Western Digital is announcing today that it has begun volume shipments of its 24 TB hard drives based on conventional magnetic recording (CMR) to its full customer base. In addition, the company started to ramp up production of its 28 TB HDDs featuring shingled magnetic recording (SMR) that will be used by select customers.

The new lineup of 3.5-inch 7200 RPM hard drives includes Western Digital's Ultrastar DC HC580 24 TB and WD Gold 24 TB HDDs, which are based on the company's energy-assisted perpendicular magnetic recording (ePMR) technology. Both of these drives are further enhanced with OptiNAND to improve performance by storing repeatable runout (RRO) metadata on NAND memory (instead of on disks) and improve reliability.

The company is also preparing their Ultrastar DC HC680 SMR 28 TB hard drive, which relies on shingled ePMR and OptiNAND.

When it comes to performance, the new hard drives are a tad faster than predecessors due to higher areal density. Meanwhile, per-TB power efficiency of Western Digital's 24 TB and 28 TB HDDs is around 10% - 12% higher than that of 22 TB and 26 TB drives, respectively, due to higher capacity and more or less the same power consumption. For CSPs and hyperscalers, the main value advantage of the new 24 TB drives is their higher capacity, which enables up to 612 TB of raw storage per rack using 102-bay 4U chassis.

All three models feature 10 platters and largely re-use the company's current enterprise-grade platform for multi-drive environments, which was introduced over a year ago. The platform traditionally features a top and bottom attached motor as well as RV sensors to ensure consistent performance in vibrating multi-HDD chassis. The latest Ultrastar HDDs are generally being aimed at cloud service providers, hyperscalers, and large enterprises, whereas WD Gold are going primarily to VARs, enterprises, enterprise-grade NAS, and small businesses that need to store loads of data.

Western Digital is shipping WD Gold 24 TB hard drives through their distribution channel, so expect them to hit the market shortly. The Ultrastar DC HC680 and HC580 HDDs are now in the qualification phase with select CSPs, hyperscalers, and OEMs. They are also available for enterprises that deploy these devices internally. It looks like WD is just shipping the SATA versions of these drives initially, as the company is separating noting that that the SAS versions of the Ultrastar DC HC680 and HC580 HDD will be available in the first quarter of 2024.

"With these new offerings, Western Digital is once again proving that hard drives are not just keeping pace, they are forging a path forward, ensuring that data-intensive applications of today and tomorrow have a strong foundation to build on while the industry prepares for HAMR," said Ed Burns, research director of HDD and storage technologies at IDC. "We are seeing strong momentum for Western Digital’s SMR HDDs and believe that SMR adoption will continue to grow as their new 28TB SMR HDD offers the next compelling TCO value proposition that cloud customers cannot ignore."

Source: Western Digital

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  • Squeaky'21 - Tuesday, November 21, 2023 - link

    Thanks for the response, interesting reading. I also just now found an article that answers my question above - seems CMR has a good bit of life left yet with ePMR (CMR), as follows:-
    "Western Digital's roadmap includes the 2nd Generation ePMR 2 platform, which allows for areal densities over 1.3 Tb/inch2 (an 18% over ePMR). Such areal density will enable the company to build 3.5-inch platters with a capacity of over 3.5 TB. Thus Western Digital will be able to offer HDDs with a ~36 TB capacity featuring 10 of such disks in the coming quarters. Meanwhile, the company says this technology will be used for CMR HDDs with 24 TB – 30+ TB capacity points".
  • bigboxes - Sunday, November 19, 2023 - link

  • Pjotr - Tuesday, November 21, 2023 - link

    Ok, I'll bite and Google duckduckgo it for you...
    "Optinand What happens when the power fails?" -> click first link that popped up: https://blog.westerndigital.com/optinand/ quote from page:

    “"When we have non-volatile cache available, we have enough energy in the drive to take the data and write it to the NAND before any data is lost,” Boyle said. “When write-cache is disabled, we can leave it in DRAM knowing that if power is lost, we can make it safe.”

    Say, for whatever reason, power is cut off during the write process on a large data batch. The System-on-a-Chip (SoC) of an OptiNAND drive — in under a second — will use the rotational power generated by the already spinning disks inside the drive to power internal capacitors until any cached data transfers to non-volatile NAND. Previously, without an iNAND component, that data would potentially be lost."
  • ballsystemlord - Thursday, November 16, 2023 - link

    It's interesting that they chose to release the SATA versions first. Normally, they first release the SAS versions to select customers.
  • Samus - Friday, November 17, 2023 - link

    Not that this matters to enterprise, but it's a boon for repurposing the drives when they are retired on the second-hand market. Half of my drives are WD DC drives purchased used with fairly low hours (usually around 20,000 - 2 years) and they have always been reliable. One was considerably noisy and I replaced it with an 'equivalent' WD Black, same 8TB capacity and everything, thinking the drive might have an issue, and the WD Black was also noisy. Something with that generation\model\capacity, as the 6TB is quiet. I have a 10TB DC and 14TB DC as well, both for torrent seeding, and a Seagate EXOS 2X18 (that's the model) 18TB DELL EMC whitelabel for storing my um, 'media.'

    It's fortunate all of these drives are SATA otherwise I wouldn't go out of my way getting a SAS controller to use them. I don't need more than 4 drives and don't run RAID, so SAS would just add expense I don't need.

    Everything is backed up with backblaze for $80\year...at least until their new rates kick in. I worry I am one of the people causing them to hike their rates because I have over 30TB backed up to them flat-rate.
  • flyingpants265 - Friday, November 17, 2023 - link

    I was going to ask about backups. $80/year is pretty good when you factor in the convenience.. and it's flood/fire protection as well. No brainer, really. And you don't need some kind of RAID box.

    I got 2x8TB drives on eBay from a normal user for $150. Low hours, can't really beat it. Sure I could add more drives every year instead of paying for backblaze, but whatever. I'm signing up tonight.
  • Samus - Saturday, November 18, 2023 - link

    I don't bother backing up my torrent seeds because they fluctuate so much - and its all replaceable or unimportant. But yeah, if you have a huge data set, Backblaze is unbeatable compared to everyone else. If you have a small backup data set, iDrive and even OneDrive are more competitive at $20-$50\year, and they let you have multiple computers, network resources, etc, though there is a way to exploit Backblaze to backup network drives.
  • SanX - Sunday, November 19, 2023 - link

    How about placing two heads running nearby two tracks in parallel and get the read/write speed almost double ?
  • Silver5urfer - Monday, November 20, 2023 - link

    I was about to purchase WD Ultrastar 22TB DC series HDDs for data storage hot. I hope there's a price reduction coming soon for the BF deals since these 24TB ones are shipping now. Ofc I will get SATA first. My plan was to get a SAS expander for PCIex4 length connector on the mainstream mobo I have, however I will settle with the general purpose SATA connector.
  • Squeaky'21 - Tuesday, November 21, 2023 - link

    So, SMR WD HDDs coming soon in the 28TB size. I wonder if this means the CMR drives are topping out at a maximum 24TB? I've read there's also solid talk of 30TB but only in SMR. Does anyone here know if CMR drives larger than 24TB are on the WD roadmap?

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