As operators of cloud datacenters need more storage capacity, higher capacity HDDs are being developed. As data hoarders need more capacity, higher capacity HDDs are needed. Last week Western Digital introduced its new Utrastar DC HC650 20 TB drives - hitting a new barrier in rotating data. 

The drives feature shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technology, which layers data on top of another much like a shingled roof, and therefore is designed primarily for write once read many (WORM) applications (e.g., content delivery services). Western Digital’s SMR hard drives are host managed, so they will be available only to customers with appropriate software.

Western Digital’s Utrastar DC HC650 20 TB is based on the company’s all-new nine-platter helium-sealed enterprise-class platform, a first for the company. The new 3.5-inch hard drives feature a 7200 RPM spindle speed and will be available with a SATA 6 Gbps or SAS 12 Gbps interface depending on the SKU. Since the product is not expected to be available immediately, the manufacturer does not disclose all of its specifications just yet, but has stated that key customers are already in the loop.

Featuring a very high per-platter capacity of around 2.2 GB, the Utrastar DC HC650 20 TB HDDs offer a higher sequential read performance than its predecessors, but its read IOPS per TB performance is lower than that of older HDDs. That said, Western Digital’s clients who will use the 20 TB SMR HDDs will need to mitigate two things: manage physical limitations of SMR by maximizing sequential writes (and minimizing random writes) as well as take into account lower IOPS per TB performance to minimize impact on their QoS.

As far as availability is concerned, the 20 TB version of the Ultrastar DC HC650 SMR drives will be available as samples by the end of the year. Actual shipments will start once the drives are qualified by customers. Because the HDDs will be available to select customers only, Western Digital does not publish per-unit pricing.

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Source: Western Digital

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  • Soda - Wednesday, September 18, 2019 - link

    I remember my Amiga600HD with 20MB HD. The readspeed was on par with an IBM-compatible floppy-disk drive.. Yup. pretty slow but I was able to play games like Agony, The Secret of Monkey Island 1+2 and Heart of China from it so I was happy.
  • Tunnah - Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - link

    This drive is 1000x bigger than the first one I ever got some 20-odd years ago. That is just nuts.
  • Slash3 - Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - link

    One million times larger than my first 20MB Seagate, which was itself was a great upgrade vs my first system, a dual floppy drive (only) Apple ][.

    And yet, still somehow never large enough. :)
  • Slash3 - Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - link

    (Ignore my extraneous "was," plz k thx)
  • johnnycanadian - Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - link

    5MB Rana here, connected to an Apple ][+ for BBS use, circa 1981? You could kill a man with that massive piece of steel.
  • Bulat Ziganshin - Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - link

    my first had 105 bytes of memory and I had to reenter program on each power on. I won!
  • 29a - Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - link

    Your hard drive?
  • mode_13h - Saturday, September 14, 2019 - link

    No, he means core memory, probably. Some old DEC engineers I worked with used to regale us young'ns of times when they had to enter diag programs via front-panel switches. The best of them supposedly knew the programs by heart, after entering them so many times. But, I'm guessing those machines had a fair bit more than 105 bytes of RAM.
  • mode_13h - Saturday, September 14, 2019 - link

    And that 20 MB sure beat floppies, or dare I say punch cards, eh?
  • Kjella - Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - link

    Your first drive is 1000x bigger than my first one from the 80s. Though my dad got us all beat, he was checking individual bits on vacuum tubes. Mom was punching punch cards. Though I think every generation has their "Wait, you don't need candles or lamp oil you just flip a switch and have light?" or "What do you mean there's no horse it just runs by itself?" moments to mess with our heads. Once you grow up with it that's just the way it is.

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