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What is Symbiotics Design™?

We at Western Digital have a unique ability to deliver superior value to our customers. We call this our Symbiotics Design™ approach and it’s an integrated method to our complete technology portfolio.

In a world of ever-increasing data creation, being able to capture, preserve, access and transform data is key to enabling organizations and individuals to get the full value of their data. The Symbiotics Design approach allows us to create increasingly specialized environments for data to thrive, whether it’s the immediate results from Fast Data or the breakthrough insights and precision from Big Data. Our products and solutions are purpose-built, tuned and optimized for a full range of data-centric applications, from core, hyperscale clouds, to the most remote edges of the data world.

What distinguishes our approach above others in the marketplace is that we own the entire process.

From silicon and magnetic recording technologies to systems, we design, develop and manufacture components that go into our entire portfolio of products, which then gives us the ability to fine tune and optimize everything through to the final product. The outcomes include performance, density, durability, reliability, power consumption, and environmental operating range, which are optimized to the needs of Big Data and Fast Data environments from core to edge.

Another benefit of being our own designer and manufacturer of materials, components, devices, platforms and systems is we are able to rigorously test each product ourselves to provide industry-leading levels of quality, customization and responsiveness.

For example, we have been able to innovate in Helium technology and are continuing to innovate in Microwave-Assisted Magnetic Recording (MAMR) technology to increase hard disk drive (HDD) capacity while reducing total cost of ownership for data center operators. The combined design and manufacture of the heads and media is critical. As we are manufacturing heads, we are also testing the wafers so we know the exact characteristics of the heads coming off those wafers. Having total control of underlying components and their design into higher level devices and systems gives us significant advantages to manage quality, supply, and cost and enables us to accelerate time to market.

Turning the Knobs

Our development of NAND Flash contains technology and manufacturing innovations that provide some of the highest storage capacities. NAND is a very complex technology that provides a wide range of functional and performance attributes, or knobs, to be tuned. We have the knowledge to make those adjustments, which affect the surrounding electronics and interactions, resulting in your system performing at the level of reliability, performance, power consumption and durability needed for specific data environments. Our customized device controllers enable us to outperform other devices. This advantage stems from the knowledge of all of the tunable knobs and our controller’s ability to optimize performance of each generation of Flash technology more effectively than an off-the-shelf controller. In addition to higher levels of optimization and performance, the Symbiotics Design approach also enables us to deliver new generations of Flash to the market faster. This is due to the complete visibility and control where we can develop Flash, controller and firmware technologies in parallel. Without this visibility and control, companies would need to develop these in series, thus delaying market delivery.

Moving up the stack, our high capacity platforms are designed based on our expertise in HDD design. Through Symbiotics Design we optimize both HDDs and the mechanical platforms to maximize density while maintaining the thermal and vibration environment needed to maintain maximum performance. Without the intimate knowledge of HDD design, other platforms can be susceptible to thermal hot spots that can impact reliability and vibrational noise that can make overall performance lower and/or less predictable.

Our Symbiotics Design approach boosts our ability to drive value, thereby extending our technology leadership as we go beyond the benefits of typical vertical integration to fully tune and optimize across multiple points of innovation in our components, devices, platforms and systems. The end results are offerings that are purpose-built to create environments for data to thrive. And when data thrives, the individuals, organizations and businesses that we serve can thrive.

Symbiotics Design Portfolio


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Dave Tang
Dave Tang is Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Western Digital. Tang leads the company’s brand marketing and communications activities from strategy through planning and execution. With a major focus on transforming the corporate brand, Tang plays an instrumental role in driving thought leadership in the rapidly evolving world of Big Data and Fast Data. Tang previously served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Data Center Systems business unit, where he helped create and deliver innovative data center infrastructure products for public and private cloud environments. Tang joined the HGST subsidiary of Western Digital in July 2013, where he also served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, Strategy and Marketing. Before HGST, Tang worked as managing partner for Dynasty Consulting Group, where he provided strategic planning, marketing, product planning, go-to-market and fund raising consulting services to startup and Fortune 500 technology companies in consumer and enterprise markets. In addition to his strengths as a market and technology strategist, Tang has deep expertise in creating new product categories and new markets. Tang has also held senior roles at leading technology companies, including Cisco Systems, Fabrik, Network Appliance, Vormetric, and Gadzoox Networks. Tang graduated from Stanford University’s Executive Institute with an emphasis in high tech business management. His undergraduate studies were in electrical engineering and physics at the University of Delaware.