Western Digital unveils 26TB hard drives, 15TB enterprise SSD

Storage giant updates its high-capacity hard drives and SSDs and debuts a new portable storage device.

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Western Digital introduced new high-capacity and high-performance products this week during its What’s Next event in San Francisco.

First up, WD announced it is sampling conventional 22TB and shingled 26TB hard disk drives to cloud service providers, with widescale availability expected this summer. The drives, named Ultrastar DC HC570 for the 22TB version and DC HC670 for the 26TB version, are what WD calls UltraSMR disk drives. It's a means of packing greater amounts of data onto a disk platter. 

02.ultrastar dc hc570dc hc670 834x400 transparent Western Digital

WD’s previous high-end drive was the 20TB Ultrastar DC HC560. It packed 2.2TB per platter and came with nine platters. The two new drives managed to pack a tenth platter into a 3.5 drive form factor. All of these drives are helium-filled to reduce friction of the spinning platters and feature Western Digital’s triple-stage actuator (TSA) with multiple independent read/write heads.

The two drives use Western Digital’s OptiNAND technology, introduced last year. OptiNAND adds NAND flash memory to a hard disk to act as a cache to improve drive performance, particularly when writing large blocks of data. OptiNAND also protects write caches by safely writing data to disk, even in case of an emergency power off.

Western Digital also unveiled several new SSDs, many of them consumer. For the enterprise, WD has announced the SN650 SSD with up to 15.36TB if you get it in the E1.L “ruler” format. It’s called the ruler format because it looks like a ruler; it measures about a foot long and an inch wide. It’s also available in a 2.5-inch traditional design, since not every server can handle a ruler drive. Beyond that, WD disclosed no specs or details. It said it expects to start shipments in the second half of this year.

Lastly, WD’s SanDisk subsidiary introduced the SanDisk Professional Pro-Blade Modular SSD Ecosystem. This is an enterprise storage system, but it has a consumer origin. It’s designed for swapping in and out multiple, super-fast portable storage devices, called Pro-Blade SSD Mags.

That may sound familiar if you own a digital camera because it’s the same idea. You can rapidly swap SD cards in and out of the camera as they get full. The same applies here, only you’re swapping terabytes of business data instead of pictures or videos.

The Pro-Blade SSD Mag is heavily ruggedized, supporting up to a three-meter drop and 4,000lbs of crush resistance. It comes in 1TB ($179.99), 2TB ($289.99) and 4TB ($599.99) capacities and is expected to begin shipping in in June.

The drives connect to two different types of enclosures. The first is the Pro-Blade Transport portable SSD enclosure, which holds a single Mag and connects via a portable USB-C port. The second is the Pro-Blade Station desktop SSD enclosure, which holds up to four Pro-Blade SSD Mags at once and connects to a desktop via a Thunderbolt 3 connector. The Transport will be available in June, and the Blade Station will be available later this year.

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