Last night, Western Digital (WD) announced its new line of Western Digital Ae drives. These new hard disk drives won’t wow you with blazing fast data access speeds, though. This is because WD’s new drives are optimized for archived storage in data centers. As we become increasingly reliant on the cloud, data centers need to expand not just for data that’s accessed constantly, but for cold storage. Cold storage refers to HDDs that are rarely accessed but for archival purposes, and in data centers, even archives must be ready to be accessed at any time. Thus, WD’s new Ae line of disks are optimized for these purposes. The drives are incorporating the latest platter technology to achieve 6TB capacities without the use of helium, and are also designed with a focus on low power consumption as well as a low run temperature. As a result, these drives achieve a mean time between failure of 500 kilohours, assuming only 60 terabytes of data are accessed per annum. The drives are very impressive when you consider their purpose, and when used in the correct situations they should provide an adequate archival solution for data centers.
Western Digital Ae drives will be available to select distributors later this year, and presumably available to a wider audience shortly thereafter.