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Western Digital stated it had started volume shipment of its Ultrastar DC HC580 and WD Gold 24TB hard disk drives that use conventional magnetic recording, as well as volume production start of its Ultrastar DC HC680 28TB HDDs that rely on shingled magnetic recording. The drives are designed for a wide-variety of datacenter applications, including cloud, enterprise, exascale, and enterprise. The 24TB WD Gold drives will shortly hit retail.

The new HDDs are not only among the highest-capacity hard drives available today (or announced to date), but they are also very fast by HDD standards: the maximum data transfer rate is up to 298 MB/s (WD Gold, DC HC580), and their sustained data transfer rate is up to 265 MB/s (DC HC680). As far as power consumption is concerned, they are rated for 5.5W idle and 6.8W – 9.8W operational (50/50 read/write), which is more or less in line with their predecessors. Given the higher capacity of the new drives amid similar power consumption, their terabyte-per-Watt power efficiency is said to be 10% – 12% higher compared to previous-generation HDDs, which is good news for power-limited datacenters.

The new Ultrastar DC HC580 and WD Gold 24TB hard drives are based on the company’s proven 10-disk enterprise-grade platform, with a 7200-RPM spindle speed that relies on energy-assisted perpendicular magnetic recording (ePMR) and features the company’s proprietary OptiNAND enhancements to boost performance in real-world applications. The Ultrastar DC HC680 28TB uses shingled recording on some bands to further increase capacity of the drive, yet at the cost of the peculiarities associated with this recording method, such as very slow re-write speeds, and the necessity to optimize software for these HDDs.

(Image credit: Western Digital)

“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,” said Ed Burns, research director of HDD and storage technologies at IDC.

Being datacenter HDDs, Western Digital’s Ultrastar DC HC and WD Gold are rated for a 550TB annual workload and feature numerous enhancements to ensure that they work predictably and reliably in multi drive high-density storage environments, which includes top- and bottom-attached motors, rotational vibration sensors, enhanced read/write heads, and appropriate firmware.

The WD Gold 24 TB HDDs are shipping to the channel and interested parties among enterprises and SMBs. Cloud service providers, hyperscalers, and server OEMs are validating and qualifying the Ultrastar DC HC680 28TB and HC580 24TB HDDs with a SATA interface, so expect their deployment and availability in a few months. As for SAS versions of the Ultrastar DC HC680 and HC580 drives, expect their availability in the first quarter of 2024.



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