Western Digital's 'What's Next' event back in May 2022 had seen the announcement of its 22TB platform based on ePMR and OptiNAND (with ArmorCache). At the event, WD indicated that the 22TB 10-platter drives would make its market appearance under different product categories - Ultrastar DC HC570 for data centers and enterprises, WD Gold for enterprises, SMEs, and SMBs, WD Red Pro for SMB and SME NAS systems, and WD Purple Pro for surveillance network video recorders.

Today, WD is announcing retail availability of these models along with technical details. All drives have a 3.5" form-factor and sport a SATA 6 Gbps interface. The drives are equipped with a 512MB cache and have a 7200 rpm spindle speed. The acoustics rating for all of them are the same too - 20 dBA at idle and 32 dBA for the average seek.

Western Digital 2022 22TB Hard Drives - Metrics of Interest
  WD Gold WD Red Pro WD Purple Pro
Rated Workload (TB/yr) 550 300 550
Max. Sustained Transfer Rate (MBps) 291 265 265
Rated Load / Unload Cycles 600K 600K 600K
Unrecoverable Read Errors 1 in 10E15 1 in 10E13 1 in 10E15
MTBF (Hours) 2.5M 1M 2.5M
Power (Idle / Active) (W) 5.7 / 9.3 3.4 / 6.8 5.6 / 6.9
Warranty (Years) 5 5 5
Pricing $600 $600 $600

Based on the above specifications, it is clear that Western Digital has taken the ePMR / OptiNAND / triple-stage actuator platform and tweaked the firmware suitably to cater to different market segments. The Red Pro CMR drive comes with NASware 3.0 firmware that includes features such as adjusting parameters based on the integrated multi-axis shock sensor, maintaining balance using the dual-plane balance control technology, and TLER (Time-Limited Error Recovery) configuration for compatibility with various NAS systems. As is customary for the Red Pro family, the new 22TB drives are recommended for usage in systems with up to 24 bays.

The WD Purple Pro drives meant for network video recordings has firmware tweaked for continuous sequential writes to multiple drive regions simultaneously. WD indicates the capability of the drive to handle up to 64 concurrent HD stream recordings at 3.25 Mbps, and up to 32 streams for machine learning / object detection tasks. Similar to NASware 3.0 in the Red Pro, the custom firmware has a specific moniker - AllFrame AI.

The WD Gold is the flagship in today's retail launch announcement. It's firmware is tweaked for the highest possible performance, without focusing on the active and idle power numbers. The ArmorCache feature is specifically turned on in the WD Gold 22TB model only (July 27, 2022 Update: WD reached out to inform us that the ArmorCache feature is turned on in all the three models covered here, as well as the Ultrastar DC 22TB and 26TB models, and that the oversight in their product briefs would be fixed soon)..

Interestingly, all the three drives have been launched with the same MSRP of $600. Even though the WD Red Pro has a much lower workload rating, peak performance number, and reliability metric (MTBF), it appears that WD believes the market will be willing to pay a premium for the lower power consumption numbers.

The overall push with these high-capacity hard drives is one of TCO. The ability to reduce physical footprint of storage servers for the same capacity can result in significant savings in allied IT costs related to power, cooling, and rack space. Moving forward, WD can hopefully address the plateauing of access speeds compared to capacity (using dual-actuators or some other similar technology). This can make high-capacity HDDs attractive to home consumers / prosumers who may be rightly worried about long RAID rebuild times.

Source: Western Digital

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  • Threska - Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - link

    "This can make high-capacity HDDs attractive to home consumers / prosumers who may be rightly worried about long RAID rebuild times."

    Or use ZFS or BTRFS so one doesn't have to worry as much about that.
  • Reflex - Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - link

    Most of us are limited to what companies such as QNAP or Synology make available. In an ideal world we could just select a filesystem, but we aren't there and lots of us have no interest in building and maintaining a high powered and noisy server to roll our own.
  • inighthawki - Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - link

    I understand the desire to not have to maintain something yourself, but you can definitely roll your own NAS server that doesn't consume that much power and very low noise. Heck there are hats for raspberry PI devices that can let you hook up a couple a few SATA drives and are powerful enough for a light workload NAS. Cheap, lower power than synology, and zero noise.
  • Samus - Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - link

    People want support and QNAP\Synology provide that in a nice cheap little box that does almost everything well enough.

    It's the same reason everyone buys a router instead of running pfsense because a $100 Ubiquiti router is 95% there, and that's good enough for 95% of people, especially if they value the support (and obvious power efficiency benefit of running a 5-watt router opposed to a pfsense PC that will idle at (if you are lucky) 30-watts.
  • inighthawki - Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - link

    And hence my comment: "I understand the desire to not have to maintain something yourself"

    I was commenting on their mention of "high powered and noisy server" as if running a homelab NAS requires you to buy a 1u blade server with a 16 core Xeon CPU that sounds like a jet engine.
  • Reflex - Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - link

    I mean I have a QNAP that has an embedded i7 with 64GB and 12 drives, but it's power consumption is lower than comparable PC's, it's much quieter than the server it replaced and it's more than powerful enough to run a few VM's and a bunch of containers as well as provide network storage.

    At any rate, I'm just saying I and many others who are technically capable but have no interest in the roll your own experience and for them the feature you dismissed is actually useful.
  • inighthawki - Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - link

    Which feature did I dismiss? I'm fully supportive of everyones' scenarios here. Merely wanted to point out that rolling your own doesn't mean high powered and noisy.
  • PEJUman - Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - link

    why not both, I have QNAP that runs a OMV-Pi-Plex.
    Here is why: RPi4 works well for OMV and with docker it runs Pi inside it. but max throughput is less than what gigabit an do. QNAP can handle 10 GBe. Also once you have to deal with updates, it becomes a lot less reliable in terms of uptime and Quality Control of the releases.

    I run the QNAP for it's RAID: uptime above all else
    I run the OMW for the backups of QNAP, windows, etc for this I use BTRFS with cheap, junk HDDs.

    Total power of this system is less than RPi once I factor in the non-idle power consumption of my desktop that have to wait 10x as long to upload/sync/verify the weekly backups.

    Total time of mine devoted into googling RPi is greater than just managing QNAP + the linux VM for the rest.

    My point: just because you can/it is cheap it does not mean it's the best solution once you look at it as a cog in ecosystem. Once you have decent throughput & valuable data(think a family of 4, with nightly backups of their digital devices), professionally sourced solution makes sense.
  • inighthawki - Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - link

    >> Total power of this system is less than RPi once I factor in the non-idle power consumption of my desktop that have to wait 10x as long to upload/sync/verify the weekly backups.

    I think this is a very fair point, so the usage case here depends very heavily on workload. For example, not all uses of a NAS/storage server are strictly for backups with large amounts of data transfer.

    However, I again would like to point out that my point was never that one is better than the other. the person I replied to merely stated that building one yourself involved it being high power and noisy, which is not strictly true at all. I am 100% totally in support of people buying premade machines. there are plenty of advantages and reasons to doing so.
  • MDD1963 - Friday, August 5, 2022 - link

    QNAP offers ZFS-based NAS systems and had done so for ~12-18 months, I think....

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