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Western Digital to Ship 20TB OptiNAND HDDs in November

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Western Digital said this week that volume sales of its 20TB hard drives using OptiNAND technology will begin next month. The OptiNAND technology from Western Digital combines an iNAND UFS embedded flash drive (EFD) with a hard disc drive (HDD) to improve performance, durability, and capacity. But the question is if such 20TB drives will be available to the general public.

“We will start volume shipments of our 20TB CMR hard drives based on OptiNAND technology next month,” Western Digital CEO David Goeckler said on a conference call with analysts and investors.

Western Digital’s OptiNAND-enabled 20TB HDDs use the company’s well-known nine-platter 7200RPM helium-filled architecture with energy-assisted perpendicular magnetic recording technology (ePMR).

OptiNAND improves the platform by storing multiple types of metadata data on the EFD rather than rotating media. The technology frees up space onboard and allows the controller to access metadata relating to repetitive runout (RRO) and adjacent track interference (ATI) more quickly, resulting in improved performance.

Because the quantity of metadata held on current HDDs is so large, shifting it to NAND makes perfect sense in terms of both usable capacity and performance. Furthermore, OptiNAND improves the dependability of hard disc drives.

Western Digital’s OptiNAND-equipped HDDs are designed for cloud data centres and companies, according to the company. However, because OptiNAND is positioned to solve all hard drive performance and effective area density concerns, nothing should prevent a user from placing such a drive in a desktop or NAS and taking benefit of all of OptiNAND’s features.

Unlike its SMR-based HDDs, however, these drives make a lot of sense in this market. Unless, of course, they’re priced out of reach for the typical enthusiast.

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