Driving the Lowest TCO for Data-Intensive Technologies and Applications

By Brad Warbiany

Director of HDD Technical Marketing

Western Digital Corporation

May 05, 2023


Driving the Lowest TCO for Data-Intensive Technologies and Applications

Times are changing as digital transformation initiatives have led to a tidal wave of data. As a result, storage has become one of the most critical components of keeping pace with this data revolution. It’s affecting companies of all sizes, especially hyperscale companies—such as the largest search, social, entertainment, and e-commerce companies in the world. Scaling efficiently and cost-effectively to meet data growth in a manner that is sustainable and environmentally friendly is paramount to their success

With growing volumes of data, use cases and applications in the cloud and on-premises, data center managers are also constantly under pressure to provide unwavering reliability and SLA performance at the lowest possible cost. Lowering total cost of ownership (TCO) influences almost every decision they make. And achieving the lowest possible TCO is money saved, which drives revenue and fuels additional services.

New HDD Innovations can Lower TCO

TCO is complex. It is strategic and it is long-term. Reducing TCO also involves numerous factors. Sure, the cost of a drive or the price per terabyte (TB) is important. But this is just one of several considerations that go into a compound equation that can help lower TCO. Other factors can include the amount of floor space, the cost of power and cooling, and maintenance and repairs to name a few.

The pressure to cut TCO is influencing data centers to increasingly rely on storage solutions that offer high-capacity, low power, performance, and proven reliability in a cost-effective design. In fact, HDD innovation is the backbone for data-heavy technologies and applications to thrive.

Today, most of the world’s stored data resides on HDDs and there’s simply no substitute that can deliver the same TCO value at scale for data centers—not flash, not tape. For data center architects, moving to the highest capacity HDDs quickly, means scaling efficiently without increasing the physical footprint while reducing watts/TB, power and cooling costs.

For example, using new 22TB HDDs versus 16TB HDDs to deploy 2PB of storage would require 27% fewer servers and 26% lower energy consumption in Watts/TB idle to store the same amount of data. There is also less infrastructure and maintenance cost by eliminating the extra servers, networking equipment, racks, power, cooling, and floor space.

So overall, TCO savings is achieved by using higher capacity 22TB and eliminating servers and all other supporting infrastructure. Further, making the software investment to adopt 26TB UltraSMR HDDs instead of 22TB conventional HDDs would allow the storage density to grow even higher, to 2.36PB with no increase in the equipment, power, cooling, or floor space.

Speeding Up Innovation

HDD manufacturers have continued to push the boundaries of innovation with technologies such as helium-filled drives, UltraSMR, OptiNAND, and energy-assisted PMR (ePMR) hard drives. All of this is to increase areal density and deliver reliable, higher-capacity, and lower-power drives to store the vast amount of data that the world is creating on a daily basis.

More data equals more value, and businesses would store more data if they could do so in a cost-effective and efficient manner. Moving to the highest capacity HDDs can help. High-capacity HDDs will continue to play a key role in all of this and are the most economical media to store massive amounts of data online and at scale. The benefits translate into overall data center power and cooling savings, which can play an important role in helping data centers operate greener.