Western Digital first to ship 22TB drives

Western Digital is now shipping three mainstream 22TB disk drives after announcing it was sampling the products in May.

They are the Gold IT/data center, Red Pro NAS, and Purple Pro video and surveillance products, all using non-shingled, conventional (perpendicular) magnetic recording enhanced with OptiNAND and energy-assisted Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (ePMR) technologies. These 3.5-inch format drives have 10 platters, triple actuators, and are helium-filled at the 12TB-plus level.

Western Digital drives

The Gold product now spans a 1-22TB capacity range and, as before, is a 7,200rpm drive with a 6Gbit/s SATA interface. It has a 2.5 million hours MTBF rating, a five-year warranty and unchanged cache details: 512MB at 16, 18, 20 and 22TB, and 256MB below 16TB. The maximum sustained sequential transfer rate is 291MB/sec at 22TTB and 269MB/sec at the 20 and 18TB levels. The prior 20TB-topped range had a maximum 269MB/sec sustained sequential data transfer rate, unchanged from the previous range which topped out at 18TB. These were nine-platter products and the latest 22TB Gold is a 10-platter product so the 22TB product’s transfer rate may have increased because of that.

The Red Pro NAS drive is for NAS systems with up to 24 bays. It is basically the same disk drive core as the Gold, meaning 6Gbit/s SATA interface and 7,200rpm spin speed. The drive has a 512MB cache at the 14 to 22TB levels with a 256MB one below. The OptiNAND technology is only used for the 20 and 22TB models. The max sustained sequential data transfer rate of the previous, nine-platter model was 268MB/sec and so it has changed a bit but in a reverse linear pattern with capacity; 265MB/sec at 22TB, 268MB/sec at 20TB and 272MB/sec at 18TB.

The Purple Pro variation on the core 10-platter, 6Gbit/s SAS, 7,200rpm drive, has an 8, 10, 12, 14, 18 and 22TB capacity range. It supports up to 64 single-stream HD cameras and 32 AI streams for deep-learning analytics, the same as before, and has a 2.5 million hour MTBF rating. The drive’s max sustained data transfer rate is 265MB/sec at 22TB, 272MB/sec at 18TB and 255MB/sec at 14TB; another unexpected pattern.

Western Digital has a fourth 22TB drive, the Ultrastar, for sale to hyperscale cloud customers. It has a boosted capacity 26TB variant using with UltraSMR – host-managed, shingled disk drive technology. Both of these began shipping last month.

The two other major disk drive manufacturers are now lagging in the 3.5-inch capacity stakes. Seagate maxes out at 20TB with the Exos X20, IronWolf Pro and SkyHawk drives. The company has said it is sample shipping 20TB-plus drives. Toshiba is at the 18TB level with its MG09, MN09, and X300 products, and has 20TB-plus capacity drives on its roadmap.