Western Digital Ultrastar and Gold 16 TB and 18 TB drive availability spreads
Western Digital’s Ultrastar and Gold 16 TB and 18 TB drives are now more widely available. Previously, these capacity topping drives have only been accessible to hyperscale customers ordering tens of thousands of disks at a time (e.g. cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox). The new availability mostly affects smaller cloud and enterprise customers. Still, a notable inclusion on the list was system integrators, meaning these drives could start appearing in off-the-shelf NAS solutions.
These 16 TB and 18 TB drives utilise conventional magnetic recording (CMR) methods, therefore avoiding the performance penalty of shingled magnetic recording (SMR) drives during sustained write workloads. An SMR-based 20 TB Ultrastar HDD is expected within the next few months.
Sheer storage capacity and a comparatively affordable price are among the few advantages that traditional mechanical hard drives still have over solid-state drives. The highest capacities are often reserved for large data centres. For consumers, the largest drives currently cap out at 14 TB (WD + Toshiba) and 16 TB (Seagate) in NAS drives, or 6 TB (WD) and 14 TB (Seagate + Toshiba) in desktop drives.