Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Western Digital

Introduction

Introduction:

Last July, I went on a bit of a mini-rant about how using a bunch of drives not meant to be in a RAID could potentially lead to loss of the entire array from only a few bad sectors spread across several disks. Western Digital solved this problem by their introduction of the WD Red series. That series capped out at 3TB, and users were pushing for larger storage capacities for their NAS devices. In addition to the need for larger disks came the need for *smaller* disks as well, as there are some manufacturers that wish to create NAS / HTPC type devices that house multiple 2.5" HDD's. One such device is the Drobo Mini - a 4x2.5" device which has not really had a 'proper' NAS storage element available - until now:

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Today Western Digital has announced a twofold expansion to their Red Series. First is a 4TB capacity in their 3.5" series, and second is a 2.5" iteration of the Red, available in both 750GB and 1TB capacities.

As a recap of what can potentially happen if you have a large RAID with 'normal' consumer grade HDD's (and by consumer grade I mean those without any form of Time Limited Error Recovery, or TLER for short):

  • Array starts off operating as normal, but drive 3 has a bad sector that cropped up a few months back. This has gone unnoticed because the bad sector was part of a rarely accessed file.
  • During operation, drive 1 encounters a new bad sector.
  • Since drive 1 is a consumer drive it goes into a retry loop, repeatedly attempting to read and correct the bad sector.
  • The RAID controller exceeds its timeout threshold waiting on drive 1 and marks it offline.
  • Array is now in degraded status with drive 1 marked as failed.
  • User replaces drive 1. RAID controller initiates rebuild using parity data from the other drives.
  • During rebuild, RAID controller encounters the bad sector on drive 3.
  • Since drive 3 is a consumer drive it goes into a retry loop, repeatedly attempting to read and correct the bad sector.
  • The RAID controller exceeds its timeout threshold waiting on drive 3 and marks it offline.
  • Rebuild fails.
  • Blamo, your data is now (mostly) inaccessible.

I went into much further detail on this back in the intro to the WD 3TB Red piece, but the short of it is that you absolutely should use a HDD intended for RAID when building one, and Western Digital is removing that last excuse for not doing so by introducing a flagship 4TB capacity to the Red Series.

Continue reading our review of the new WD 3.5" and 2.5" Hard Drives!!

WD Improves Red, expands line to include 4TB and 2.5" form factor

Subject: Storage | September 3, 2013 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, red, NAS, hdd

Today Western Digital launched both a 4TB 3.5" Red, as well as a new 2.5" form factor available in both 750GB and 1TB:

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The full press blast from WD appears after the break. Once you're done perusing, be sure to check out our Full Review of these two new models!

Western Digital shrinks 1TB 2.5" WD Blue HDD down to 7mm

Subject: Storage | June 3, 2013 - 08:15 AM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, Blue, 7mm, 1TB

Today Western Digital continues their push for smaller and thinner mobile hard drives by releasing a 1TB revision to their 7mm Blue series of mobile devices:

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Looking at the new spec sheet, the new 1TB Blue carries increased cache (16MB) and reduced Drive Ready time (2.8 sec) as compared to their previous 9.5mm 1TB models.

Press blast after the break.

Western Digital refreshes enterprise lineup, launches new Se series datacenter HDD

Subject: Storage | May 28, 2013 - 08:15 AM |
Tagged: Xe, western digital, wdc, se, RE, hdd

Today Western Digital did a slight rearranging of their enterprise product lineup:

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Starting from the top down, the Xe series is essentially a SAS version of their 2.5" 10k RPM VelociRaptor form factor, available in 300GB, 600GB, and 900GB capacities. The Re series is the same 'RE' we are all familiar with, and is now available in both SAS and SATA. That bottom block, however, is something new:

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The Se series is Western Digital's attempt at a lower cost Re series drive, and will be available in capacities up to 4TB. 

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So the Se is an Advanced Format version of the Re, designed for reduced workloads. Throughput is slightly reduced due to differences in track geometry, though WD let me know they expect final shipping Se's may be closer to the Re spec than the slide indicates. The Se carries the same RPM as well as StableTrac (where the spindle is supported at both ends), RAFF (where accelerometers compensate for chassis vibration), and TLER (where IO request timeouts are adjusted to play nicely with hardware RAID).

The key to the success of the Se will be just what sort of reduced cost Western Digital is able to price the drive at. That information, as well as a full review of an Se, will be coming later today, just as soon as our next batch of samples arrives.

Western Digital updates mobile Blue series with 5mm thin HDD

Subject: Storage | April 23, 2013 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: wdc, WD, hdd, 5mm

Today Western Digital launched their new 5mm 2.5" Blue. This model will only come in 500GB. Capacity options are limited presumably due to a single 500GB platter, which is about all you can fit into a housing that's only 5mm thick.

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The drive launches at an MSRP of $89.00, but don't rush out to buy one just yet. The new drive will require a purpose-built installation, as it uses a new SFF-8784 edge connector to receive data and power from the host system. You're basically going to need a laptop that has a bay designed for just this drive, which may take a while.

Press blast after the break!

Source:

Western Digital's new Xe HDDs bridge the legacy enterprise SAS storage gap

Subject: Storage | April 22, 2013 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: wdc, WD, SAS, hdd

Today Western Digital launched a new line of Hard Disk Drives. The Xe is very similar to their VelociRaptor, with the same 2.5"-3.5" heat sink adapter plate. The primary difference, however, is these units feature Dual Port SAS connectivity.

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The new drives feature a 5-year warranty and will come in 300, 600, and 900GB capacities. With SAS HDD's becoming scarce lately, there is a definite gap developing in existing legacy SAS systems. We're glad to see a lower power SAS-connected 10,000 RPM offering to help bridge that gap.

Full press blast after the break:

CES 2013: Western Digital thin 5mm and 7mm hard drives now also come in hybrid SSHD!

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2013 - 10:03 PM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, western digital, wdc, sshd, hybrid, 5mm, 7mm

Today Western Digital showed me their new 5mm and 7mm mobile hard drives. These are very thin, intended for Ultrabooks, and come not only in the familiar Blue product line, but also in a new Solid State Hard Drive (SSHD). The new thin hybrid models are dubbed WD Black. The 5mm Blue and Black will be available in 500GB capacities:

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Adding another 500GB to reach a 1TB capacity point requires another platter, and therefore another 2mm, bringing the 1TB Blue and Black to 7mm:

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The WD Black SSHD will come with either 16 ot 24GB of flash memory cache (varying based on OEM configuration / request). More to follow on these once we can get some hours logged on their new models.

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Western Digital launches 4TB RE Series in both SATA and SAS flavors

Subject: Storage | September 27, 2012 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, RE, RAID Edition, raid

Today Western Digital announced a new line of RAID Edition (RE) drives. While the WD RE series is not new, preceded by the RE4-GP and faster spinning RE4, it was certainly overdue for an update.

WD RE 4TB.jpg

This update brings the maximum capacity to 4TB and includes a SAS line as well. SATA connectivity will be 6Gb/sec, while SAS will employ dual port full duplex connectivity for the higher end enterprise sector. These drives appear to use the same platter capacity scheme employed by the recent WD Red Series, though the PR blast states 800GB/platter. I'm awaiting clarification on that point, as the math doesn't seem to work out evenly. Pricing is at a premium for these models, as they are intended for enterprise use. Mid to high $400's for SATA and SAS. Pricey, but still 1/10th of current good deals on SSDs.

Press blast (and detailed pricing) after the break!

IDF 2012: Western Digital shows off 5mm Hybrid HDD

Subject: Storage | September 12, 2012 - 02:08 PM |
Tagged: idf, idf 2012, western digital, wdc, 5mm, hybrid hdd

At the Technology Showcase yesterday during IDF I got see in person the new Western Digital hybrid hard drives that will combine a single platter spinning disk with a NAND flash for a hybrid solution at under 5mm thick.

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You can see that is barely enough z-height for a standard installation screw and this will really help get larger amounts of storage into thinner devices.  WD will have it available in 500GB and 1TB versions though the 1TB model will come in a slightly higher 7mm variety. 

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The WD Blue models will be spinning disk only while the WD Black will combine as much as 32GB of flash memory but it could vary based on the specific OEM request and considerations. 

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Another requirement of this new form factor is the need for a new connector, conveniently named SFF-8038, that handles both power and data. 

We are still waiting for pricing information, but another wave of hybrid technology looks to be on its way!

Subject: Storage

Introduction and Internals

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Introduction:

I'm going to let the cat out of the bag right here and now. Everyone's home RAID is likely an accident waiting to happen. If you're using regular consumer drives in a large array, there are some very simple (and likely) scenarios that can cause it to completely fail. I'm guilty of operating under this same false hope - I have an 8-drive array of 3TB WD Caviar Greens in a RAID-5. For those uninitiated, RAID-5 is where one drive worth of capacity is volunteered for use as parity data, which is distributed amongst all drives in the array. This trick allows for no data loss in the case where a single drive fails. The RAID controller can simply figure out the missing data by running the extra parity through the same formula that created it. This is called redundancy, but I propose that it's not.

Continue on for our full review of the solution to this not-yet-fully-described problem!