I always feel like somebody’s watching me: WD releases higher-rated Pro version of Purple surveillance HDD

Western Digital has launched a Pro version of its Purple surveillance system drive with a longer warranty and enhanced workload rating.

The aim is to support the more powerful video camera, network video recorder and video analytics systems now being produced to process an ever-increasing amount of video surveillance imagery.

Brian Mallari, director of marketing for Smart Video at Western Digital, said: “With the addition of WD Purple Pro, our full portfolio of smart video products covers customers’ needs from dedicated WD Purple microSD cards for cameras to WD Purple hard drives for mainstream NVRs and the new generation of smart video architectures.

WD Purple Pro 18TB drive.

He also claimed it could help “original equipment manufacturers and integrators to evolve their systems for emerging AI workloads.”


The all-SATA Purple HDD range is divided into low-end 1TB to 6TB drives which spin at 5400 – 5700rpm, support 64 cameras and have a 180TB/year workload rating. The 8TB – 18TB Purple drives spin faster at 7,200rpm, support 64 cameras plus 32 video streams for deep learning analytics. They have a higher 360TB/year workload rating.

The Purple Pros have the same 8TB – 18TB capacity and 7,200rpm spin speed as the upper-end Purple HDDS but a higher still 550TB/year workload rating. They also have a 5-year warranty compared to the Purple drives’ 3-year warranty. The 8TB and 10TB products are air-filled drives while the 12TB, 14TB and 18TB products have sealed, helium-filled enclosures. These helium-filled drives have a 2.5 million hours MTBF rating while the air-filled drives have a 2 million hours MTBF number.

Purple Pros have a WD Device Analytics (WDDA) feature that provides device parametric operational and diagnostic data. Algorithms interpret the data and direct the host system to alert admin staff with specific recommendations to address potential issues. The idea is that WD OEMs, system integrators, and IT pros can better monitor and manage supported storage devices using the drives.  

Seagate has a competing Skyhawk 18TB drive for the video surveillance market. It supports the same number of camera and analytics streams as the Purple Pro and comes with an identical 550TB/year workload rating. However it only has a 3-year warranty. Toshiba’s MD06 surveillance drives have a 10TB capacity maximum and are not in the Purple Pro capacity class.

WD Purple Pro drives will be available this quarter from Western Digital resellers. We understand a 10TB model will cost $337.99 but may be available for as little as $264.34. No datasheet was available at publication time.