Explained: OptiNAND™

Explained: OptiNAND™

Data growth is at an all-time high. According to Statista, global data creation is projected to grow to more than 180 zettabytes over the next five years. But how will data storage scale to meet the exponential demand? This is OptiNAND, explained.

What is OptiNAND?

OptiNAND is Western Digital’s proprietary technology, integrating iNAND embedded flash devices in hard drives (HDD): a flash-enhanced drive.

What is the iNAND for?

iNAND is an integrated embedded flash drive that can be found in common devices such as smartphones, tablets, wearables, cars, and industrial devices. With OptiNAND, an HDD’s key housekeeping functions can take advantage of the speed and capacity of iNAND, freeing up more capacity and improving the overall drive performance.

Why iNAND and not DRAM?

Compared to DRAM, flash memory is more cost-effective and can be implemented in far higher capacities. It also provides faster access compared to traditional disks, so time-sensitive calculations can be carried out, reserving the disk for other tasks.

Is OptiNAND a hybrid technology?

No, OptiNANDis not a hybrid technology. While a hybrid drive uses flash to store user data, OptiNAND is used to perform data-related tasks.

What are the key benefits of OptiNAND?

  1. Higher capacity: With expanded metadata and tasks offloaded to the iNAND, the drive’s platter can fit more tracks per inch.
  2. Better performance: ArmorCache™ allows for more commands and larger amounts of data to be written securely. In write cache disabled (WCD) mode, the drive’s random write speed increases to the same level as write cache enabled (WCE) mode.
  3. Data protection: ArmorCache provides enterprise power loss protection of your data in WCE mode (22TB+ HDDs only).
  4. Drive resilience: In case of an emergency power off, OptiNAND can securely flush and retain 50x more metadata than previous generation HDDs.

Who is this technology for?

OptiNAND is a foundational storage architecture in Western Digital hard drive products. It caters to a range of customers such as hyperscale clouds, CSPs, smart video, NAS devices, professional external storage, storage platforms, and more.

What does the future of OptiNAND look like?

OptiNAND technology is already being used across Western Digital’s portfolio in products such as WD Purple Pro, WD Gold Enterprise Class SATA HDD, Ultrastar DC HC570, and Ultrastar DC HC670.

It will serve as the basis for future innovation, with the expectation of reaching an estimated 50TB of capacity this decade.

To find out more about OptiNAND, see the press release here and the technology brief here

Artwork by Cat Tervo

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