Western Digital unveils new NVMe SSDs for scaling data-centric architectures

Western Digital today announced a suite of new NVMe SSDs for enabling next-generation, data-centric architectures for data centers, industrial IoT, automotive and client applications.

Western Digital NVMe SSDs

The new family includes the Ultrastar DC ZN540 ZNS NVMe SSD for designing a more efficient data center storage tier with competitive TCO; the Western Digital IX SN530 Industrial SSD for the extreme environments of industrial and automotive applications; and the 2TB WD Blue SN550 NVMe SSD for speeding up PC performance.

Leveraging Western Digital’s vertical integration capabilities – from designing and manufacturing its NAND flash to developing its own in-house SSD controllers and firmware – the new products underscore the company’s continued strength and commitment in driving storage innovation for new system architectures, applications and use cases for global customers across cloud, OEM, enterprise, channel and retail end-user markets.

Enabling efficient data center architectures

The amount of data created over the next three years will be more than the data created over the past 30 years, according to IDC. Billions of connected systems will generate a myriad of contextualized data sets from smart video to consumer and sensor data, which must be captured, transformed and analyzed to bring value to industries, businesses and people. Legacy architectures cannot keep up with today’s data-intensive environments.

The challenge is how to efficiently and cost-effectively build the data infrastructure that will keep up with data demands of the zettabyte-scale era. Storage is critical and fundamental to creating these new architectures and extracting value from data.

Zoned Storage is the new storage architecture for the next-generation enterprise data center. In addition to championing the Zoned Storage Initiative and ZoneStorage.io, and contributing to the NVMe Working Group ZNS specification and the Linux open source community to further ecosystem development, Western Digital today announced that it is now sampling the new Ultrastar DC ZN540 ZNS NVMe SSD to select customers.

The Ultrastar DC ZN540 ZNS SSD includes a vertically integrated, dual-port, high-availability NVMe controller with capacities up to 8TB in a standard U.2 form-factor. Leveraging ZNS, an industry standard specification, the new DC ZN540 is a new generation of SSD ideally suited for multi-tenancy environments and other data-centric applications such as event stream processing.

Compared to conventional SSDs, the drive delivers up to 4x performance and 2.5x QoS improvements, as well as better efficiency, utilization, and scale while lowering TCO for public and private cloud infrastructure. Western Digital is committed to the development of a comprehensive Zoned Storage ecosystem and application support, which includes managing the synergies of high-capacity SMR HDDs and ZNS SSDs under a standardized unified Zoned Storage framework.

Empowering data-intensive industrial IoT and automotive designs

Western Digital’s new IX SN530 is an industrial-grade NVMe SSD designed for the extreme temperature, performance, high-endurance and reliability requirements found in automotive and industrial applications. Ideal for factory automation, transportation, medical, robotics, drones, defense, retail and other rugged edge environments, the IX SN530 NVMe SSD features a broad operating temperature range from -40°C to +85°C, and delivers a 20G operating vibration specification.

With read performance of up to 2,400 MB/s, it is the high-performance solution for OEMs designing new applications or transitioning from SATA SSDs. It is available in compact M.2 2230 or M.2 2280 form factors with capacity points from 85GB to 2TB. The IX SN530 TLC family is now sampling. SLC versions will be available in January 2021.

Bringing 2TB capacity and speed to content creators

The award-winning WD Blue portfolio now offers its popular WD Blue SN550 NVMe SSD in a 2TB drive, bringing a higher-capacity NVMe solution to content creators, including graphic designers, animators, videographers, architects and software developers.

Whether creating digital art, using CAD software or in post-production, the WD Blue SN550 NVMe SSD delivers over four times the speed of Western Digital’s fastest SATA drives. The WD Blue SN550 2TB is available now for purchase at select Western Digital retailers, e-tailers, resellers, system integrators and at the WD store for $249.99 MSRP.

“Companies across every major industry and every vertical market are using flash technology to transform their businesses. The future of storage is application centric, and optimized for those businesses,” said Robert Soderbery, executive vice president and general manager, Western Digital’s Flash business.

“Today we are launching new SSD products for cloud, enterprise storage, industrial and client computing applications. These new SSDs are critical building blocks for our digital world, enabled by new architectures, giving a variety of customers more options than ever to ensure their data is fast, secure and protected.”

Dropbox qualifies Western Digital Ultrastar 20TB SMR HDD to meet growing cloud storage demands

Empowering the world’s most essential data infrastructures, Western Digital announced that Dropbox is one of the first to qualify the Ultrastar DC HC650 20TB, host-managed, shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard disk drives (HDD).

With Western Digital SMR HDDs serving as the storage foundation for its custom-built, multi-exabyte storage platforms, Dropbox continues its strategic path, taking advantage of the highest storage densities with the lowest TCO without sacrificing data durability and availability for its 600 million+ online customers.

“We’ve been working with Western Digital for many years, and throughout several phases of our storage platform development,” said Andrew Fong, vice president of engineering, Dropbox.

“Online tools and services are more important than ever before, so we need to be able to quickly innovate, expand functionality and scale to help stay competitive.

“We look forward to deploying these higher capacity 20TB SMR hard drives to further our cost savings and to provide our customers with even more value. Western Digital is an important strategic partner and we look forward to continuously pushing cloud infrastructure boundaries together.”

“Dropbox was a pioneer in adopting SMR at scale, and their commitment has definitely paid off, giving them an early mover advantage by enabling rapid development of the highest capacity HDDs in the industry into their cloud infrastructure,” said Andrew Dorian, vice president of enterprise hard drives.

“We are pleased to continue our long-term partnership with Dropbox to help them scale and capitalize on the growing customer demand for cloud services, online storage and remote collaboration tools.”

As the industry’s first 20TB HDDs, the Ultrastar DC HC650 delivers unmatched TCO for scale-out enterprise and cloud data centers through increased storage density and improved power efficiency.

Featuring the highest capacity in the industry, cloud and enterprise customers recognize the benefits of SMR HDDs and are adopting the technology to contend with the massive growth in data.

When considering exabyte-scale needs, and associated capital and operating cost of the data center, the long-term value in terms of lower cost-per-TB, higher density, low power and high reliability can help benefit the bottom line.

Several complementary technology innovations are featured in the Ultrastar DC HC650, including the industry’s first energy-assisted magnetic recording (EAMR) implementation, the industry’s first triple-stage actuator and the fifth generation of HelioSeal technology.

Western Digital SMR HDDs are also an integral part of Zoned Storage, an open-source, standards-based initiative building upon the synergies of SMR HDDs and ZNS SSDs that enables data centers to scale efficiently.

How do I select a data storage solution for my business?

We live in the age of data. We are constantly producing it, analyzing it, figuring out how to store and protect it, and, hopefully, using it to refine business practices. Unfortunately, 58% of organizations make decisions based on outdated data.

While enterprises are rapidly deploying technologies for real-time analytics, machine learning and IoT, they are still utilizing legacy storage solutions that are not designed for such data-intensive workloads.

To select a suitable data storage for your business, you need to think about a variety of factors. We’ve talked to several industry leaders to get their insight on the topic.

Phil Bullinger, SVP and General Manager, Data Center Business Unit, Western Digital

select data storage solutionSelecting the right data storage solution for your enterprise requires evaluating and balancing many factors. The most important is aligning the performance and capabilities of the storage system with your critical workloads and their specific bandwidth, application latency and data availability requirements. For example, if your business wants to gain greater insight and value from data through AI, your storage system should be designed to support the accelerated performance and scale requirements of analytics workloads.

Storage systems that maximize the performance potential of solid state drives (SSDs) and the efficiency and scalability of hard disk drives (HDDs) provide the flexibility and configurability to meet a wide range of application workloads.

Your applications should also drive the essential architecture of your storage system, whether directly connected or networked, whether required to store and deliver data as blocks, files, objects or all three, and whether the storage system must efficiently support a wide range of workloads while prioritizing the performance of the most demanding applications.

Consideration should be given to your overall IT data management architecture to support the scalability, data protection, and business continuity assurance required for your enterprise, spanning from core data centers to those distributed at or near the edge and endpoints of your enterprise operations, and integration with your cloud-resident applications, compute and data storage services and resources.

Ben Gitenstein, VP of Product Management, Qumulo

select data storage solutionWhen searching for the right data storage solution to support your organizational needs today and in the future, it’s important to select a solution that is trusted, scalable to secure demanding workloads of any size, and ensures optimal performance of applications and workloads both on premises and in complex, multi- cloud environments.

With the recent pandemic, organizations are digitally transforming faster than ever before, and leveraging the cloud to conduct business. This makes it more important than ever that your storage solution has built in tools for data management across this ecosystem.

When evaluating storage options, be sure to do your homework and ask the right questions. Is it a trusted provider? Would it integrate well within my existing technology infrastructure? Your storage solution should be easy to manage and meet the scale, performance and cloud requirements for any data environment and across multi-cloud environments.

Also, be sure the storage solution gives IT control in how they manage storage capacity needs and delivers real-time insight into analytics and usage patterns so they can make smart storage allocation decisions and maximize an organizations’ storage budget.

David Huskisson, Senior Solutions Manager, Pure Storage

select data storage solutionData backup and disaster recovery features are critically important when selecting a storage solution for your business, as now no organization is immune to ransomware attacks. When systems go down, they need to be recovered as quickly and safely as possibly.

Look for solutions that offer simplicity in management, can ensure backups are viable even when admin credentials are compromised, and can be restored quickly enough to greatly reduce major organizational or financial impact.

Storage solutions that are purpose-built to handle unstructured data are a strong place to start. By definition, unstructured data means unpredictable data that can take any form, size or shape, and can be accessed in any pattern. These capabilities can accelerate small, large, random or sequential data, and consolidate a wide range of workloads on a unified fast file and object storage platform. It should maintain its performance even as the amount of data grows.

If you have an existing backup product, you don’t need to rip and replace it. There are storage platforms with robust integrations that work seamlessly with existing solutions and offer a wide range of data-protection architectures so you can ensure business continuity amid changes.

Tunio Zafer, CEO, pCloud

select data storage solutionBear in mind: your security team needs to assist. Answer these questions to find the right solution: Do you need ‘cold’ storage or cloud storage? If you’re looking to only store files for backup, you need a cloud backup service. If you’re looking to store, edit and share, go for cloud storage. Where are their storage servers located? If your business is located in Europe, the safest choice is a storage service based in Europe.

Best case scenario – your company is going to grow. Look for a storage service that offers scalability. What is their data privacy policy? Research whether someone can legally access your data without your knowledge or consent. Switzerland has one of the strictest data privacy laws globally, so choosing a Swiss-based service is a safe bet. How is your data secured? Look for a service that offers robust encryption in-transit and at-rest.

Client-side encryption means that your data is secured on your device and is transferred already encrypted. What is their support package? At some point, you’re going to need help. A data storage service with a support package that’s included for free, answers in up to 24 hours is preferred.

Western Digital expands family of WD Purple solutions to fuel smart video workloads

Enabling customers to design and build solutions for a variety of smart video workloads, Western Digital announced its expanded family of WD Purple storage solutions, including the industry’s highest capacity 18TB surveillance HDD for DVRs, NVRs and analytics appliances, and the 1TB WD Purple SC QD101 microSD card for AI-enabled cameras.

Setting the bar for smart video applications, all WD Purple drives are optimized to help reduce frame loss and pixelation, improve overall video playback and enhance streaming for 24×7 workloads – from ingest to backup and long-term storage – as the industry broadens the use of deep learning and analytics.

From commercial buildings to municipalities, businesses are accelerating adoption of AI and deep learning to enable automation and better efficiencies that ultimately help create a safer and better experience for employees, customers and communities.

Deep learning algorithms, hungry for data generated by IoT and edge ecosystems, demand higher resolution for better accuracy, increasing the need for storage capacity in cameras and NVRs.

In its recent report, Video Surveillance & Analytics Intelligence Service, July 2020, Omdia states that shipments of cameras enabled with deep learning algorithms will continue growing at a five-year (2019-2024) CAGR of 67 percent, and NVRs enabled with deep-learning analytics will grow at 37 percent.

Meanwhile, video analytics appliances shipments are expected to grow at 43 percent. In addition, a 2020 Western Digital-commissioned survey of North American security system integration companies found that 76 percent of them see video analytics and AI as playing an ever-increasing role in their deployments.

Beyond hardware

Western Digital’s HDD firmware optimizations and data management capabilities for its WD Purple drives play a critical role in improving system capabilities as well as managing devices across AI-enabled smart video solutions.

The combination helps improve performance, reliability, durability and overall better operational efficiency and TCO for customers. Western Digital’s AllFrame technology for WD Purple HDDs delivers extensive caching and streaming management techniques to help prevent data loss and keep up with ongoing stream management.

Western Digital Device Analytics, a software-based solution for Western Digital’s HDDs, provides monitoring and drive analysis to users, enabling them to detect problematic conditions on a drive and provides instructions for remediation before an issue occurs.

WD Purple 18TB HDD

Leading the industry in capacity for surveillance drives, the new WD Purple 18TB HDD is designed for NVRs and video analytics appliances as well as GPU-enabled devices that can deliver both real-time and post analytics applications.

Offering 28 percent more capacity than the previous generation, the new 18TB drive has room to spare for storing video, reference images and metadata at the edge, to support more effective AI.

WD Purple drives from 8TB to 18TB feature AllFrame AI technology that enables recording of up to 64 high-definition cameras, as well as an additional 32 streams for deep learning analytics.

WD Purple SC QD101 1TB microSD card

This WD Purple 1TB microSD card is designed for AI-enabled cameras, surveillance cameras and edge devices, serving as primary or back-up data storage. It is based on Western Digital’s advanced 96-layer 3D NAND technology, and delivers a combination of ultra-high endurance with up to 500 P/E cycles and comes in 1TB, 512GB, 256GB, 128GB, 64GB and 32GB capacities.

Rugged and durable, the WD Purple microSD card is weather resistant, humidity resistant and can withstand temperatures from -25° degrees to 85° degrees C. In compatible cameras, the card health monitor provides installers and integrators with the ability to gauge the remaining endurance and preemptively service the card if needed.

Availability

The WD Purple 18TB HDD will be available in October 2020, and the WD Purple SC QD101 1TB microSD card is expected to be available in November 2020.

“The new WD Purple drives are uniquely designed for the demands of edge and analytics security video appliances that will enable our customers to gain more insights from their visual data,” said Tim Palmquist, vice president, Americas, Milestone Systems.

“As a leading developer of open and independent IP video surveillance platforms, we value our relationship with Western Digital and are pleased to be working together to provide data storage that can support AI and deep learning, as well as manage multiple streams as video resolutions rise.”

“Leading the charge for the digital transformation of physical security for our customers worldwide, we count on strategic partners such as Western Digital to deliver reliable and high performing storage solutions,” said Martin Renkis, general manager Global Cloud Solutions Physical Security, Johnson Controls.

“Every Tyco Cloud video surveillance solution runs on WD Purple today as it has for many years. As we continue to innovate with features such as cloud-based storage health monitoring and alerts, we will continue to count on Western Digital to deliver the advanced solutions our customers need. We make the world a safer place with Western Digital technology.”

Eric Spanneut, vice president, Client Computing and Smart Video Business at Western Digital, said, “Working side-by-side with our customers and ecosystem partners gives us unique insights and focus on delivering solutions that are optimized for the most advanced security video workloads.

“AI is driving the need for more enhanced capabilities in drives to keep up with performance demands, especially as video resolution and the number of incoming streams increase. We are in a unique position as the combination of our software and expanding drive portfolio makes our solutions ideal for deployment into a multitude of smart video applications.”

Western Digital’s purpose-built portfolio of offerings

The new WD Purple family adds to Western Digital’s growing portfolio of HDD and SSD solutions purpose-built for a variety of market needs. These include the new 16TB and 18TB WD Red Pro HDDs for SMB NAS applications; the enterprise-class 16TB and 18TB WD Gold HDDs; WD Gold NVMe SSDs; WD Black solutions that meet the extreme demands of gamers; as well as WD Blue and WD Green SSDs to boost the computing experience.

Western Digital launches ArmorLock Security Platform for today’s diverse data security needs

Underscoring its mission to enable the world to solve its biggest data challenges by building a data infrastructure with next-gen security, Western Digital introduced the ArmorLock Security Platform.

A data encryption platform that rethinks how data security should be done, the ArmorLock Security Platform was created to help with the diverse security demands of data-centric and content-critical storage use cases in industries as varied as finance, government, healthcare, IT enterprise, legal, and media and entertainment.

As data security concerns continue to rise in visibility, Western Digital plans to apply the platform across a range of storage solutions.

The first product to leverage this advanced technology, the new G-Technology ArmorLock encrypted NVMe SSD, is designed to deliver an easy-to-use, high-performance, high-grade security storage solution for creators in the media and entertainment industry.

Facing the threat of hijacked media files and leaked films, studios, agencies, and especially investors are demanding a better way to protect critical content. While much of the industry’s focus has been on cloud security, data often remains vulnerable on the portable storage devices holding critical commercial content.

Unlike password-based encryption technologies that interrupt workflows and prevent fast availability to digital assets, the ArmorLock Security Platform delivers unmatched security that allows the content owner to control how data is accessed and by whom.

The ArmorLock encrypted NVMe SSD delivers this technology with simplicity, reliability and speed while protecting mission-critical content.

“For our customers, data and digital assets are their essential competitive advantage, and encryption has become mandatory in order to protect these resources in many industries.

“We built the ArmorLock Security Platform with the belief that the world needs new, fundamental technologies to enable data privacy without hampering data availability while helping to protect against data breaches,” said Jim Welsh, senior vice president and general manager of Consumer Solutions Products, Western Digital.

“By combining this new platform with our world-class NVMe SSD products, we are addressing the real pain points our customers face when trying to secure their creative workflows while also allowing them to capture, preserve and access their data at scale and at speed.”

Tom Mitchell, technical director, Mission Digital, said, “We have always gravitated toward G-Technology drives as they have used well-built components that have offered enhanced reliability and performance.

“With big studios and streaming services wanting to protect their assets, there has been a big move to using encrypted media, but in some cases, that comes with a performance hit. ArmorLock fills those needs perfectly; providing a drive that is fast, rugged, water-resistant, reliable and encrypted! It’s the drive the industry has been crying out for.”

New ArmorLock platform enables next-gen security, simply

The ArmorLock Security Platform demonstrates Western Digital’s commitment to providing data storage solutions that enable leading-edge, high-grade security products that everyone can easily use.

A comprehensive set of technologies covers the ArmorLock product lifecycle from manufacturing to out-of-the-box setup, in-field updates, and configuration and key management that ties directly into hardware-backed modules and biometric protection on some of the latest smartphone and desktop platforms.

Designed to help improve how people manage critical data, the ArmorLock platform eliminates the tradeoff between fast access to data and privacy by delivering both at the same time.

Building on its legacy of contributions to open source with RISC-V and OpenTitan, Western Digital also announced the open source release of Sweet B, the high-performance core cryptography library that underlies the ArmorLock Security Platform.

Sweet B is designed to provide a new level of safety and assurance in open source elliptic curve cryptography and its GitHub repository includes documentation, a comprehensive test suite, and an independent third-party audit by the security research firm Trail of Bits.

Key features of the ArmorLock Security Platform include:

  • Manufacturing technologies that provision each device with a root of trust and digital certificate of product authenticity
  • Simple and robust firmware updates delivered straight from the ArmorLock app
  • Open source, third party audited core cryptography with side-channel attack mitigation
  • Sandboxed smartphone and desktop applications delivered through platform-native app stores – no special installer required
  • Communications over wireless and wired connections with zero-touch certificate-based provisioning
  • Password-less authentication and key exchange technologies that directly link storage encryption to hardware-backed biometric authentication
  • Zero-knowledge public key management that helps protect your privacy even if the ArmorLock device is lost or stolen

High-grade security with pro-grade speed and NVMe technology

The ArmorLock encrypted NVMe SSD – delivering up to 1000MB/s read and write speeds via a SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps port – sets a new standard for high-speed encryption products by combining both ease-of-use and next-generation “zero knowledge” security.

With the ArmorLock app, users can unlock the device wirelessly with their phone, using face recognition, a fingerprint, or the phone’s passcode ensuring lost passwords don’t cause missed deadlines. The SSD provides encryption without getting in the way of the workflow by enabling collaboration without the need to tape PINs to the drive.

The ArmorLock mobile and desktop apps also provide fleet managers the ability to configure and manage multiple drives and multiple users to control who has access. Especially important for collaborative workflows that require safe shipping of content between physical locations, the next-gen security in ArmorLock devices enables teams to authorize remote users before sharing the drives using popular messaging and email services.

Other key features of the ArmorLock encrypted NVMe SSD and ArmorLock app include:

  • Simple to setup and easy unlock with your smartphone via the ArmorLock app
  • High-grade 256-bit AES-XTS hardware encryption
  • Secure erase and reformat to your favorite file system in one step
  • Track the last known location of the drive on a map
  • In-field updates for continued security support, improvements, and new features
  • Ultra-rugged durability with IP67 dust/water resistance, up to 3M drop protection and 1000lb crush resistance

Things to consider when selecting enterprise SSDs for critical workloads

The process of evaluating solid state drives (SSDs) for enterprise applications can present a number of challenges. You want maximum performance for the most demanding servers running mission-critical workloads.

We sat down with Scott Hamilton, Senior Director, Product Management, Data Center Systems at Western Digital, to learn more about SSDs and how they fit into current business environments and data centers.

enterprise SSDs

What features do SSDs need to have in order to offer uncompromised performance for the most demanding servers running mission-critical workloads in enterprise environments? What are some of the misconceptions IT leaders are facing when choosing SSDs?

First, IT leaders must understand environmental considerations, including the application, use case and its intended workload, before committing to specific SSDs. It’s well understood that uncompromised performance is paramount to support mission critical workloads in the enterprise environment. However, performance has different meanings to different customers for their respective use cases and available infrastructure.

Uncompromised performance may focus more on latency (and associated consistency), IOPs (and queue depth) or throughput (and block size) depending on the use case and application.

Additionally, the scale of the application and solution dictate the level of emphasis, whether it be interface-, device-, or system-level performance. Similarly, mission-critical workloads may have different expectations or requirements e.g. high availability support, disaster recovery, or performance and performance consistency. This is where IT leaders need to rationalize and test the best fit for their use case.

Today there are many different SSD segments that fit certain types of infrastructure choices and use cases. For example, PCIe SSD options are available from boot drives to performance NVMe SSDs and they come in different form factors such as M.2 (ultra- light and thin) and U.2 (standard 2.5-inch) to name a few. It’s also important to consider power/performance. Some applications do not require interface saturation, and can leverage low-power, single-port mainstream SSDs instead of dual-port, high-power, higher-endurance and higher-performance drives.

IT managers have choices today, which they should consider carefully to rationalize, optimize, infrastructure elasticity and scaling, test and ultimately align their future system architecture strategies when it comes to choosing the best fit SSD. My final word of advice: Sometimes it is not wise to pick the highest performing SSD available on the market as you do not want to pay for a rocket engine for a bike. Understanding the use case and success metrics – e.g., price-capacity, latency, price performance (either $/IOPs or $/GB/sec) – will help eliminate some of the misconceptions IT leaders face when choosing SSDs.

How has the pandemic accelerated cloud adoption and how has that translated to digital transformation efforts and the creation of agile data infrastructures?

The rapid increase in our global online footprint is stressing IT infrastructure from virtual office, live video calls, online classes, healthcare services and content streaming to social media, instant messaging services, gaming and e-commerce. This is the new normal of our personal and professional lives. There is no doubt that the pandemic has increased dependence on cloud data centers and services. Private, public and hybrid cloud use cases will continue to co-exist due to costs, data governance and strategies, security and legacy application support.

Digital transformation continues all around us, and the pandemic accelerated these initiatives. Before the pandemic, digital transformation projects generally spanned over several years with lengthy and exhaustive cycles to go online and scale up their web foot print. However, 2020 has really surprised all of us. Tectonic shifts have happened (and are still happening) with projects now taking only weeks or months even for businesses that are learning to scale up for the first time.

This infrastructure stress will further accelerate technological shifts at as well, whether it be from SAS to NVMe at the endpoints or from DAS- or SAN-based solutions to NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) based solutions to deliver greater agility to meet both dynamic and unforeseen demands of the future.

OPIS

Organizations are scrambling to update their infrastructure, and many are battling inefficient data silos and large operational expenses. How can data centers take full advantage of modern NVMe SSDs?

NVMe SSDs are playing a pivotal role in making the new reality possible for the people and businesses around the world. As users transition from SAS and SATA, NVMe is not only increasing overall system performance and utilization, it’s creating next-generation flexible and agile IT infrastructure as well. Capitalizing on the power of NVMe, SSDs now enable data centers to run more services on their hardware i.e., improved utilization. This is an important consideration for IT leaders and organizations who are looking to improve efficiencies.

NVMe SSDs are helping both public and private cloud infrastructures in various areas such as the highest performance storage, the lowest latency interface and the flexibility to support needs from boot to high-performance compute as well as infrastructure productivity. NVMe supports enterprise specifications for server and storage systems such as namespaces, virtualization support, scatter gather list, reservations, fused operations, and emerging technologies such as Zoned Namespaces (ZNS).

Additionally, NVMe-oF extends the benefits of NVMe technology and enables sharing data between hosts and NVMe-based platforms over a fabric. The ratification of the NVMe 1.4 and NVMe-oF 1.1 specifications, with the addition of ZNS, have further strengthened NVMe’s position in enterprise data centers. Therefore, by introducing NVMe SSDs into their infrastructure, organizations will have the tools to get more from their data assets.

OPIS

What kind of demand for faster hardware do you expect in the next five years?

Now and into the future, data centers of all shapes and sizes are constantly striving to achieve greater scalability, efficiencies and increased productivity and responsiveness with the best TCO. Business leaders and IT decision-makers must understand and navigate through the complexities of cloud, edge and hybrid on-prem data center technologies and architectures, which are increasingly being relied upon to support a growing and complex ecosystem of workloads, applications and AI/IoT datasets.

More than a decade ago, IT systems used to rely on software running on dedicated general purpose systems for any applications. This created many inefficiencies and scaling challenges, especially with large scale system designs. Today, data dependence has been consistently and exponentially growing, which has forced data center architects to decouple the applications from the systems. This was the birth of the HCI market and now the composable disaggregated infrastructure market.

Next-generation infrastructures are moving to disaggregated, pooled resources (e.g., compute, accelerators and storage) that can be dynamically composed to meet the ever increasing and somewhat unpredictable demands of the future. All of this allows us to make efficient use of hardware to increase infrastructure agility, scalability and software control, remove various system bottlenecks and improve overall TCO.

Western Digital helps customers transition to higher efficiency NVMe SSDs

Western Digital announced new solutions that provide the foundation for next-generation data infrastructures designed around Ultrastar NVMe SSDs and supercharged by NVMe-oF.

Building upon the company’s innovative design and integration capabilities – from NAND Flash to storage platforms – the new dual-port, performance Ultrastar DC SN840 NVMe SSDs and in-house RapidFlex NVMe-oF controllers are standalone solutions that combine to create the new OpenFlex Data24 NVMe-oF Storage Platform, a new shared storage JBOF (Just a Bunch of Flash) enclosure that extends the value of NVMe to multiple hosts over a low-latency Ethernet fabric network.

These new solutions further expand Western Digital’s data center portfolio to help customers transition to higher efficiency NVMe SSDs and more advanced shared storage architectures to meet the evolving demands of performance-driven applications and workloads.

In today’s global digital economy, microseconds count. As hyperscale cloud and enterprise data centers constantly work to remove bottlenecks to ensure uncompromised performance and availability of essential applications, while also keeping pace with unprecedented data growth, customer adoption of NVMe and NVMe-oF solutions continues to accelerate.

Industry analyst firm IDC expects hyperscalers, OEMs and end-user IT organizations to continue to transition away from legacy SATA and SAS interfaces, with NVMe on track to reach more than 55 percent of total enterprise SSD units shipped in 2020 and grow at a 2018-2023 CAGR of 38 percent¹.

“The future of Flash is undoubtedly NVMe as it’s all about speed, efficiency, capacity and cost-effective scalability, and NVMe-oF takes it to the next level,” said Jeff Janukowicz, research vice president at IDC.

“Many high-performance applications have quickly become mainstay drivers of key business functions and we can expect this to further expand NVMe in data centers for global enterprises.

“With Western Digital’s long history of NAND Flash innovation and an integrated portfolio of NVMe SSDs and new data fabrics solutions, the company is well positioned to help customers fully embrace NVMe and get the most out of their storage assets.”

Ultrastar DC SN840 data center NVMe SSD

Extending Western Digital’s leadership in dual-port architecture, the new performance Ultrastar DC SN840 Gen3.1 NVMe SSD is the company’s third-generation solution with a vertically integrated in-house NVMe controller, firmware and 96-layer 3D TLC NAND technology.

The new Ultrastar NVMe SSD enables enterprise customers to seamlessly transition from SATA and SAS to NVMe—delivering competitive performance of up to 780K/250K random read/write IOPS and capacities up to 15.36TB in a drop-in U.2 15mm form factor. Its comprehensive set of enterprise-class features includes 1 and 3 DW/D endurance levels, full power-loss protection and TCG encryption.

Future-ready, it is the ideal solution for a growing number of mission-critical applications that require superior read/write and mixed workload performance, low latency and dual-port high availability—everything from high-performance computing (HPC), cloud computing, SQL/NoSQL databases, virtualization (VMs/containers), AI/ML and data analytics.

“Being the leader in high performance storage for AI and big data, DDN needs to stay at the leading edge of storage technologies,” said Paul Bloch, president and co-founder of DDN.

“We are fortunate to have an innovative partner like Western Digital to deliver NVMe-based all-flash solutions that maximize device performance so we can deliver application acceleration to our customers. We look forward to implementing the Ultrastar DC SN840 NVMe SSD in our solutions.”

OpenFlex Data24 NVMe-oF storage platform

While NVMe Flash-based storage provides enormous performance gains for DAS, SAN and NAS, traditional data center infrastructure can limit the full potential of NVMe SSDs, resulting in underutilization of valuable storage resources, inefficient data silos and costly operational expenses.

OpenFlex Data24 helps address these challenges by enabling the full bandwidth of Ultrastar NVMe SSDs to be shared by multiple hosts over a low-latency Ethernet fabric as if they were locally attached to the PCIe bus inside x86 servers.

This provides greater flexibility for data center operators to scale-up capacity and more efficiently utilize disaggregated Flash storage to achieve greater performance for the most demanding workloads.

Launching with up to 24 hot-swappable Ultrastar DC SN840 NVMe SSDs, OpenFlex Data24 provides shared storage capacity of up to 368TB in a compact 2U form factor, making it ideal for server storage expansion and scale-out software-defined storage (SDS) environments.

The holistic design also incorporates newly branded RapidFlex RDMA-enabled NVMe-oF controllers for unsurpassed network connectivity and extreme low power, allowing up to six hosts to be directly attached with 100Gb Ethernet without the need for an external switch.

RapidFlex controllers provide sub-500 nanosecond latency for projected platform performance topping 13M IOPS/70GB/s when adding up to six network adapters to the OpenFlex Data24.

Built for high availability and enterprise-class reliability, the OpenFlex Data24 can be attached as shared storage in high-performance infrastructure deployments or utilized as a disaggregated resource to compose virtual storage systems.

The platform is fully interoperable with the award-winning OpenFlex F-series – the only open composable disaggregated infrastructure (CDI) solution in the world.

“Data infrastructure has never been as vital to the world’s economy as it is today,” said Yusuf Jamal, senior vice president of Western Digital’s Devices and Platforms Business.

“As a leading provider of essential data infrastructure, our mission is to help enterprises architect next-generation data centers to support business-critical applications and bandwidth-hungry workloads at scale.

“Western Digital’s leadership in NAND Flash, capacity-enterprise HDDs and supporting technologies are being relied upon now more than ever. We’re fully committed to helping companies transition to NVMe and move to new composable architectures that can maximize the value of their data storage resources.”

Shipments for the Ultrastar DC SN840 NVMe SSD will begin next month and the OpenFlex Data24 NVMe-oF Storage Platform is scheduled to ship in the Fall with a five-year limited warranty. RapidFlex NVMe-oF controllers are available now.

Western Digital WD Gold NVMe SSDs: Improving app responsiveness and performance

Western Digital is enabling small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to easily transition to NVMe storage and dramatically improve application performance with a new addition to its portfolio of data center NVMe SSDs: the first enterprise-class NVMe SSD in the WD Gold family.

Industry analyst firm IDC expects NVMe unit shipments to reach more than 79 percent of the market by 20231. With advancements in multi-core, multi-threaded CPUs, legacy storage technology has become a bottleneck to maximum application performance.

Shipping in early CQ2 2020, the new WD Gold NVMe SSDs will be available in four capacities to channel partners and end customers. The WD Gold NVMe SSD is designed to be the primary storage in servers delivering superior response times, higher throughput and greater scale than existing SATA devices for enterprise applications.

WD Gold NVMe SSDs complement recently launched WD Gold HDDs by providing a high-performance storage tier for applications and data sets that requires low latency or high throughput.

The new WD Gold NVMe SSDs are designed with Western Digital’s silicon-to-system expertise, from its 3D TLC NAND SSD media to its purpose-built firmware and own integrated controller.

Customers have the high reliability for peace of mind that power-loss and data-path protection provide, as well as an extended five-year limited warranty. Secure boot and secure erase provide customers with additional data-management protections.

“Pick any industry – the world is being transformed by data. There is transformation and innovation happening across many IT fronts, and across virtually every industry, large and small, and it’s all driven by data,” said Phil Bullinger, senior vice president and general manager, Data Center Business at Western Digital.

“Transitioning to NVMe is fundamental to unlocking the performance potential of high-speed storage media, enabling new applications, use cases and workloads. The addition of WD Gold NVMe SSDs to our currently shipping high-capacity WD Gold HDDs means channel partners and customers have expanded, robust options to achieve faster time-to-value.”

Western Digital’s data center solutions address a variety of needs in a fast-moving and ever-changing data technology landscape. Its broad data center portfolio includes its family of Ultrastar HDDs and SSDs; WD Gold HDDs and SSDs; OpenFlex NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) open composable infrastructure; Ultrastar JBOF/JBOD storage platforms; NVMe-oF bridge solutions; and the Ultrastar memory extension drive.

Western Digital iNAND MC EU521: Enhancing the 5G smartphone user experience

With its new Western Digital iNAND MC EU521, an embedded Universal Flash Storage (UFS) device, Western Digital equips mobile developers to enhance the 5G smartphone user experience.

An early supporter of JEDEC’s implementation of Write Booster under the UFS 3.1 standard, Western Digital is among the first in the industry to deliver commercial storage solutions optimized for UFS 3.1 5G applications and capabilities.

The Western Digital iNAND MC EU521 embedded flash device allows mobile developers to take full advantage of UFS 3.1 high-interface bandwidth (Gear 4 / 2 Lanes) as well as SLC (single-level cell) NAND caching.

It also offers turbo sequential write speeds up to 800MB/s to better enable enhanced user experiences for applications such as downloading 4K and 8K media, large file transfers from the cloud, and gaming. The iNAND EU521 will be available in March in 128GB and 256GB capacities.

“Smartphones now demand more performance and capacity as they often serve as the primary computing device for everything from streaming video, playing music, gaming and photography, to payments and mapping,” said senior vice president and general manager, Huibert Verhoeven, Western Digital’s Automotive, Mobile and Emerging business unit.

“The SLC caching in the iNAND EU521 with Write Booster offers users several key performance improvements that when coupled with 5G are expected to bring faster movie downloads than ever before. This, and other capabilities make the EU521 a great option for today’s mobile equipment manufacturers.”

“Western Digital’s implementation of the new JEDEC storage standard, UFS 3.1, provides 5G applications with added write capability and improved caching will help smartphones deliver higher speed downloads, accelerate large file ‘saves’ and support other data-intense applications,” said Craig Stice, senior director, Memory and Storage at Omdia, a global technology research leader, established following the merger of the research brands of Informa Tech (Ovum, Heavy Reading and Tractica) and the acquired IHS Markit technology research portfolio.

“Western Digital’s effort to meet the standard quickly is intended to give mobile device equipment manufacturers a market-ready solution to choose from.”

Western Digital unveils SSD prototype featuring a SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps interface

Western Digital will showcase new innovations in its extensive lineup of storage solutions built for every consumer use, including a demonstration of the world’s highest capacity, pocket-sized, portable SSD prototype featuring a SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps interface.

The company is also releasing the 1TB SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive Luxe USB Type-C drive for smartphones and laptops.

Western Digital’s unmatched portfolio offers a range of storage solutions for everything from mobile to highly specialized performance drives. At CES 2020, Western Digital will show its consumer storage solutions from its G-Technology, SanDisk, WD and Western Digital® brands. Highlights include:

Groundbreaking SanDisk 8TB SSD prototype

Continuing its legacy of technology milestones, the company will demonstrate the world’s highest capacity, pocket-sized SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps portable SSD. Inspired by consumers’ desire to capture rich content and keep it with them, Western Digital continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible with an 8TB SSD prototype.

Combining its expertise in flash memory with skillful design, the company continues to be at the forefront of developing revolutionary solutions that keep up with and surpass today’s consumer needs. Western Digital will also showcase its extensive lineup of portable SSDs.

All-new 1TB SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive Luxe USB Type-C

Launching at CES, the SanDisk brand will release its newest dual connector drive that works with the latest USB Type-C smartphones and laptops.

  • All-metal, high-capacity drive allows consumers to capture more photos and videos, and easily transfer content between USB Type-C smartphones, tablets and laptops and USB Type-A computers.
  • Designed to fit on a keychain, the drive offers massive space in a tiny form factor so consumers have extra storage for content whenever they need it.
  • The new 1TB SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive Luxe USB Type-C is expected to be available later this calendar quarter.

Industry-first WD_Black P50 Game Drive SSD with SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps

The WD_Black portfolio provides the performance, capacity and reliability that allow PC and console gamers to drive their game and play without limits. Five gaming solutions from the WD_Black lineup will be shown, including:

  • WD_Black P50 Game Drive SSD, the industry’s first game drive to feature a SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps interface. The WD_Black P50 Game Drive SSD is available now.
  • Two Xbox-licensed drives, the WD_Black P10 Game Drive for Xbox One (available now) and WD_Black D10 Game Drive for Xbox One (available now). These two drives come with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate trial membership.

ibi a SanDisk brand device for photos and videos

ibi is a smart photo management device from SanDisk that offers consumers local storage that works like a personal cloud for photos and videos. Features include:

  • Companion app allows consumers to wirelessly connect their phone for automatic back up with an intuitive interface to help people seamlessly collect, organize and privately share their photos and videos.
  • Ability to aggregate content from various locations including laptops, USB drives, social media and cloud accounts – all stored on ibi and viewable in the app.
  • 1TB of storage that can store up to 250,000 photos or 100 hours of video.

“Consumers are generating more content than ever and require more advanced solutions to help them capture, access, share and manage it all. Our top priority is to empower people by giving them complete control of their content, so they have peace of mind that it’s reliably stored and at their fingertips when and where they need it,” said David Ellis, vice president, product marketing, Western Digital.