Western Digital’s “What’s Next” event in May 2022 had seen the announcement of its 22TB platform based on ePMR and OptiNAND (with ArmorCache). At the event, WD announced that the 10-plate 22TB drives would make an appearance under several product categories: Ultrastar DC HC570 for data centers and enterprises, WD Gold for enterprises, SMBs and SMBs, WD Red Pro for SMBs and SMBs NAS systems, and WD Purple Pro for surveillance network video recorders.
Today, WD is announcing retail availability of these models, along with technical details. All drives are in a 3.5-inch form factor and have a SATA 6 Gbps interface. The drives are equipped with a cache of 512 MB and have a spindle speed of 7200 rpm. 32 dBA for the average search.
Western Digital 2022 22 TB Hard Drives – Interest Data WD Gold WD Red Pro WD Purple Pro Rated Workload (TB/yr) 550 300 550 Max. Sustained Transfer Rate (MBps) 291 265 265 Rated Charge/Discharge Cycles 600K 600K 600K Fatal Read Errors 1 in 10E15 1 in 10E13 1 in 10E15 MTBF (hours) 2.5M 1M 2.5M Power (idle / active) (W) 5.7 / 9.3 3.4 / 6.8 5.6 / 6.9 Warranty (years) 5 5 5 Prices
Based on the above specifications, it is clear that Western Digital has adopted the ePMR / OptiNAND / three-stage actuator platform and modified the firmware appropriately to cater to different market segments. The Red Pro CMR drive comes with NASware 3.0 firmware with features such as adjusting parameters based on the integrated multi-axis shock sensor, maintaining balance using the dual-plane balance control technology, and TLER (Time-Limited Error Recovery) for compatibility with various NAS systems. As usual for the Red Pro family, the new 22TB drives are recommended for use in systems with up to 24 bays.
The WD Purple Pro drives intended for network video recording have firmware that is customized for continuous sequential writes to multiple drive regions simultaneously. WD states that the drive is capable of processing up to 64 simultaneous HD stream recordings at 3.25 Mbps and up to 32 streams for machine learning / object detection tasks. Like NASware 3.0 in the Red Pro, the custom firmware has a specific name: AllFrame AI.
The WD Gold is the flagship in today’s retail launch announcement. The firmware has been adjusted for the highest possible performance, without focusing on the active and inactive powers. The ArmorCache feature is specifically enabled in the WD Gold 22TB model.
Interestingly, all three drives launched at the same $600 MSRP. While the WD Red Pro has a much lower workload, peak performance, and reliability metric (MTBF), it appears WD believes the market will be willing to pay a premium. for the lower power consumption figures.
The general push with these high-capacity hard drives is one from TCO. The ability to reduce the physical footprint of storage servers for the same capacity can lead to significant savings in related IT costs related to power, cooling and rack space. In the future, hopefully, WD can address the plateauing of access speeds compared to capacity (using dual actuators or other comparable technology). This can make high-capacity HDDs attractive to home consumers/prosumers who are rightly concerned about long RAID rebuild times.