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WD goes bigger HDD sizes

Western Digital, one of the world’s leading HDD producers,
has announced the next-step increment of HDD disk size.
With 18 and 20TB per disk which means up to 2.2TB per platter,
thus resulting in 9 platters, this is indeed a new record.

However Toshiba and Seagate also have announced same disk sizes to become available in H1 2020. While WD uses MAMR (Microvave-Assisted Magnetic Recording) to allow the finer structures of the platters to be correctly written and read by the read-write head, Toshiba and Seagate are about to use HAMR (Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording). The 18TB models may become available earlier in 2020 (possibly Q1) while first engineering samples are already circulating in computing and data centers for testing. Both disks come with SAS connector which is commonly used in data centers and big data storage racks nowadays.

There are no concrete plans to release same disk sizes with SATA interface though and the prices of the disks are also unknown but can be expected at 600-100US$ which makes them a no-go for private users and their NAS devices. For private customers WD already offers 12TB disks at about 450-550US$ (depending if you take the Red or Red Pro series).

While this seems to be good news at all, the other question is: How are you going to back up this vast amount of disk space properly? Even if the Read/Write speeds of the disk are above 150MB/s nowadays, it would take a whopping 39 hours to back up the whole thing!

While data centers run 24/7 where this might be acceptable, a home user would probably only run his NAS 24/7 and schedule a backup which runs only nights. So a full backup could take up to four nights considering that it runs for 9 hours/day.

Oh and then we have the data changes which should also flow into this full backup scheme.

So all in all the backup procedure will become an issue with increasing disk sizes while read/write speeds stay at the same level.

To reduce heat dissipation, the disks are filled with helium instead of creating a slight vacuum. Warranty is said to be 5 years at an average MTBF of 300.000 hours continuous operation.

It will be interesting to see what WD will bring out for private customers in H1 2020 as well. We expect 14-16TB disks for the Blue, Red and Purple series of WD HDD drives. The Black series might get a 12TB model instead as the Black series are trimmed for performance where space is the second concern while speed is crucial.

However we won’t expect SSD prices to drop significantly due to the storage rise which is normal as HDD are no challenge for SSD (speedwise that is!). And since SSDs are also available at 4TB already (with TLC), we further expect larger sizes for QLC and size increases for MLC and TLC. The SLC sector might see no more upgrades as MLC becomes more reliable and less expensive to e produced. Modern MLC drives allow for up to 5000 Write cycles per cell. With some disk space as provisioning space declared, even defective cells might be replaced without capacity loss. We like that, indeed!

By the time we released that article, here are common market prices of entry-level SSDs and High-End SSDs:

Samsung Qvo 860 SATA SSD: around 500US$ (485CHF)
Samsung Evo 860 SATA SSD: around 650US$ (630CHF)
Samsung Pro 860 SATA SSD: around 950US$ (910CHF)
Samsung Evo 970 MVMe M.2 2TB: 500US$ (475CHF)
Samsung Pro 970 MVMe M.2 2TB: 1200US$ (1150CHF)

While SATA models are stuck interface-wise at 550MB/s, the other models range between 2000 to 3500 MB/s with the Pro models being the fastest, of course, hence the way higher price then.

September 3, 2019 Netspark - 1594 posts - Member since: May 9th, 2011 No Comments »

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