WD and HGST Refresh Enterprise SSDs to Include 8TB, Push HDDs to 12TB and Beyond

Subject: Storage | December 6, 2016 - 08:58 AM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, ultrastar, ssd, SS200, SN200, SAS, NVMe, hgst, helium, He8, He6, He12, He10, He, hdd, 12TB, 10TB

Since their acquisition of SanDisk and recent wrapping up of a long-time integration with HGST's Helium tech, Western Digital took the lid off of a round of product updates this morning.

View Full Size

First up is a second generation of HGST-branded SSD products - the Ultrastar SN200. These enterprise SSDs boast impressive specs, pushing random reads beyond 1 million IOPS, coming in 8TB capacity, and if you opt for the HHHL PCIe 3.0 x8 SN260, 6.2GB/s maximum throughput.

View Full Size

Moving into SAS SSDs, the SS200 uses a 12Gbit link to achieve 1.8 GB/s and 250,000 random read IOPS. Write specs dip to 37,000 random as this is a 1 DWPD endurance class product. These are also available in up to 8TB capacities.

View Full Size

Last but certainly not least are preliminary specs for the He12, which boast particularly impressive low QD random write performance and a notable bump in Watts/TB despite the addition of an eighth platter to achieve the 12TB capacity. Note that this is not an archive class product and is meant for continuous random access.

View Full Size

There is also a 14TB model in the lineup, but that is an archive class model that is essentially the He12 with Shingled Magnetic Recording enabled.

View Full Size

Not bad HDD progress considering we were just discussing 10TB SMR this time last year. We'll be confirming the performance of these as samples arrive for testing.

Press blast appears after the break.


New Enterprise-Class HDDs and SSDs Deliver Breakthrough Performance and Capacity

IRVINE, CA — Dec. 6, 2016 — Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) today further expanded its data center SSD and HDD portfolio with the introduction of next-generation storage solutions designed to help IT managers address the intensive data and extreme performance demands of today’s enterprise, cloud and hyperscale workloads.

     The new solutions include the blazingly fast HGST-branded Ultrastar™ SN200 NVMe-compatible PCIe solid-state drive (SSD) series, which offers class leading random read performance of up to 1.2 million IOPS in key workloads1, and the company’s fastest and highest capacity SAS SSD to date, the HGST-branded Ultrastar SS200 Series SSD. The company also introduced its fourth-generation helium-based HelioSeal™ enterprise-class hard disk drive (HDD), the 12TB2 HGST-branded Ultrastar He12 drive. Additionally, the company announced it will extend the He12 platform to 14TB, leveraging Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR).

     “We have raised the bar in enterprise storage with our most advanced and highest capacity enterprise class SAS SSD, NVMe SSD, and HDD solutions to date,” said Mark Grace, senior vice president of devices at Western Digital. “The unparalleled performance of the new Ultrastar SN200 Series NVMe PCIe solution brings outstanding responsiveness and throughput to even the most demanding data center applications, while our new Ultrastar SS200 Series SSD delivers the ideal balance of speed and capacity to the high volume workloads and critical applications that are best addressed by the capabilities of SAS SSDs. Additionally, the He12 HDD is a great addition to our enterprise hard drive family, leveraging the HelioSeal platform to deliver the highest capacity with exceptional power efficiency. With their outstanding reliability and Quality of Service (QoS), these new additions to our industry-leading data center portfolio enable customers across the spectrum to meet their evolving and dynamic data center demand.”

Ultrastar SN200 SSD Delivers Next-Generation NVMe PCIe Storage Capacity, Speed

     The Ultrastar SN200 NVMe SSD Series is the highest capacity NVMe PCIe SSD available today in 2.5-inch and Half-Height, Half-Length (HH-HL) form factors. Leveraging Western Digital’s advanced memory technology, it is the company’s fastest NVMe PCIe SSD to date, offering up to 100 percent more sequential read, and up to 61 percent more random read performance than the company’s previous-generation NVMe-compliant SSD3, the HGST-branded Ultrastar SN150 SSD. Available in capacities ranging from 800GB to 7.68TB, the extreme performance and superior capacity of the new NVMe PCIe SSD, in combination with its outstanding QoS, make it ideal for workload-intensive cloud and hyperscale environments that demand instant response times, such as ecommerce, search and social networks, as well as environments processing massive volumes of data in real-time, including intensive analytics.

Ultrastar SS200 SAS Enterprise-Class SSD Transforms Data Centers

     The Ultrastar SS200 SSD is the highest capacity and highest performing SAS SSD from the company to date. It is built to efficiently deliver superior capacity, low-latency performance and the outstanding endurance needed to help data center managers address the rapidly growing volume and velocity of data from today’s critical applications, while at the same time balancing their total cost of ownership (TCO). Offered in capacities up to 7.68TB, it brings new capabilities and possibilities to storage arrays, hyperconverged and software-defined architectures that require dual-port design with a SAS interface. 

     The enterprise class Ultrastar SS200 SSD is available in two endurance classes to meet customers’ needs, including 1 and 3 random drive writes per day (DWPD)4. Leveraging advanced NAND management technology, the SSD offers tremendous read performance (up to 1,800MB/s sequential/up to 250,0000 4KiB IOPS random) without compromising on write performance (up to 1,000 MB/s sequential/up to 86,000 4KiB IOPS random)5. This makes it ideal for a wide variety of data intensive, critical enterprise and cloud-based applications.

     In addition, the Ultrastar SS200, leverages the company’s latest generation Guardian TechnologyTM platform, a proprietary and comprehensive set of features and technologies that significantly improve endurance and reliability, help safeguard against data loss, and further ensure outstanding QoS.

Ultrastar He12 Helium HDD

     The He12 is Western Digital’s fourth generation helium HDD, featuring an industry-first eight-disk design, to deliver 12TB capacity using PMR technology in a standard 3.5-inch form factor. It is the world’s highest capacity hard disk drive for active random workloads. Utilizing Western Digital’s unique HelioSeal process that seals helium in the drive to help provide the highest capacity HDD and exceptional power efficiency, the He12 comes in a single 12TB capacity point and offers either a SATA or SAS interface both using Advanced Format. HelioSeal technology utilizes helium with 1/7 the density of air, enabling the use of thinner disks, while maintaining a stable recording interface. The unique He12 design adds an eighth disk, two more than the highest capacity air-based drive, which enabled the capacity increase to 12TB, 50 percent more than the highest air-based design. This additional capacity provides for increased storage density, reducing associated data center infrastructure required to store a given amount of data. It also encompasses a low-power design without compromising performance, which helps reduce overall cost of ownership. The He12 is perfect for any application that requires massive amounts of cost-effective storage.

     The company will extend the He12 platform further, leveraging SMR to provide even more capacity from the same essential hardware. The SMR version of the drive will deliver 14TB and will support, in particular, many cloud service providers that have implemented SMR support in their software architectures to more cost effectively store ever increasing data associated with the services they provide.

Features & Specifications:

Ultrastar SN200 NVMe PCIe SSD Series

  • PCIe Gen 3 & NVMe 1.2 compatible
  • Offering best-in-class 70/30 mixed read/write random performance of up to 560,000 4KiB IOPS6
  • Storage capacity up to 7.68TB in both 2.5-inch SFF and HH-HL AIC form factors; the highest capacity NVMe PCIe SSD available in these form factors
  • Superior Enterprise-grade reliability: Flash-aware RAID, end- to-end data-path protection, advanced ECC, secure erase, PowerSafe™ power-loss protection

Ultrastar SS200 SAS SSD

  • Enterprise-grade 12Gb/s SAS SSD; backward compatible with 6Gb/s SAS
  • Available in capacities from 400GB to 7.68TB in 2.5-inch drive form factor
  • Read Performance: Up to 1,800MB/s sequential read and up to 250,000 4KiB IOPS in random reads
  • Write Performance: Up to 1,000MB/s sequential writes; endurance of 3 or 1 random drive writes per day for 5 years
  • Data Security: Instant Secure Erase (ISE) & Self-Encrypting Drive (SED) options including TCG Enterprise

Ultrastar He12 Helium HDD

  • HelioSeal: Western Digital’s fourth generation, based on exclusive HelioSeal technology, bringing the highest capacity HDD to market much sooner than competing technologies
  • World’s first 8 disk design, 12TB capacity, available with either 12Gb/s SAS or 6Gb/s SATA interface
  • Data Security: Instant Secure Erase, sanitize and safely redeploy HDDs using the Instant Secure Erase feature
  • SED Features: Help protect end user data with encryption (Self Encrypting Drive)
  • Reliability: Amongst the industry’s highest MTBF rating at 2.5M hours with a 5-year limited warranty


The Ultrastar SN200 NVMe SSD Series and the Ultrastar SS200 SAS SSD are currently sampling to select customers, and will be generally available in the first quarter of the 2017 calendar year. The company is also currently sampling to select OEMs the Ultrastar He12, which will be generally available the first half of the 2017 calendar year, and the 14TB SMR HDD, which will be generally available in the middle of 2017 calendar year.   

About Western Digital                         

Western Digital is an industry-leading provider of storage technologies and solutions that enable people to create, leverage, experience and preserve data. The company addresses ever-changing market needs by providing a full portfolio of compelling, high-quality storage solutions with customer-focused innovation, high efficiency, flexibility and speed. Our products are marketed under the HGST, SanDisk and WD brands to OEMs, distributors, resellers, cloud infrastructure providers and consumers. Financial and investor information is available on the company's Investor Relations website at investor.wdc.com.

Source: HGST

Video News

December 6, 2016 | 12:17 PM - Posted by Michael Rand (not verified)

Good lord, time to start saving up again, those 12TB drives look tasty.

December 6, 2016 | 01:10 PM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

12TB on an HDD? Isn't that just physically impossible EVEN with HAMR (unless you're going 10+ plates and hence thicker/bigger form-factor than 3.5", of course)? If my memory is right, standard (HAMRless) platter's maximum physical capacity is 750~something GB, and HAMR allows to expand that to 950~1250GB per one platter tops. No way in hell you can fit something like that into a standard 3.5" format for an HDD if you're going beyond 8TB in it's capacity.

December 6, 2016 | 06:14 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I like lots of platters as then the read/write heads can store more info without having to step. I’d like there to be that OS option to keep files stored on a single cylinder, or adjacent cylinders so the more platters the larger the storage space in the cylinder!

Hell have 8 platters(16 surfaces) for data and 2 platters(4 surfaces) to store the CRC/ECC bits for some interesting cylinder mode data/file allocation with error correction!

December 7, 2016 | 08:47 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

These will fit 12TB in a standard 3.5" form factor drive, using no HAMR and no SMR. Standard PMR. It may be Advanced Format (4KB ECC), but that's fairly common these days. They are adding an 8th platter though, so the bump in per-platter capacity is not as severe as with the last jump. The helium (or effects of switching to helium) does help increase per-platter density. That math does work out to 1.5TB per platter, or 750GB per single platter side.

December 8, 2016 | 12:45 AM - Posted by digiboy (not verified)

I'd say if helium does help increase per-platter density, then it is simply a race for HDD manufacturers to add more platters. The next step would be to make platter thinner so that a single HDD can have 20 platters! If its already at minimum thickness, then they need to invent a new material combo. There's still hope for mechanical drives!

December 8, 2016 | 11:19 PM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

Wait, WHAT?
Are you saying they're writing to BOTH sides of the platter now? That feels kinda nasty, to be honest. There's got to be a crapton of heads in there, to do something like that. That can't be good in a long-term scenario, IMHO.

December 6, 2016 | 01:27 PM - Posted by Fourty7

Nice to finally see an 8 lane PCI-E drive being utilized! Interesting product.. Wonder how many packages/dies are on the SN260 to get that 6.2gb/s though.

Thanks for the great in depth article as always Allyn!

January 6, 2017 | 05:06 PM - Posted by pyite (not verified)

The SN260 is x4. I can easily get 6 GB/sec on reads with both the 3.2T and 6.4T sizes. This thing is a monster.

It's tough to say how many nand chips are on there with the heatsinks and stickers, but it looks like maybe 24 (12 per side).

January 6, 2017 | 05:13 PM - Posted by pyite (not verified)

I lied, it really is x8.

December 6, 2016 | 01:28 PM - Posted by DiamondMines

I have just, 2 days ago actually, was able to order a 250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2. I think it will take around 2-3 years for consumers to get their hands on one of these. They should be less than 5 cent a gigabyte. But good to see the death of hard drives nonetheless. They should almost be history by 2020. Let's see.

December 6, 2016 | 01:44 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How long helium will be kept inside?
As soon it leaks out the drive overheats and dies?

December 6, 2016 | 10:50 PM - Posted by remc86007

I believe they are completely sealed.

December 7, 2016 | 03:09 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Helium will slowly permeate through the cover seal, won't it?

December 7, 2016 | 06:51 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The Helium is completely sealed inside the drive, 2.5M hours MTBF!

Check this link for the details on the technology used for sealing Helium in the drive:

December 7, 2016 | 10:55 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Thanks. Still hard for me to believe that HDD is 10 times as reliable as heatpipe.

December 7, 2016 | 02:34 AM - Posted by Baldrick's Trousers (not verified)

Excellent. More space for porn.



December 8, 2016 | 12:51 AM - Posted by aporntice (not verified)

Interesting. How do you keep them? With RAID or separate backups? Do you neatly file them? How do you categorize? Do you use some software to help with searching? Do you keep or replace if there is a higher resolution?

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote><p><br>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.