Western Digital announced this week that it will begin mass shipments of 20TB hard drives with OptiNAND technology in November. OptiNAND technology uses the built-in iNAND UFS flash drive as a buffer to improve performance, reliability and capacity.
Western Digital OptiNAND hard drives are based on the company’s proven platform with nine platters, a helium-filled housing, and a 7200 RPM spindle. They use energy assisted perpendicular magnetic recording (ePMR) technology.
OptiNAND adds several advantages to the disk, as it stores various types of data on the EFD rather than on rotating media. For example, it makes RRO or ATI metadata more accessible to the controller, which improves HDD performance.
The amount of metadata stored on modern hard drives is quite significant, so uploading it to NAND makes sense both in terms of usable capacity and in terms of performance. In addition, OptiNAND also improves the reliability of storage systems.
Western Digital is positioning OptiNAND hard drives primarily for cloud data centers and the Enterprise sector. However, due to the balanced characteristics, the technology would fit well with conventional consumer models.