Western Digital Samples 20TB And 18TB Hard Drives For Bodacious Bytes In Data Centers

WD 20TB and 18TB HDDs
Remember when storage was measured in megabytes? Yeah, those days are (thankfully) long behind us, as we've raced past gigabytes and into the terabyte era. Maybe petabyte storage will be the norm one day. In the here and now, though, Western Digital just upped the ante by introducing two new high-capacity hard drives for enterprise and hyperscale cloud customers.

One is the 20TB Ultrastar DC HC650 and the other is the 18TB Ultrastar DC HC550. Both new models represent WD's first commercial implementation of energy-assisted magnetic recording technology at scale, to deliver higher area density and storage efficiency. They are also durable and reliable, according to WD (which is always a good thing when you're dealing with mechanical storage solutions).

"Delivering samples of our Ultrastar 20TB SMR and 18TB CMR HDDs marks a significant milestone for Western Digital—demonstrating our enduring commitment to the open SMR-based ecosystem, as well as our strong track record of innovation to provide great value for our customers," said Phil Bullinger, senior vice president and general manager of Western Digital's Data Center Business Unit.

WD says these higher capacity options are needed with zettabyte-scale data growth on the horizon. There's is also a cost benefit—WD says its new drives enable customers to deploy up to 22 percent fewer racks and reduce their total cost of ownership (TCO) by up to 11 percent, while reducing power consumption and cooling costs, compared to today's 14TB HDDs.

"The market outlook for capacity-optimized enterprise HDDs remains very positive as IDC expects petabytes shipped to hyperscale cloud data centers and for OEM storage systems and servers to grow at a combined compound annual growth rate of 28 percent through 2023," said Ed Burns, Research Director, HDD and Storage Technologies at IDC.

As these drives are not meant for home consumers, WD has not provided pricing details. However, the company did say it expects to ship the drives in volume to enterprise and hyperscale customers in the first half of next year.