Race for biggest SSD heats up as Western Digital pips Solidigm's 61.44TB monster, joins Samsung in announcing 64TB SSD for late 2024

WD Ultrastar DC SN655
(Image credit: Western Digital)

Western Digital has emphasized the importance of high-capacity storage in the AI era, unveiling at Computex 2024 a comprehensive AI Data Cycle framework designed to optimize storage reduce the TCO for AI workflows.

“Data is the fuel of AI. As AI technologies become embedded across virtually every industry sector, storage has become an increasingly important and dynamic component of the AI technology stack,” said Rob Soderbery, executive vice president and general manager of Western Digital’s Flash Business Unit. “The new AI Data Cycle framework will equip our customers to build a storage infrastructure that impacts the performance, scalability, and the deployment of AI applications, underscoring our commitment to deliver unparalleled value to our customers."

The centerpiece of Western Digital's announcement is a 64TB SSD, which aims to address data storage for AI applications. This new SSD is part of the expanded Ultrastar DC SN655 enterprise-class range, tailored for storage-intensive applications.

Additional AI storage solutions

Western Digital says the 64TB capacity drive, expected later this year, offers higher performance and can accommodate larger AI data lakes, addressing the growing demands of data preparation and processing in AI environments.

As well as the forthcoming 64TB SSD, Western Digital also introduced the Ultrastar DC SN861, its first enterprise-class PCIe Gen 5.0 SSD. This device reportedly offers up to 3x random read performance increase over the previous generation, with capacities up to 16TB, making it ideal for LLM training and AI service deployment. Volume shipments are expected in the third quarter of 2024.

Western Digital is also sampling the industry’s highest-capacity, 32TB ePMR UltraSMR HDD, designed for hyperscale cloud and enterprise data centers.

“Each stage of the AI Data Cycle is unique with different infrastructure and compute requirements. By understanding the dynamic interplay between AI and data storage, Western Digital is delivering solutions that not only offer higher capacities but are also tailored to support the extreme performance and endurance of next-generation AI workloads,” said Soderbery. “With our growing portfolio, long-term roadmap and constant innovation, our goal is to help customers unlock the transformative capabilities of AI.”

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Wayne Williams

Wayne Williams is a freelancer writing news for TechRadar Pro. He has been writing about computers, technology, and the web for 30 years. In that time he wrote for most of the UK’s PC magazines, and launched, edited and published a number of them too.