WD adds enterprise SSDs to Gold brand

Western Digital has taken the covers off Gold brand data centre SSDs that are similar in performance to its existing SN640 solid state drives.

Gold was, until today, WD’s brand for 3.5-inch data centre disk drives only. The 10TB, 12TB and 14TB HDDs are helium-filled, spin at 7,200rpm, and have a relatively slow SATA interface. They are nearline drives – they are not designed for performance, in other words.

This changes with the WD Gold NVMe SSDs, which are fast data centre drives. The spec includes U.2, 7mm, PCIe gen 3 x 4 lane and 960GB, 1.92TB, 3.84TB and 7.68TB capacities. They are built using BiCS 4 96-layer 3D NAND.

The performance numbers are up to 472,000/65,000 random read/write IOPS and 3.1/2.0GB/sec sequential read/write bandwidth. The drive’s latency us as low as 208μs.

That makes them suited for read-intensive work and the limited endurance – 0.8 drive writes per day for the five year warranty – strengthens that positioning.

Their specification is similar to WD’s Ultrastar DC SN640 read-intensive data centre SSDs, which are available in M.2, U.2 and EDSFF formats – and the U.2 version has the same capacities as the Gold SSD. The endurance, at 0.8DWPD, is the same.

The DCSN640 SSDs are slightly faster drives than the WD Gold, operating with up to 480,000/120,000 random read/write IOPS and 3.2/2.2GB/sec bandwidth. The overlap looks significant and we have asked Western Digital to clarify.

It said: “WD Gold NVMe SSD is designed for small to medium-size enterprise (SME) data centers to improve responsiveness and performance across all mainstream enterprise applications. The WD Gold NVMe SSD provides channel partners with a drop-in-ready solution to help SME customers easily transition from SATA to the high performance of NVMe.

“The Ultrastar DC SN640 NVMe SSD is for broad deployment into cloud/hyperscale and on-prem data centers, specialized for applications such as software-defined storage (SDS), hyperconverged infrastructures (HCI), virtualization, and more.”

For comparison, Micron has a 7300 Pro U.2 SSD using 96-layer 3D TLC NAND with the same capacities as the Gold drive. It delivers up to 520,000/85,000 random read/write IOPS and 3.0/1.0GB/sec/ sequential bandwidth. This is slightly faster IOPS performance than the WD Gold SSDs.

Gold SSDs will ship early in the second quarter and in the meantime you can check out a datasheet.