Western Digital to Ship 20TB OptiNAND HDDs in November

Western Digital
(Image credit: Western Digital)

Western Digital this week said that it would start volume shipments of its 20TB hard drives featuring OptiNAND technology next month. Western Digital's OptiNAND technology uses an iNAND UFS embedded flash drive (EFD) with an HDD to improve performance, reliability, and capacity. But the question is, will those 20TB drives be available to consumers?

"Next month, we will commence volume shipments of our 20TB CMR hard drives based on OptiNAND technology," said David Goeckler, chief executive of Western Digital, on a call with analysts and investors.  

Western Digital's 20TB HDDs with OptiNAND rely on the company's familiar nine-platter 7200RPM helium-filled platform that uses energy-assisted perpendicular magnetic recording technology (ePMR). 

OptiNAND adds several advantages to the platform as it stores various kinds of metadata data on the EFD instead of rotating media. The tech frees up onboard and makes metadata related to repeatable runout (RRO) and adjacent track interference (ATI) available to the controller faster, optimizing performance. The amount of metadata stored on modern HDDs is quite significant, so offloading it to NAND makes perfect sense both from a usable capacity and performance point of view. Furthermore, OptiNAND also boosts the reliability of HDDs.

Officially, Western Digital's OptiNAND-equipped HDDs are meant for cloud data centers and enterprises. However, OptiNAND is poised to solve performance and effective area density challenges of all hard drives, so nothing can stop a user from installing such a drive into a desktop or NAS and taking advantage of all the features that OptiNAND has to offer

At this point, we have no idea whether Western Digital plans to offer OptiNAND-equipped 20TB HDDs to the channel. However, unlike its SMR-based HDDs, these drives actually make a lot of sense for this market. Unless, of course, they are priced at levels not accessible to average enthusiasts.

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • dewmeister3
    Admin said:
    Western Digital preps to start shipments of 20TB HDD with OptiNAND technology.

    Western Digital to Ship 20TB OptiNAND HDDs in November : Read more
  • dewmeister3
    Great to see larger HDD's. Should be fantastic for home NAS users as my self. I currently have 4 x 14TB drives in an expansion unit attached to my QNAP TVS-1282. Would like to thank Western Digital, Seagate and the other HDD's manufacturers not mentioned for all the great work in the mass storage area. Long live the mechanical HDD!!!
  • gg83
    I wonder why this tech wasn't used a long time ago. I felt like it was a no-brainer.
  • vern72
    Just when I think they've reached the limits of mechanical drives then something bigger comes out. Great!
  • dudeman509
    gg83 said:
    I wonder why this tech wasn't used a long time ago. I felt like it was a no-brainer.
    Seagate has had a "SSHD" lineup for a while. Platter drive with a small SSD cache for things like boot up or commonly used files.

    In my limited experience, they worked well speeding up boot times, but the laptop drives weren't very reliable. It would occasionally flush out the cache entirely with large read/write operations (eg installing a new game) and the next bootup would take an eternity.

    Then SSDs became way cheaper with similar amounts of storage, and that became the no-brainer way to go.