As operators of cloud datacenters need more storage capacity, higher capacity HDDs are being developed. As data hoarders need more capacity, higher capacity HDDs are needed. Last week Western Digital introduced its new Utrastar DC HC650 20 TB drives - hitting a new barrier in rotating data. 

The drives feature shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technology, which layers data on top of another much like a shingled roof, and therefore is designed primarily for write once read many (WORM) applications (e.g., content delivery services). Western Digital’s SMR hard drives are host managed, so they will be available only to customers with appropriate software.

Western Digital’s Utrastar DC HC650 20 TB is based on the company’s all-new nine-platter helium-sealed enterprise-class platform, a first for the company. The new 3.5-inch hard drives feature a 7200 RPM spindle speed and will be available with a SATA 6 Gbps or SAS 12 Gbps interface depending on the SKU. Since the product is not expected to be available immediately, the manufacturer does not disclose all of its specifications just yet, but has stated that key customers are already in the loop.

Featuring a very high per-platter capacity of around 2.2 GB, the Utrastar DC HC650 20 TB HDDs offer a higher sequential read performance than its predecessors, but its read IOPS per TB performance is lower than that of older HDDs. That said, Western Digital’s clients who will use the 20 TB SMR HDDs will need to mitigate two things: manage physical limitations of SMR by maximizing sequential writes (and minimizing random writes) as well as take into account lower IOPS per TB performance to minimize impact on their QoS.

As far as availability is concerned, the 20 TB version of the Ultrastar DC HC650 SMR drives will be available as samples by the end of the year. Actual shipments will start once the drives are qualified by customers. Because the HDDs will be available to select customers only, Western Digital does not publish per-unit pricing.

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Source: Western Digital

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  • mode_13h - Saturday, September 14, 2019 - link

    Yeah, kidz in a couple more generations are gonna be like "OMG, your bits had only 2 states, and they were mutually-exclusive?" Reply
  • mode_13h - Saturday, September 14, 2019 - link

    OMG! Technology! Reply
  • Bp_968 - Thursday, September 19, 2019 - link

    What frys my brain is getting a new phone a couple years ago and spending 30-40$ on a 128GB microSD card. Something the size of my pinky fingernail holding 2000 times the data my PC had as a teenager! (As a kid my dads TRS-80 used cassette tapes for "mass" storage) Reply
  • mooninite - Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - link

    So... Retail in Q1 2020? Reply
  • UltraWide - Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - link

    "Western Digital’s SMR hard drives are host managed, so they will be available only to customers with appropriate software."
    This might be a barrier to entry for the short term...
    Reply
  • mode_13h - Saturday, September 14, 2019 - link

    I expect SMR drives will mainly be used for volume-level backups. Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - link

    If it was Q1 they'd've said Q1. H1 normally means Q2 but with low grade obfuscation.

    Also as noted by UltraWide these drives offload a lot of logic to the host system and will never see general availability. What we can look forward to for building big NASes/etc is the 18TB non-SMR model.
    Reply
  • romrunning - Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - link

    Yeah, I don't look forward to SMR drives at all. :) Reply
  • Thunder 57 - Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - link

    They have their place. Most ordinary users would not want them though. Reply
  • imaheadcase - Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - link

    I'm surprised the research into how much dead data is around is not a thing. You know how you can see a date on a file when it was last accessed? That should be a thing in real time on internet to know if data is actually still useful.

    If a cloud storage had a option to tick to "delete files if not accessed within so many days.." it would be useful i think to people AND the datacenter in size it saves itself.

    I mean lets be real, lots of data people store is stuff "I might use later"..its why people have crap stored in garages, storage units, etc around in real life. They won't ever use it and after they die its going to get tossed anyway be family. Plus, we all know you all have favorite porn or nudes you don't want to be around. lol
    Reply

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