You tend to think, notes Western Digital, that hard drives are boring. And that the technology behind them isn’t very exciting. It would be understandable, but wrong, stresses the company.

Western Digital is an example of its research activity. Activities dedicated to pushing the boundaries of physics and technology to produce ever more spacious, fast and economical solutions. The company has a very large storage portfolio. From the raw NAND for SSD products to HDD heads and discs. Up to the rack-scale storage systems complete with software and services.

This variety is a great example of the different ways and choices that customers have to create an optimized data infrastructure. Hard drives, hard drives, have established themselves as the pin of data centers. This is due to the possibility of offering high acceptable capacities and speeds with relatively low economic commitment.

Hard drives are the key technology that hosts big data today. And, Western Digital points out, they will be for the near future, thanks to the enormous efforts in research and development. Although the hard drives have been in circulation for a long time. They were invented over 60 years ago, in 1956, by the storage division of Ibm, which is now part of Western Digital.

However, even after 60 years, hard drives are still making big progress. And that’s why Western Digital decided to describe, in a series of posts on its blog, the technologies coming. Technologies to store more data, significantly improve the performance of hard drives and so on.

But starting, before looking to the future, from five technologies that enhance hard drives already today. Five technologies used in Western Digital’s top-notch enterprise hard drives.

Five Advanced Hard Drive Technologies


HelioSeal technology replaces air in a hard disk with helium and seals it tightly. Sealed helium has a lower resistance and is less turbulent than air. Therefore, it is possible to increase the capacity of hard drives by using thinner supports and an ingenious mechanics, while reducing power.

Hard drives must position the reading heads with precision up to the micron level. And this, on a plate that spins at thousands of rotations per minute and that could be affected by vibrations or even loud noises.

The Western Digital multistage micro actuator features an innovative suspension design that allows for more accurate positioning of the heads. This system uses ultralight piezoelectric elements to help you tune the alignment on the track without having to adjust the position of the entire arm. This in turn allows for increased density, which allows you to increase the capacity of your hard drive.

Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR)

Shingled Magnetic Recording (layer magnetic recording) increases the capacity of hard drives by reducing the spacing of recording tracks. So much so that the tracks overlap slightly, a bit like the tiles on a roof.

For cold storage scenarios, where data is rarely updated, such as many cloud, backup, and surveillance applications, CMR helps drastically reduce storage costs.

Instant Secure Erase (ISE) and Signed Firmware

Security and data protection are the main concerns for today’s companies. The costs of a data breach or malware infestation may be harmful not only for the company’s profits. But also, just as important, for their reputation.

Here comes feature like ISE, which allows hard drives to make their data inaccessible in an instant, and encrypted firmware, which helps to ensure that only the code provided by the vendor can run on the drive.

Composable Infrastructure (CI)

Composable Infrastructure is a new architecture where computing, storage and networking are broken down into pools of shared resources. These can be assembled on the fly to create virtual application environments.

This technology can allow users to obtain the optimal amount of storage, processing and network without requiring over-provisioning of hardware. This technology has made huge progress with NVMe-over-Fabric and Western Digital technology extends it to work with both, SSD and hard drive. The Composable Infrastructure Western Digital allows cloud service providers to scale with the speed of SSD and hard disk capacity as efficiently as possible.

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