Western Digital Reworks Enterprise Lineup, Launches 8TB Gold Datacenter HDD

Subject: Storage | April 19, 2016 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: Xe, western digital, wdc, WD, se, RE, Media Cache, hgst, HelioSeal, gold, 8TB

Western Digital rolled out their Se / Re / Xe branding back in mid-2013. Since that time, a lot has changed in the rapidly evolving enterprise storage industry. SSDs are encroaching into more of the data center rack space out there, and the need for small capacity 10k and 15k RPM drives is dropping substantially in favor of more power efficient (in power and capacity per dollar), larger spinning disks.

With these winds of change comes today’s announcement from Western Digital:

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The new Gold lineup appears to be a merging of old and new product lines. The 6TB and below Re series are essentially being absorbed under the new Gold label, but 6TB will no longer be the top capacity offered to WD enterprise customers. A new 8TB capacity will be offered in the form of a HelioSeal drive. The 8TB model will share more parts with the HGST He8 than WD’s previously released 8TB Red, including HGST’s Media Cache architecture, which should yield a nice boost to sustained random write performance over drives lacking this technology.

The press release does not state this, but I suspect WD will be phasing out their Se and Xe product lines over the coming months in favor of Helium-filled drives of the 5400 (Red) and 7200 (Gold) RPM variety. Fewer lines to manage should help them tighten things up a bit and reduce costs even further over time.

We’ll be reviewing the new 8TB Gold just as soon as samples arrive for testing, so stay tuned!

Full press blast appears after the break.

WESTERN DIGITAL ENHANCES ITS DATACENTER PORTFOLIO

WITH WD GOLD HARD DRIVES

New Color Designated Line Features up to 8TB Capacity with Optimal Performance, High Capacity and Enhanced Reliability for Datacenter Applications

IRVINE, Calif. – Apr. 19, 2016– Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC), a world leader in storage solutions, today announced the expansion of its award-winning color portfolio with a new line; WD Gold™ datacenter hard drives. WD Gold datacenter hard drives are designed for a broad range of applications – including small- to medium-scale enterprise servers and storage, and rack-mount datacenter servers and storage enclosures. WD Gold drives are currently available at select U.S. distributors, resellers and through the WD Store.

     With purpose-driven designs for the datacenter, WD Gold datacenter hard drives are launching with a new, high-capacity configuration of up to 8TB that offers HelioSeal® helium-technology for performance, ideal capacity per square foot, power efficiency and low power consumption for datacenter environments. WD Gold datacenter hard drives feature an optimized design with an 8TB option that helps reduce the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of servers and storage systems, benefiting IT administrators challenged with growing storage capacity needs on limited budgets. WD Gold hard drives will also include a premium dedicated support line for customers worldwide.

     “Western Digital has a proven history of providing award-winning purpose-driven products for unique requirements of each application environment, like WD Red®, WD Purple® and WD Blue® drives,” said Brendan Collins vice president of product marketing, Western Digital Corporation. “WD Gold is a pinnacle part of the color portfolio strategy and another step in creating optimized drives for the markets we serve. Our continued goal is to deliver the most competitive and reliable solutions on the market.”

WD Gold datacenter hard drives include:

•       Improved power efficiency - New electronics enhance power efficiency up to 15 percent. HelioSeal technology enables up to 26 percent lower power consumption.

•       Better performance – Up to 18 percent sequential performance improvement over previous generation WD Re™ 4TB datacenter drives, and up to 30 percent improvement in random write performance over previous generation WD Re 6TB datacenter drives through media-based cache, and up to 3x improvement over competitive offerings

High reliability – WD Gold incorporates best-of-breed design, manufacturing and test processes to achieve one of the highest reliability ratings in the industry – 2.5 million hours MTBF (8TB offering)

·      Dedicated Premium Support Line and WD Gold Model Numbers – Western Digital offers a 24/7 premium support line for WD Gold customers and can be reached at U.S.: (855) 559-3733; International: +80055593733. WD Gold model numbers:

  • 8TB: WD8002FRYZ
  • 6TB: WD6002FRYZ
  • 4TB: WD4002FYYZ

     More information about the WD Gold hard drives and terms of the limited warranty may be found on the company website at www.wd.com.

About Western Digital

     Founded in 1970, Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC), Irvine, Calif., is an industry-leading developer and manufacturer of storage solutions that enable people to create, manage, experience and preserve digital content. It is a long-time innovator in the storage industry. Western Digital Corporation is responding to changing market needs by providing a full portfolio of compelling, high-quality storage products with effective technology deployment, high efficiency, flexibility and speed. Its products are marketed under the HGST 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.


April 19, 2016 | 08:13 AM - Posted by Cyclops

What's next? 10TB Platinum?

April 19, 2016 | 09:01 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Maybe the first 15,000 RPM 1,68" Helium-filled SATA HDD? You can call it Shark instead of Raptor, Velociraptor or Cheetah. Good old mechanical drive is more reliable than any SSD even if geeks pretend it's safe to reinstall the system twice a month.

April 19, 2016 | 11:26 PM - Posted by patrickjp93 (not verified)

I'm afraid Google disagrees with you. SSDs have officially surpassed HDDs in reliability.

April 20, 2016 | 03:09 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Google spam from geeks (< 5 % market share) won't make their dream come true... SSD is and will always be a built-in obsolescence technology since it is based on Flash memory. Can you restore your data from your overhyped SSD without RAID?

April 20, 2016 | 09:30 AM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

SandForce says hi.

April 19, 2016 | 08:35 AM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

Alright, here's the thing: all I see around all the time since the very day helium drives started shipping across the world, is everyone bitching about helium HDDs being a fad and a useless tech due to the proclaimed fact that helium still leaks no matter what and thus these drives are bound to stop working no matter what and pretty soon too. Is this even a thing with these, I dare to ask? Is there at least some reasonable point to actually listen to that bitching of grey masses and pro-SSD lobbyists? Does the helium in helium drives actually leak? Is this a faulty-by-default type of a technology?

April 19, 2016 | 09:49 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I prefer Helium leaks (or Air-filled) for the long term rather than weared cells and buggy firmwares...

April 19, 2016 | 11:21 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

If this was any sort of real problem then data centers using He6's (out for a few years now) would be facing epidemics as all of their drives would be failing.

There is less working against the seals in this case. It's not like a balloon that is under pressure - the seal only has to keep He (at similar pressure) from mixing with atmosphere. Even if some made it out, it would create a slight vacuum, and assuming the seal was still successful in keeping air out, the system would reach an equilibrium, meaning no further He would escape. It's like that trick where you have the glass full of water upside down on the table, only reversed.

April 19, 2016 | 05:03 PM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

If I remember it correctly, helium was used in the first place simply so that they'll be able to put platters and reading heads closer to each other, so that they'll manage to cram more in the same form-factor. Everything there is super-tight, due to that. Shouldn't this also mean that if any helium leakage to occur AT ALL, then it would undoubtedly lead to a complete working failure of the said tightly crammed heads? Because helium is basically the only thing that makes them work in such a tight space, essentially. Can you elaborate on answering this one? Also - "data centers" in general are servers, and those kinds of involvements are actually quite more prone to inevitable and often failures than home or workstation environments simply due to "data centers" having massive numbers of units used at the same time and cluster structure of the surrounding environment itself. BackBlaze's servers, for example. Tons of hard drives die there each and every single day. Meaning that even if the helium drive might turn out to be a decently reliable long-term solution in a typical home/mainstream user environment, it is highly likely to fail quite faster in a typical cluster environment of a server room, no?

April 21, 2016 | 09:06 AM - Posted by Val

Does helium leak? i guess it depends on the sealing tech. HGST says their HelioSeal HDDs can be submerged in liquid (water cooled?). But, yeah I'm kind of a pessimist with this tech.

Thing is, mechanical HDD needs a breakthrough technology and they can't find an good and all-solution. IMO, SMR and HAMR are worse than Helium because they only target capacity while Helium tackle temperature and power usage too. Mechanical HDD future is, currently, not good. (ಠ_ಠ)

April 21, 2016 | 06:28 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

People still use car to move while plane is faster so why not HDD in the future? The fact is mechanical storage is the cheapest technology available and even 3D marketing breakthrough won't compete this in the future.

April 26, 2016 | 02:08 AM - Posted by Val

Ofcourse, I agree. Like mechanical watch, we still have that though it's pricier than digital now.

April 19, 2016 | 06:55 PM - Posted by Lance Ripplinger (not verified)

So the Red drives and Gold branded drives will be similar then? Just a platter speed difference between 5400 and 7200rpm? Or will the Gold lineup have extra features not in the Red drive?

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