WD Executes Next Phase of HDD Roadmap, Begins 24TB CMR Shipments

By Ken Briodagh

Senior Technology Editor

Embedded Computing Design

November 20, 2023


WD Executes Next Phase of HDD Roadmap, Begins 24TB CMR Shipments

As new applications, use cases and connected devices multiply, Western Digital is deploying advanced hard disk drive (HDD) technologies to help data centers design more cost-efficient, scalable and sustainable infrastructure. In a recent release, the company announced that it is now shipping its new 10-disk 24TB CMR HDD family for hyperscale, cloud and enterprise data center customers.

According to the announcement, the new 28TB SMR HDD is also ramping up, and the 26TB SMR HDD exabyte shipments reportedly reached nearly half of its data center exabytes shipped in the first quarter fiscal year 2024.

“With these new offerings, Western Digital is once again proving that hard drives are not just keeping pace, they are forging a path forward, ensuring that data-intensive applications of today and tomorrow have a strong foundation to build on while the industry prepares for HAMR,” said Ed Burns, Research Director, Hard Disk Drive and Storage Technologies, IDC. “We are seeing strong momentum for Western Digital’s SMR HDDs and believe that SMR adoption will continue to grow as their new 28TB SMR HDD offers the next compelling TCO value proposition that cloud customers cannot ignore.”

This new generation of drives is built on a proven platform and is designed for data center customers who are consistently looking for the highest capacity storage to help them achieve the lowest possible total cost of ownership (TCO), WD said in the release. These high-capacity HDDs reportedly are a step forward in meeting the company’s sustainability targets and toward helping data center customers meet theirs in that the 28TB and 24TB HDDs are built with 40 percent (by weight) recycled content, and are more than 10 percent more energy efficient per terabyte.

Product Details

At 28TB, the new Ultrastar DC HC680 SMR HDD is designed for storage density in hyperscale, cloud and enterprise applications, WD said. The company said it is ideal for sequential write workloads where storage density, watt/TB and $/TB are critical parameters, and it targets environments such as bulk storage, online backup and archive, video surveillance, cloud storage, storage for regulatory compliance, big data storage, and other applications where data may be infrequently accessed. 

The Ultrastar DC HC580 24TB CMR HDD with improved OptiNAND technology is the next step in data density, according to the announcement, and is set to allow data center customers to maximize storage within the same footprint, and in power-constrained environments. For better storage density, the HC580 reportedly can enable up to 612TB of raw storage per rack unit in a 4U 102-drive bay solution. These drives are also more power efficient, providing 12 percent less Watt/TB2 compared to the company’s previous 22TB version.

The Ultrastar DC HC680 and HC580 HDDs are currently being qualified by select hyperscalers, CSPs and OEM customers, and are now available for large enterprise customers looking for the highest capacity with lower power per terabyte for designing more efficient storage systems and data centers.

The new Ultrastar drives are also being qualified and integrated into the company’s Ultrastar Data60 and Data102 JBOD hybrid storage platforms, which are key building blocks for designing next-generation disaggregated storage and software-defined storage (SDS) infrastructure, WD said. Each storage platform comes with IsoVibe and ArcticFlow technologies for improved performance and reliability. Ultrastar Data60 and Data102 platforms with the new HDDs will be available beginning next month. 

Western Digital also announced that it is now shipping its 24TB WD Gold CMR SATA HDD into the channel. These drives, the company said, are specifically designed for system integrators and resellers serving enterprises and SMBs who need more reliable storage for big data and enterprise storage workloads compared to traditional client HDDs. Leveraging innovations from the Ultrastar technology platform, features vibration protection technology, is designed to handle workloads up to 550TB per year, and comes with a 5-year limited warranty.

“New and existing endpoints from industries, connected devices, digital platforms, AI innovations, autonomous machines and more create a staggering amount of data each day. This relentless creation of data ultimately finds its way to the cloud, which is underpinned by our continued advancements in HDDs,” said Ashley Gorakhpurwalla, EVP and GM, HDD Business Unit, Western Digital. “As a strategic partner to cloud and data center customers around the world, we are extending the value of our proven HDD platform and technology innovations to deliver the highest capacity HDD storage and TCO value that our customers demand.”


Ken Briodagh is a writer and editor with two decades of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers, he would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars. In previous lives, he’s been a short order cook, telemarketer, medical supply technician, mover of the bodies at a funeral home, pirate, poet, partial alliterist, parent, partner and pretender to various thrones. Most of his exploits are either exaggerated or blatantly false.

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