Toshiba considered the "goodwill" booking charges at $87 million, where recently restated as a roughly-defined "several billion U.S. dollars."

Western Digital Announces the WD Black PCIe SSD

Western Digital has announced the WD Black PCIe SSD, their first PCIe SSD for the consumer market. This particular SSD is aimed at the cheaper half of the M.2 PCIe SSD market rather than competing for the highest performance: it will be available in 256GB and 512GB capacities for $109 and $199.99 respectively, making it cheaper than any currently available M.2 PCIe SSD except the Intel 600p.

Western Digital Introduces New Enterprise-Class HDDs and SSDs: 12 TB & 14 TB

Western Digital Corp. today further expanded its data center SSD and HDD portfolio with the introduction of next-generation storage solutions designed to help IT managers address the intensive data and extreme performance demands of today's enterprise, cloud and hyperscale workloads.

The new solutions include the blazingly fast HGST-branded Ultrastar SN200 NVMe-compatible PCIe solid-state drive (SSD) series, which offers class-leading random read performance of up to 1.2 million IOPS in key workloads, and the company's fastest and highest capacity SAS SSD to date, the HGST-branded Ultrastar SS200 Series SSD. The company also introduced its fourth-generation helium-based HelioSeal enterprise-class hard disk drive (HDD), the 12TB HGST-branded Ultrastar He12 drive. Additionally, the company announced it will extend the He12 platform to 14TB, leveraging Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR).

Western Digital Offers Third Generation WD PiDrive Solution

WDLabs, a business growth incubator and accelerator of storage solutions leader Western Digital Corporation, today announced availability of the WD PiDrive Foundation Edition products, which combine microSD card and USB drive functionality with operating system installation software to provide the Raspberry Pi community an integrated and highly affordable storage system solution for fast project creation.

"It is similar to about 30 years ago when hard disk drives went mainstream in PCs - no more swapping floppy disks in and out to load the OS, applications and data," said Dave Chew, chief engineer, WDLabs. "This third generation WD PiDrive solution uses a USB HDD or USB Flash drive to run the OS and host multiple Raspberry Pi projects instead of having to do this on a collection of microSD cards. We have combined our technologies to work as a team."

Western Digital Announces the WD Blue and WD Green Consumer SSDs

Western Digital Corporation today announced WD Blue and WD Green solid state drives (SSDs), the first WD-branded SATA client SSDs. The new SSDs complement the company's industry leading family of hard drives for PCs and workstations, providing a full portfolio of WD storage devices for virtually any application.

The ultimate solution for building DIY PCs, extending the life of current PCs or upgrading existing storage, the WD Blue and WD Green SSDs boast near-maximum speed of SATA drives, best-in-class endurance and MTBF and WD Functional Integrity Testing (F.I.T.) Lab certification, resulting in quick boot times and increased program responsiveness. Consumers benefit from the combination of reliable storage with an industry-leading 1.75M hours MTTF, coupled with reduced power and less heat when compared to HDDs. Both include free, downloadable, WD SSD Dashboard software, which allows continuous performance and capacity monitoring. For consumers who are looking for instant-on responsiveness, durability, low power consumption, and ultra-thin, ultramobile form factors, the WD Blue and WD Green SSDs are the perfect options.

HGST Announces the Ultrastar SN150 PCIe NVMe SSD

Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) today announced that its popular HGST-branded Ultrastar SN150 PCI Express (PCIe) NVMe solid state drive (SSD) is now certified for use with VMware Virtual SAN and vSphere. Optimized for easy set-up, the Ultrastar SN150 SSD for VMWare environments reduces latency, and brings hyperscale-level performance and enhanced Quality of Service (QoS) time to virtualized servers and cloud storage. This can significantly lower the total cost of ownership of VMware storage environments over traditional storage architectures by reducing performance tuning and field support costs. In server-side environments where VMware virtualization management is utilized, the Ultrastar SN150 is an ideal option for data center managers building or deploying systems on VMware Virtual SAN or vSphere.

Part of Western Digital's HGST-branded Ultrastar data center storage solutions family, the certified Ultrastar SN150 is available in a low-profile, half-height, half-length (HHHL), add-in card form factor and is one of the first NVMe SSDs in the industry to utilize VMware's in-box NVMe driver. For data center administrators, this helps eliminate the hassle of time-consuming downloads and configurations, and allows faster deployment. The Ultrastar SN150 drive is available in capacities ranging from 1120GB1 to 3820GB and offers speeds which exceed Virtual SAN's highest performance class (Class F) specifications, enabling it to easily address the heaviest data workloads in a variety of virtualized server and storage configurations, including all-flash and hybrid configurations utilizing flash for caching and hard disk drives for storage capacity.

Western Digital Increases WD Gold Hard Drives Capacity by 25 Percent

Western Digital Corporation, a world leader in storage solutions, today announced a new, high-capacity configuration of up to 10TB for its award-winning WD Gold datacenter hard drives. Designed for modern enterprise storage systems, WD Gold 10 TB datacenter hard drives feature HelioSeal helium-technology for high capacity, power efficient storage for datacenter environments.

WD Gold datacenter hard drives are designed for a broad range of applications - including small- to medium-scale enterprise servers and storage, and rack-mount datacenter servers and storage enclosures. WD Gold 10 TB datacenter hard drives feature an optimized design over the existing WD Gold 8 TB drives that helps reduce TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of servers and storage systems through an 8 percent operating power reduction while delivering 25 percent more capacity. This benefits IT administrators challenged with keeping up with growing storage demands on limited budgets.

Western Digital Announces CFO Transition

Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) today announced the appointment of Mark Long to oversee the company's finance organization as executive vice president, finance, in addition to his role as chief strategy officer. Long will succeed Olivier Leonetti as chief financial officer on Sept. 1, 2016. Leonetti is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities but will continue as CFO through Sept. 1, 2016, reporting to CEO Steve Milligan, and will oversee the completion of the company's fiscal year-end reporting requirements. He will continue in an advisory role to the CEO through Oct. 1, 2016.

"The company is going through a strategic and organizational transformation with the integration of our HGST and WD subsidiaries as well as integrating the recently completed acquisition of SanDisk," said Milligan. "Although in the early stages, we are already seeing the benefits of these strategic steps. As we build on our strategy-driven focus in a tightly integrated manner, it is the right time to combine the strategy and finance organizations and Mark Long is the right leader of this integrated team, with his extensive experience in financial and strategic planning. Olivier Leonetti has made a tremendous contribution to Western Digital in nearly two years as CFO. He played a key role through the successful planning, financing and completion of the SanDisk acquisition. The company is grateful for his contribution and his continued stewardship of our finances through the fiscal year-end reporting process."

WD Announces the My Passport Wireless Pro and My Cloud Pro Series

Western Digital Corporation, a global storage technology and solutions leader, today introduced the WD Pro Series: My Passport Wireless Pro Wi-Fi mobile storage and My Cloud Pro Series network attached storage (NAS). Designed specifically for the creative community, the WD Pro Series enables seamless transfer of content between devices, with classic WD reliability and speed, regardless of whether users are on a remote shoot, in the studio or editing at home. The products use the My Cloud mobile app - the new version of the app will be launched with the My Passport Wireless Pro and My Cloud Pro Series and be compatible with the Adobe Creative Cloud. In addition, both the My Passport Wireless Pro and My Cloud Pro Series devices are also compatible with the Plex Media Server and My Cloud OS 3 software for easy editing, streaming and sharing of content.

"Portability, reliability, capacity, speed and interoperability are crucial for creative professionals, whose very livelihoods rely on the strength of the technology they use to store their life's work," said Sven Rathjen, vice president of marketing for content solutions at WD. "We created the WD Pro Series as a comprehensive, feature-rich storage solution designed to fit seamlessly into their workflow, regardless of where the work actually happens, so storage, transfer, back-up, editing and even streaming options are readily available."

Western Digital Announces the WD Gold Hard Drives

Western Digital Corporation, a world leader in storage solutions, today announced the expansion of its award-winning color portfolio with a new line; WD Gold datacenter hard drives. WD Gold datacenter hard drives are designed for a broad range of applications - including small- to medium-scale enterprise servers and storage, and rack-mount datacenter servers and storage enclosures. WD Gold drives are currently available at select U.S. distributors, resellers and through the WD Store.

With purpose-driven designs for the datacenter, WD Gold datacenter hard drives are launching with a new, high-capacity configuration of up to 8TB that offers HelioSeal helium-technology for performance, ideal capacity per square foot, power efficiency and low power consumption for datacenter environments. WD Gold datacenter hard drives feature an optimized design with an 8TB option that helps reduce the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of servers and storage systems, benefiting IT administrators challenged with growing storage capacity needs on limited budgets. WD Gold hard drives will also include a premium dedicated support line for customers worldwide.

Western Digital Expands its Hard Drives and External Storage Solutions to 8TB

Western Digital Corporation, a world leader in storage solutions, today announced the expansion of its award-winning portfolio of performance storage solutions with 8 TB capacity drives for NAS, video surveillance and desktop external applications. Increasingly centralized, rich-content, which continues to grow in popularity among enterprises, small business and consumers alike, is driving demand for greater storage capacities.

Launching throughout the first half of 2016, My Cloud personal storage devices (My Cloud, My Cloud Mirror, My Cloud EX2 Ultra), My Book external hard drives (My Book, My Book for Mac, My Book Duo and My Book Pro), WD Red, WD Red Pro and WD Purple hard drives will all be designed with the new high-capacity configuration. Each storage solution offers purpose-driven engineering and HelioSeal helium-technology with the new 8 TB drives for maximum and efficient performance in the applications for which each model is designed.

Western Digital Announces the My Cloud EX2 Ultra NAS

Western Digital Corporation, a world leader in connected storage solutions, today updated its prosumer solutions with My Cloud EX2 Ultra, a high-performance, two-bay network attached storage (NAS) system. The My Cloud EX2 Ultra NAS is designed from the ground up for creative professionals and prosumers that need to automatically sync content across computers, easily share files and folders and enjoy multiple backup options so they can create their own personalized digital library with ease.

"We know our My Cloud users, especially creative professionals, need comprehensive solutions as digital storage needs continue to soar as well as the need for ongoing streaming capability," said Jim Welsh, executive vice president, WD Branded Products. "With the My Cloud EX2 Ultra, creative professionals are able to combine high performance with multi-tasking optimization and data protection to create a NAS system that simplifies their workflow and provides peace-of-mind."

Seagate Hit with Class Action Lawsuit over High HDD Failure Rates

Hard drive major Seagate has been hit with a class action lawsuit, accusing it of abnormally high failure rates for its 1.5 TB and 3 TB internal and external/portable hard drives. It also accuses the company of false claims over "reliability" and "dependability" in its marketing.

The lawsuit cites data aggregated by cloud solutions company Backblaze. According to this data, a 3 TB Seagate hard drive is three times as likely to fail, as a Western Digital (WD) 3 TB hard drive. It's also ten times as likely to fail as a Hitachi drive. The data appears to look at percentage failure rate, and not raw failed drive volumes, so market-share and volumes shipped by each company is not relevant. Seagate is yet to respond to the lawsuit.

Source: OC3D

Western Digital Announces Financial Results For Second Quarter Fiscal 2016

Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) today reported revenue of $3.3 billion and net income of $251 million, or $1.07 per share, for its second fiscal quarter ended Jan. 1, 2016. On a non-GAAP basis, net income was $374 million, or $1.60 per share. In the year-ago quarter, the company reported revenue of $3.9 billion and net income of $438 million, or $1.84 per share. Non-GAAP net income in the year-ago quarter was $539 million, or $2.26 per share.

The company generated $598 million in cash from operations during the second fiscal quarter, ending with total cash and cash equivalents of $5.4 billion. On Nov. 3, 2015 the company declared a cash dividend of $0.50 per share of its common stock, which was paid on Jan. 15, 2016.

"We continue to execute well as we manage our business within an increasingly challenging global economic environment," said Steve Milligan, chief executive officer. "Despite a lower-than-expected hard drive total available market, we reported revenue and EPS within our guidance range, with non-GAAP gross margin of 28.5 percent. We also had strong free cash flow performance of $449 million. Our storage shipments for the December quarter grew to 69.1 exabytes."

TechPowerUp News: WD Buys SanDisk, a Mighty Gaming AIO, and SilverStone RVX01

In this week's TechPowerUp News - WD's whopping $19 billion acquisition of NAND flash major SanDisk and what it could mean for both brands, MSI's insanely powerful all-in-one gaming desktop; and a fully-integrated NUC desktop by Intel following three generations of the revolutionary platform. Also, an exclusive sneak peek at SilverStone's Raven RVX01 mid-tower case!


WD Announces My Book Pro External Storage Solution

WD, a Western Digital company, today introduced the My Book Pro storage device, providing professionals and enthusiasts who must efficiently manage large amounts of digital content with up to 435 MB/s transfer rates on WD's fastest external storage solution yet.

With capacity options including 6 TB, 8 TB, 10 TB and 12 TB, the power of two 7200 RPM WD drives with Intel's Thunderbolt 2 technology and a hot-swappable hardware RAID controller, the My Book Pro device enables creative professionals and enthusiasts alike to focus on what they love doing by significantly cutting the time to transfer large videos, photos and audio files.

WD to Bundle Milestone Arcus Surveillance Software with My Cloud NAS

WD, a Western Digital company and a worldwide leader in storage solutions, and Milestone Systems, the security industry leader in video management software, announced today a partnership to deliver video surveillance solutions to businesses and consumers. The two companies will demonstrate these solutions at IFA Berlin, booth No. 103, Hall 11.2, Sept. 4 to 9; and at ASIS International, Anaheim, Calif., booth No. 3222, Sept. 28 to Oct. 1.

Milestone Arcus Surveillance software will be available on WD's My Cloud Business Series network-attached storage (NAS) systems with the new My Cloud OS 3 operating system beginning this month; and is expected to be available on other My Cloud systems, such as the My Cloud Expert Series, in the future.

Western Digital Also Announces WD Red Pro 6 TB Hard Drive for NAS

WD, a Western Digital company, and world leader in storage solutions, today announced the expansion of its award-winning WD Red Pro hard drive line with the release of 5 TB and 6 TB capacities. The WD Red Pro family is ideal for NAS (network attached storage) systems having up to 16 drive bays and serving businesses with more expansive storage needs than the standard WD Red drives.

Shipping now, WD Red Pro 5 and 6 TB drives leverage an enhanced design and 128 MB cache to deliver data transfer rates of 214 megabytes per second (MB/s). WD's NASware 3.0 features technology promoting data protection, high NAS performance and reliable integration. "WD is providing customers a full portfolio of high capacity NAS storage solutions (WD Red and WD Red Pro) for home, consumer and business NAS solutions," said Cindi Grace, senior vice president of WD storage technology group. "With the capacity expansion, there is now a path for customers to increase the storage density of their systems while knowing their data is protected with the most trusted and valued brand on the market."

Western Digital Announces WD Black 6 TB Hard Drive

WD, a Western Digital company and a world leader in hard drives, today announced the expansion of its award-winning WD Black line of performance hard drives up to 6 TB capacity. Shipping now, the 3.5-inch, 7200 RPM drive is the perfect solution for gamers and professionals in need of high-performance desktop systems and workstations.

WD Black hard drives combine 7200 RPM spin speed, 128 MB cache, dual stage actuator technology, SATA 6 gigabits per second (Gb/s) interface, and an integrated dual processor to deliver ultimate performance in a maximum-capacity drive. The WD Black 6TB is up to 29% faster than the previous WD Black 4TB version in maximum data rate throughput and 10% faster in PCMark Vantage.

WD Delivers Ultra HD Movie Content For New Generation Of Samsung TVs

WD, a Western Digital company, and world leader in storage solutions, today announced the new My Passport Cinema 4K Ultra HD (UHD) movie storage device, an easier and faster way to organize, store and enjoy high-definition digital movies and TV shows - including new releases in up to full 4K UHD resolution with high dynamic range (HDR) - on Samsung SUHD TVs and other VIDITY-enabled devices.

The new My Passport Cinema drive utilizes VIDITY technology to allow users to experience movies in crystal-clear, true 4K UHD picture and immersive audio. Users are able to enjoy 8.3 million pixels of stunning entertainment in minutes by simply plugging in the My Passport Cinema drive into a VIDITY-compatible UHD TV or device and purchasing preloaded1 movies from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Once purchased on the My Passport Cinema drive, the movie can be accessed immediately online or offline on any VIDITY-enabled device such as Samsung's 2014 HU series 4K UHD TVs and 2015 JU and JS series 4K UHD and SUHD TVs. Users also can download additional titles via M-GO or other VIDITY retailers.

HGST Delivers World's First 10TB Enterprise HDD for Active Archive Applications

Helping the world harness the power of data, HGST, a Western Digital company (NASDAQ: WDC) today announced the first enterprise-class 10TB (terabyte) hard disk drive (HDD) for next-generation active archive applications. The host-managed Ultrastar Archive Ha10 SMR HDD sets a new standard in enabling the world's densest server and storage systems with unprecedented TCO levels. This industry-defining product is the result of combining two complementary technologies - HGST's second generation, field-proven HelioSeal platform and shingled magnetic recording (SMR) - to deliver unmatched storage density and power efficiency, without compromising reliability and performance predictability. With an industry-leading 10TB capacity, the Ultrastar Archive Ha10 gives customers a time-to-market capacity advantage for archival environments and applications where data is sequentially written and randomly read, such as social media, cloud storage, online backup, life sciences as well as media and entertainment.

HGST recognizes SMR as core technology necessary in driving areal density increases. By overlapping or "shingling" the data tracks on top of each other, higher areal density can be achieved within the same physical footprint. Based on feedback from customers whose data center environments demand predictable performance and control of how data is handled, HGST has implemented a host-managed SMR solution. The sequential write behavior of host-managed SMR complements active archive workloads.
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