Western Digital Launches 20 TB Mechanical Hard Drive With OptiNAND Technology

Western Digital Launches 20 TB Mechanical Hard Drive With OptiNAND Technology

Western Digital just launched their 20 TB mechanical hard drive, with 2.2 terabytes per platter and onboard flash memory utilizing OptiNAND technology.

Western Digital Unleashes 20 TB Mechanical Hard Drive With OptiNAND Technology

The 20 TB mechanical drive's flash memory is integrated "iNAND UFS embedded flash drive (EFD) on the circuit board," and also performs with a 3D TLC UFS flash memory, the capacity of which has not been released to the public. Western Digital intends to improve reliability and performance with the new drive.

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Another source of information from Western Digital is the lack of whether the 20 TB hard disk utilizes shingled magnetic recording (SMR). From the company's description of the drive, it is safe to assume that the hard disk will use SMR technology due to requiring the unit to record vast quantities of track info.

This recently launched hard drive carries nine discs inside, with each disc using a single disc capacity of close to 2.2TB and using Energy Assisted Perpendicular Recording Technology (ePMR). The magnetic head offers a cutting-edge three-stage drive technology, which enables pinpoint accuracy of the read and write head positions. Western Digital has manufactured the SOC control chip themselves instead of looking at outside resources.

With present-day mechanical hard disk drives, the purpose is to store several gigabytes of metadata, such as track repetitive beating metadata (RRO) to maintain constant watch of the rotation of the spindle to ensure lack of errors, and write track-level data to the disk. The drive is to also maintain input operational metadata to correct any interference of adjacent tracks. With operating with OptiNAND technology, all of the various metadata can be read/written to the iNAND flash memory spaces, allowing for more efficiency by reducing read/write operations in the space on the hard disk.

OptiNAND technology has also shown that during emergency situations where the power to the hard disk suddenly stops, it can store up to 100MB of data, limiting the amount of loss of crucial data. The iNAND flash memory is also expected to work with firmware to increase the speeds of the response of the hard disk to minimize latency issues.

UFS flash memory can also store sector-level write operation data, which can optimize storage requirements and reduce ATI (adjacent track interference data) refresh times to improve performance.

[W]ith the increase in the density of modern mechanical hard disks, the interference between adjacent tracks has also greatly increased, hindering the further increase in storage density. Some manufacturers use HAMR technology and MAMR technology to enhance the quality of written data and make the magnetization process more tidy. Western Digital chose another technical direction to improve the accuracy of reading data by the magnetic head.

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We should start seeing Western Digital begin shipping in the following months, with a technological expectancy of optimizing spaces on mechanical drives with as high as 50TBs or more over the next several decades.

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