The era of digital business transformation has been in full thrust in 2019, as emerging applications and data center infrastructure refreshes have been top of mind for digital stakeholders.

In this year-end recap, I summarize digital use cases, vertical applications, and cloud architecture options for your perusal, matched with the key Western Digital product and technological announcements we made throughout the year.

The stakes are high! Infrastructure architects that fail to understand and evaluate the latest in storage options risk cost overruns, needless OPEX overhead, risk losing out on the next greatest innovation.

Data center storage options are evolving to keep up with data center demands of the digital era – emerging SSD form factors, SSD write endurance levels, capacity point increases, host-side FTL optimizations, HDD gains (areal density, SMR) – to address performance at scale at better infrastructure TCO.

Western Digital’s 2019 new products and technology explainer videos, data sheets, news, and other resources are all here in this compendium blog for the following topics.

AI/ML

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning workloads span data ingest, data preparation, training clusters, inference, and data archive. Use case deployments across vertical applications typically require high reliability and low-latency performance for accuracy or to avoid false positives.

Aligning AI/ML workloads to the appropriate SSD or HDD options can help assure successful production rollouts and keep infrastructure costs in line with budget expectations.

AI/ML Pipeline StageStorage I/O Patterns
IngestHigh-Bandwidth Throughput
Data PreparationHigh-Bandwidth Throughput, varying file sizes
Training ClusterLow-latency, High-Bandwidth, small random I/O
Deployment/InferenceVery Low-Latency, mixed read/write
Archive DataHigh-Bandwidth Throughput, sequential write streams

2019 Western Digital Product and Technological announcements to consider for certain pipeline stages of AI/ML:

Ultrastar® NVMe™ SSD form factor EDSFF E1.L

Achieve greater storage density – up to 30.72TB NVMe SSD mixed I/O workloads, capacity optimization for server/rack density.

Ultrastar 18TB CMR HDD

Archive AI Data with 18TB CMR HDD (Conventional Magnetic Recording).

Zoned Storage Overview Diagram

Storage Orchestration for serializing AI data at a better TCO than conventional SSDs and HDDs.

Analytics

Analytics is top of mind for digital stakeholders to provide the insight for critical business decision making. Whether it’s real-time, historical, or augmented to transactions, e.g., logistics, supply chain, or e-commerce, we have the new products to enable scalable data mining.

Ultrastar DC SN640 NVMe

Value storage solution for mixed I/O workloads for analytics. Consider for the replacement of SATA SSDs.

Ultrastar DC SS540 SAS SSD

SAS SSD for traditional data warehouses on AFAs or server-based direct-attached storage.

Ultrastar 18TB CMR HDD

Batch Processing Analytics using 18TB CMR HDD (Conventional Magnetic Recording).

Media & Entertainment, CDNs

Cloud-based Media & Entertainment workflows and digital content creation pipelines enable the global content creation process for video, entertainment, gaming, and other monetization of rich media.

CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) at the edge are critical for the delivery of streaming video, audio, app updates, VR/online gaming downloads. SSD low latency for better end-experiences, storage cost optimizations are important for the deployment of read-intensive infrastructure for CDN edge delivery/Points of Presence (PoPs).

Ultrastar DC SN340 NVMe

Purpose-built SSD for the read-intensive requirements of CDN “Write one, read many” workloads . Consider for the replacement for SATA SSDs.

Ultrastar DC SN640 NVMe

Mixed I/O workloads for cloud-based media workflows and content creation pipelines. Consider for the replacement for SATA SSDs.

Memory Expansion solution

CDN caching – create large virtual memory pools by leveraging NVMe SSDs for scalable memory for ‘hot’ files for CDN delivery.  Now supported on AMD® EPYC™ systems.

Ultrastar 18TB CMR HDD

Monetize long-tail content aligned with the areal density advantage of the 18TB capacity point.

In-Memory Applications

In-Memory computing delivers deliver faster performance for DRAM-based configurations.

Western Digital announced its partnership with AMD® for EPYC™- based, greater scalability and deeper insight for memory-centric applications at a better TCO than 100% server DRAM/DIMMs using memory extension.

Redis, DevOps, databases, and key-value stores are prime candidates for the Memory Extension solution.

Memory Expansion solution

Run in-memory applications in virtual memory pools by leveraging NVMe SSDs for scalable memory for ‘hot’ files for CDN delivery.  Now supported on AMD® EPYC™ systems.

Cloud Architectures

Cloud architectures continue to proliferate at hyperscalers, private cloud, multi-cloud/hybrid cloud, and for edge data centers.

Driven by TCO at scale and performance, this year’s announcements enable cloud architects to address latency, scale, and an overall TCO (based on $/IOPS, $/throughput, etc.), density, power efficiency, and the right amount of endurance for specific workloads.

Zoned Storage Overview Diagram

Storage Orchestration for serializing AI data at a better TCO than conventional SSDs and HDDs.

Ultrastar® NVMe™ SSD form factor EDSFF E1.L

Gain the storage density advantage on this new SSD form factor. Up to 30.72TB NVMe SSD mixed I/O workloads, capacity optimization for server/rack density.

Ultrastar DC SN640 NVMe

Containers and Hyper-converged Infrastructure for scale and read/write performance using Ultrastar DC SN640.

Ultrastar 20TB SMR HDD

Shingled magnetic recording (SMR) HDD for the data center infrastructure TCO advantage.

Ultrastar 18TB CMR HDD

Object storage for large-scale repositories. File System Gateways: NFS and SMB.

Ultrastar DC SN340 NVMe

“Data center at the Edge” for data reads for use cases that involve read-intensive performance and reliability.

Server Boot Drive

NVMe-based OS boot drive.   Boot performance and reliability is critical for large-node compute clusters. Consider as a replacement to SATA SSDs

HPC

On-premises and Cloud-based HPC (High Performance Computing) workloads for scientific computing, government labs, and academia continue to push the limits of performance of scale to uncover discoveries in biosciences, weather/climate study, engineering, and other disciplines.

Whether for infrastructure refresh or new cloud-based HPC architectures, this year’s announcements will be of high interest to HPC stakeholders for OPEX and CAPEX efficiency.

Ultrastar DC SN640 NVMe

NVMe-based OS boot drive.   Boot performance and reliability is critical for large-node compute clusters. Consider as a replacement to SATA SSDs.

Memory Expansion

In-memory workloads for DRAM-centric computing needs to scale, but the costs of DRAM and the ratio of DIMM slots to CPU cores should not limit HPC architects from scaling in-memory computing. Now supported on AMD® EPYC™ systems.

Ultrastar 18TB CMR HDD

Bulk storage, batch processing, NFS file systems, and archive using CMR HDDs at 18TB capacity points.

Zoned Storage Overview Diagram

Storage Orchestration for serialized HPC data at a better TCO than conventional SSDs and HDDs.

Industrial IoT

Industrial asset monitoring, operational monitoring, and PLM digital twins are key to IIoT platforms, applications, and OT use cases.

OT and IT groups that are responsible for scalable IoT platforms are going to want to evaluate storage options and technology to enable reliable systems at the best possible TCO.

Zoned Storage Overview Diagram

Storage Orchestration for serialized IIoT data at a better TCO than conventional SSDs and HDDs.

Ultrastar® NVMe™ SSD form factor EDSFF E1.L

Up to 30.72TB NVMe SSD mixed I/O workloads, capacity optimization for server/rack density.

Ultrastar DC SN640 NVMe

NVMe SSD option for read/write performance for IIoT platforms and containers.

Memory Expansion

In-Memory: Streaming Data and PLM Digital Twins – achieve a better memory configuration TCO by leveraging Ultrastar DC ME200 Memory Extension Drives. This solution creates virtual memory pools by using NVMe SSDs. Now supported on AMD® EPYC™ systems

Databases

Database and Analytics stakeholders who are developing cloud-architectures to run mission-critical databases and analytics will want to consider the latest SSD options from Western Digital to scale latency-sensitive transactional databases.

Provisioned IOPS at cloud services continue to grow to enable the proliferation of cloud-based databases and applications.

Ultrastar DC SN640 NVMe

Scale large compute clusters to run NoSQL databases. Consider for the replacement for SATA SSDs with the performance advantages of NVMe SSDs.

Ultrastar DC SS540 SAS SSD

Refresh at a better TCO for databases running on SAS SSD for traditional data warehouses; legacy AFAs or server-based direct-attached storage running databases on virtualization.

We look forward to working with you in 2020!

Chris brings over 20 years of experience with enterprise systems integrators, co-location facilities, dev. tools and enterprise storage.