Western Digital release highest capacity HDD ever

Things move quickly in the world of technology and data storage; only last month we wrote about how Seagate had released the world’s first 14TB HDDs but Western Digital have gone one better having just unveiled their Ultrastar 15TB drive.

In order to achieve this unprecedented capacity, Western Digital have utilised Shingled Magnetic Recording, a technique that increases storage density by allowing data tracks to overlap with one another which allows more data to be stored on a drive’s platters.

Unlike Seagate, who released several variations of their 14TB drive, Western Digital have opted to release just one version of the Ultrastar but claim that the extra 1TB of storage could yield an additional 60TB of storage per server. As a data centre’s profitability is directly linked to the amount of storage it can offer within its limited space, Western Digital claim that data centres that switch to their latest drive will see a significant return on investment.

A spokesperson for the hard drive manufacturer added "With data continuing to grow at unprecedented rates, many hyperscale and cloud storage customers know that their workloads trend toward data that is written sequentially. In these instances, customers are optimizing their infrastructures with the lowest TCO and the maximum capacity. By capitalizing on our highest-capacity SMR storage solutions, our customers’ investment can not only be fully leveraged today, but for subsequent generations of SMR areal density improvements for continued infrastructure optimization."

Why high-capacity HDDs still matter

The demand for HDDs amongst home users may be falling because of the rise of flash-based storage such as SSDs, but the commercial world – who are reliant upon high capacity, high density drives – still prefer HDDs due to their superior capacities and lower costs.

Our growing need for data storage also fuels the need for higher capacity media of all kinds. The amount of data we’re creating is growing at an exponential rate for a number of reasons and, whilst a number of innovative solutions such as DNA data storage have been proposed, none are currently regarded as practicable and are plagued with problems such as excessively high costs or prohibitively poor read and write speeds.

All in all, this means that, for the time being at least, improving the storage capacities of HDDs is the most attainable means of providing the short-term solution needed until other high-capacity forms of data storage are perfected.