World's biggest hard drive: Meet Western Digital's 15TB monster

Western Digital packs another terabyte into its 3.5-inch hard disk drives.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Western Digital has taken the wraps off the world's highest-capacity hard drive, the 15TB Utrastar DC HC620.

The 15TB Utrastar packs one more terabyte than last year's hard-drive record setter, Western Digital's HSGT Ultrastar HS14. Since then Seagate has also launched its 14TB hard drives.

The 3.5-inch HDD is targeted at the data center where the 15TB drive can be slotted into a 4U rack to create a 900TB storage unit, or 60TB more than was previously possible with 14TB hard drives in the same size chassis, according to Western Digital.

Western Digital expects the new 15TB drives to be used to store video footage captured by smart city 4K surveillance cameras, which can produce about 28TB over half a year.

As with the 14TB hard drives, the 15TB hard drive uses host-managed SMR (shingled magnetic recording), a method of writing data to disk that is slow but also allows for greater density.

It's suited to workloads that require sequential writes and, aside from video surveillance, it could be useful for object storage and cloud services.

Western Digital customer Dropbox has talked about how it's using 14TB SMR HDDs to build Magic Pocket, its in-house exabyte storage system separate from AWS infrastructure it has traditionally relied on.

SEE: Cloud v. data center decision (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

Dropbox boasted earlier this year it was adding hundreds of petabytes of capacity using high-density servers with SMR technology as opposed to perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR).

"SMR HDDs offer greater bit density and better cost structure ($/GB), decreasing the total cost of ownership on denser hardware," Dropbox engineers noted.

"Our goal is to build the highest-density storage servers, and SMR currently provides the highest capacity, ahead of the traditional storage alternative, PMR."


The 15TB Utrastar packs one more terabyte than last year's hard-drive record setter, Western Digital's HSGT Ultrastar HS14.

Image: Western Digital

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