Western Digital starts sampling 18TB, 20TB SMR HDDs for data centers

The company's 18TB CMR Ultrastar DC HC550 and 20TB Ultrastar DC HC650 SMR hard disk drives are designed to give hyperscale data centers more density and total cost of ownership to handle exabytes.

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Western Digital said it will sample its 18TB and 20TB capacity hard drives by the end of the year as it targets data center customers in the first half of 2020.

The company's 18TB CMR Ultrastar DC HC550 and 20TB Ultrastar DC HC650 SMR hard disk drives are designed to give hyperscale data centers more density and total cost of ownership to handle exabytes.

While flash storage has been popular and gaining on traditional drives, there are plenty of use cases for HDDs. Western Digital said it is combining its nine-disk mechanical platform and energy assisted recording to meet data center requirements of customers like Dropbox.

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Western Digital previewed the 20TB SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) drive in June. The storage giant is betting that SMR drives will represent half of its HDD exabytes shipped by 2023. SMR drives are expected to offer cost savings over PMR (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording) drives. For the last year, Western Digital has been working to make SMR performance equal to PMR drives.

The drives that are being sampled will join Western Digital's portfolio of HDDs ranging from 10TB to 14TB to 18TB to 20TB drives in various configurations. Those HDDs and capacities come in six-, eight- and nine-disk platforms.

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