New Western Digital 30TB HDDs could be on the horizon

Representation image of WD's new OptiNAND HDD technology
(Image credit: Western Digital)

Western Digital (WD) doesn’t expect hard disk drives (HDD) to go out of vogue anytime soon, and in fact hopes to deliver disks with capacities of up to 30TB in the not too distant future.

The company shared its HDD roadmap at the 5th Annual Virtual Wells Fargo TMT Summit Conference, according to Tom’s Hardware.

WD’s current portfolio of 20TB drives, the Ultrastar DC HC560 20TB, and the WD Gold 20TB, use nine 2.2TB platters, and it appears the company is getting ready to add a 10th platter to the mix.

HAMRing forward

"We are able to deliver our 20TB on nine platters, we can add the 10th, and we get another 2.2TB of storage," remarked David Goeckeler, WD’s CEO, at the conference.

WD builds its current generation of large capacity drives with the help of energy-assisted perpendicular magnetic recording (ePMR), together with its proprietary OptiNAND technology, which integrates iNAND Universal Flash Storage (UFS) Embedded Flash Drive (EFD) with traditional spinning disks.

WD believes it can leverage on the technology and stretch it all the way to 30TB. But from 30TB and upwards, the company admits that it’ll need to rely on heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology. 

“So we really have that staircase to take you to 30 terabytes and then you get on the hammer curve and you go for quite a bit longer. So I think it’s a really good story for – a really good road map for the hard drive industry,” remarked Goeckeler.

Interestingly, Seagate has just unveiled its 20TB conventional magnetic recording (CMR)-based HDDs, which are priced similar to WD’s 20TB portfolio. However, Seagate already has a portfolio of 20TB HDDs based on HAMR that it has made available only to select customers.

Looking to build a NAS? Check our list of the best NAS devices, and also take a look at these best high capacity drives

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.