Saturday, October 16

Western Digital ReImagines the Hard Drive


Western Digital has introduced a new flash-enhanced drive architecture that is breaking traditional boundaries of storage. Western Digital is known for its innovative approach to HDD and flash, and this new storage architecture with OptiNAND technology works to optimise and integrate HDDs with iNAND embedded flash drives.

This exciting new approach gives customers with unique storage needs — like hyperscale cloud, CSPs, enterprises, smart video surveillance partners, NAS suppliers and more — a solution to meet the exponential growth in data creation by delivering the capacity, performance and reliability needed to store vast amounts of data today and well into the future.

Western Digital

Leveraging industry-first technologies including triple-stage actuator (TSA) and HelioSeal technology, the first products featuring the new drive architecture will deliver an unsurpassed 2.2TB per platter, extending capacity gains on proven ePMR technology. Setting a new industry milestone, Western Digital has shipped samples of new nine-disk, 20TB ePMR flash-enhanced drives with OptiNAND technology to select customers.

“Driven by the growth of AI, ML, blockchain, IoT, sensors and more, there’s no doubt that new storage innovations are needed to store and protect today’s data growth, especially at scale,” explains Ed Burns, research director for hard disk drives at IDC. “As the only company manufacturing both flash and HDDs, Western Digital can uniquely leverage its in-house capabilities… to help customers meet the growing demands of a digital economy.”

New Flash-Enhanced Drive with OptiNAND Technology

Unlike a hybrid drive where flash is used to store user data, the new architecture is a breakthrough in storage that works differently, enabling advances on multiple dimensions of storage capability. By adding vertically integrated iNAND to its world-class HDDs, and with enhanced firmware algorithm and SoC innovations, Western Digital’s flash-enhanced drives with OptiNAND technology deliver improved capacity, performance and reliability to help customers meet growing storage demands. Highlights of this exciting new storage technology include:

Western Digital

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The drive works smarter, with enhanced firmware algorithms taking advantage of expanded metadata that has been offloaded to the iNAND, enabling more tracks per inch (TPI) with resulting increased areal density.


Drive latency is improved with proprietary optimisations to drive firmware focused on requiring fewer adjacent track interference (ATI) refreshes and reducing the need for write cache flushes in write cache-enabled mode.


Nearly 50x more customer data can be retained in the event of an emergency power off (EPO) scenario, and with Western Digital’s unique capabilities in vertically integrated supply, design, development, testing and qualification of flash-enhanced drives, customers can count on the drive’s reliability.


The new flash-enhanced drive architecture with OptiNAND technology will be available across Western Digital’s portfolio of drives and storage platforms. It will also serve as the foundation for future designs and innovations, with further advances to come in intelligence, reliability, capacity and time-to-market value. Western Digital says it will begin announcing market-specific, purpose-built products across its portfolio later this year.

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