Western Digital shipping 24 TB and 28 TB nearline drives

Seagate’s 24/28 TB lead lasted just four weeks because Western Digital is now also shipping 24 TB CMR and 28 TB SMR disk drives.

Update: Dat102 chassis capacity with HC580 drives corrected to to 2.448 PB raw capacity, meaning 612 TB per rack unit; 27 November 2023.

The new products are the Ultrastar DC HC580 conventional magnetic recording (CMR) and DC HC680 shingled magnetic recording (SMR) drives. They are an evolution of the existing DC HC570 22 TB CMR and DC HC670 26 TB SMR products announced in May 2022. They are comparable to Seagate’s Exos X24 CMR and Exos X28 SMR products.

Western Digital’s Ashley Gorakhpurwalla said in a statement: “New and existing endpoints from industries, connected devices, digital platforms, AI innovations, autonomous machines and more create a staggering amount of data each day. This relentless creation of data ultimately finds its way to the cloud, which is underpinned by our continued advancements in HDDs.”

Cloud providers and other hyperscalers are Western Digital’s natural market for the HC680.

IDC storage analyst Ed Burns commented: “We are seeing strong momentum for Western Digital’s SMR HDDs and believe that SMR adoption will continue to grow as their new 28 TB SMR HDD offers the next compelling TCO value proposition that cloud customers cannot ignore.” Western Digital said its 26 TB SMR HDD (DC HC670) exabyte shipments reached nearly half of its datacenter exabytes shipped in the first quarter of fiscal 2024.

Western Digital is using is its ePMR (energy-assisted recording), OptiNAND (flash-enhanced controller), triple-stage actuator (TSA), and UltraSMR (shingling) technologies with these new drives.

Both the HC580 and HC680 have helium-filled enclosures, spin at 7,200 rpm, and have 6 Gbps SATA or 12 Gbps SAS interfaces. The HC680 SMR drive has a 512MB cache and delivers up a 265Gbs sustained transfer bandwidth. It is targeted at environments such as bulk storage, online backup and archive, video surveillance, cloud storage, regulatory compliance, big data storage, and other applications where data may be infrequently accessed. The HC580 is faster, pumping out up to 298Gbps bandwidth, again with a 512MB cache. it’s aimed at customers in the same markets who need faster write access to data than shingled disks can provide.

Western Digital is pushing its green credentials, saying the new drives are built with 40 percent (by weight) recycled content, and are more than 10 percent energy efficient per terabyte than the previous generation 22/26 TB drives.

The company is shipping a Gold 24 TB CMR drive, using DC H580 technology with a 6 Gbps SATA interface to system integrators and resellers selling to enterprises and SMBs. This drive spins at 7,200 rpm, delivers up to 298 MBps sustained data transfer and has a 512 MB cache. We understand that the DC HC580 performance is pretty similar. The Gold 24 supports a 550 TB/year workload, has a projected 2.5 million hours MTBF rating, and a five-year warranty. The Gold 24 family capacity points range from 1 to 24 TB.

Western Digital is also integrating the new drives into its Ultrastar Data60 and Data102 JBOD storage products. The HC580 can provide up to 2.448 PB raw capacity in the 4RU Data102 chassis, meaning 612 TB per rack unit.

The Ultrastar DC HC680 and HC580 HDDs are being qualified by select hyperscalers, CSPs, and OEM customers, and are now available for large enterprise customers. They are only available with SATA interfaces and the SAS versions of the DC HC680 and HC580 HDD will be available in the first quarter of 2024.