Western Digital reveals hard drives using OptiNAND tech

Shane McGlaun - Sep 1, 2021, 5:29am CDT
Western Digital reveals hard drives using OptiNAND tech

Western Digital is a common name in the world of computer storage, making many of the hard drives inside computers and other devices today. The company has announced a new architecture called OptiNAND that meshes traditional hard drives with flash storage capability to deliver performance and increased areal density. OptiNAND drives are essentially a combination of a traditional hard drive with an iNAND embedded flash drive.

OptiNAND drives are aimed at high-density environments such as smart video surveillance, NAS suppliers, hyperscale cloud providers, and others. The product was designed specifically to deliver high capacities, performance, and reliability needed to store large amounts of data for extended periods.

Western Digital’s new storage device uses a triple-stage actuator and HelioSeal technology to deliver a storage capacity of 2.2 terabytes per platter. Samples of drives using the new technology featuring nine discs inside for combined 20 terabytes of storage capacity are shipping. The company says the new drive extends capacity gains using proven ePMR technology.

OptiNAND technology doesn’t use flash storage to store user data. Instead, the drive adds vertically integrated iNAND combined with enhanced firmware algorithms and SoC innovations to provide higher capacity, performance, and improved reliability. The drive technology offloads expanded metadata to the iNAND, enabling more tracks per inch, increasing areal density.

The technology also improves drive latency utilizing optimizations in the drive firmware that require fewer adjacent track interference refreshes. The tech also reduces the need for write cache flushes when the drive operates in write cache-enabled mode. Western Digital says the technology is also more reliable, allowing 50 times more data to be retained in an emergency power-off scenario. The new drive architecture leverages OptiNAND will be offered across the portfolio of Western Digital drives and storage platforms, with market-specific and purpose-built products being added to its portfolio later in the year.


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