Western Digital Champions Zoned Storage, an Open Initiative to Redefine Data Centers for Zettabyte Scale

Zoned Storage Architecture Leverages Standardization of ZNS and SMR Enabling More Efficient, Zettabyte-scale Architectures for Data Center Customers

San Jose, Calif. - June 11, 2019

With a focus on enabling purpose-built, open and scalable data center architectures, Western Digital today launched Zoned Storage, an initiative that brings together new innovations and industry standards for cloud and hyperscale data center architects to design efficient storage tiers that help maintain competitive TCO and achieve greater economies of scale as we approach the zettabyte-scale era.

By 2023 and beyond, enterprises, machines, industries, consumers, science and more will be generating 103 zettabytes per year, according to IDC*. For this next-generation of data, new data center constructs, such as composable disaggregated infrastructure, are needed as today's general-purpose architectures are inefficient and can carry resource and cost overhead when faced with an increasing span of workloads, applications and datasets. As more and more of this data will be sequential in nature – video, IoT/edge data, surveillance, or data that can be grouped or "zoned" into larger chunks such as large AI/ML datasets – there are opportunities to organize workloads for better performance and efficiencies with lower TCO by accelerating the adoption of zoned storage devices.

The Zoned Storage architecture enables applications, host and storage to orchestrate data placement and take full advantage of the highest available storage capacities typically with shingled magnetic recording (SMR) HDDs and the emerging zoned namespaces (ZNS) standard for NVMe SSDs to deliver better endurance and predictable, low-latency QoS performance. A planned extension of the NVMe standard, ZNS complements SMR technology, enabling developers to take advantage of both SMR and ZNS under a single storage stack, regardless of media type. With 50 percent of Western Digital's HDD exabyte shipments expected to be on SMR by 2023, customers will be able to leverage their SMR application development to encompass high-capacity ZNS SSDs. Delivering intelligence to application architectures, SMR and ZNS will be key foundational building blocks of the new zettabyte-scale era now and into the future.

"There's no doubt that the industry needs to come together and find new and creative ways to design and architect infrastructures for the future to more intelligently and efficiently optimize workloads, and storage and compute infrastructure," said Ashish Nadkarni, group vice president, Infrastructure Systems, Platforms and Technologies at IDC. "With total HDD and SSD revenue expected to reach 27 percent of total IT infrastructure spend by 2022, we see SMR, SSDs and ZNS together as a standout opportunity for cloud and hyperscale data center customers to optimize infrastructure for better cost economies at scale. Unifying the ZNS and SMR architectures via open, standards-based initiatives is a logical industry step, which can take advantage of SMR HDD areal density gains and new innovations in Flash. Whoever enters the market first, will definitely have a competitive advantage on TCO and the learning curve."

Areal Density Leadership with SMR, Plus ZNS NVMe SSDs, Lay Foundation for Zoned Storage Initiative
Increasingly, cloud service providers are investing in host software that can manage high-capacity SMR HDDs to deliver better TCO to customers at scale. SMR and ZNS are fundamentally reshaping cloud and enterprise data centers, delivering long-term TCO into the future. With a growing ecosystem and continued SMR adoption, Western Digital is focused on delivering the highest capacities, together with its evolving energy assist recording technologies. Today, the company's 15TB Ultrastar® DC HC620 SMR HDDs are shipping in volume, with a technology demonstration of its 20TB SMR HDD at a press event and private customer gathering being held in Beijing this week.

Western Digital is also announcing its ZNS development SSD for early Zoned Storage efforts. ZNS NVMe SSDs offer several benefits over traditional NVMe SSDs. Conforming to the ZNS feature set, as defined and governed by NVM Express, Inc., these ZNS SSDs are designed to lower write amplification, increase capacity, and provide improved throughput and latency. ZNS SSDs achieve these improvements by aligning "zones" to the internal physical properties of the SSDs, eliminating inefficiencies in the placement of data.

New ZonedStorage.io Community Site with Open-Source Tools and Libraries
As a natural extension to Western Digital's ongoing contributions within the NVMe Consortium, and its long history of making its SMR-based tools available to the open-source community, the company has launched ZonedStorage.io. Working with the open-source community, customers and industry players, ZonedStorage.io is aimed to jump-start application development initiatives within the developer community as well as help data center infrastructure engineers take advantage of Zoned Storage technologies. The site hosts information about software development libraries, tools, ZNS information, SMR resources and reference architectures that provide a unified framework to manage purpose-built ZNS SSDs and capacity-optimized SMR HDDs. Through this initiative, developers can gain confidence in the burgeoning ecosystem of community and industry contributors and supporters, including ATTO Technology, Broadcom, Mellanox and SUSE.

In addition to championing the ZonedStorage.io site, Western Digital's suite of products consists of the Ultrastar ZNS NVMe development SSD and the Ultrastar DC HC620 15TB SMR HDD. The 15TB Ultrastar DC HC620 is currently available and shipping in volume to qualified customers. The Ultrastar ZNS NVMe development SSD is available to select customers. Please visit WesternDigital.com for Ultrastar product information or ZonedStorage.io for open-source information.


Industry Quotes:

"If you think about the digital universe and how much content will be generated – from healthcare to autonomous cars to digital marketplaces and smart cities – we're just scratching the surface of zettabyte-scale," said Martin Fink, CTO, Western Digital. "With this data deluge, data centers architects can't simply solve problems in the same way using general-purpose IT. The Zoned Storage initiative, along with our innovations in Flash and SMR – including our 20TB on nine-disks – gives customers the tools and resources needed to architect and intelligently optimize workloads for generations to come. Through our understanding of software stacks, and proven contributions to initiatives and standards committees such as RISC-V and NVMe/NVMe-oF, we look forward to sharing that knowledge with the open-source community to help drive support and adoption of ZNS and SMR."

"We have been working with Western Digital for quite some time testing, validating and delivering solutions as part of its host-managed SMR HDD ecosystem," said Jas Tremblay, vice president and general manager, Data Center Solutions Group at Broadcom. "As a leading provider of storage controllers, our goal is to enable customers to create optimal infrastructure designs that reduce risk while lowering total system cost and time-to-market. The Zoned Storage initiative is a new and historic step to help prepare cloud and hyperscale customers for the zettabyte-scale era. Thanks to the strong stewardship of Western Digital, and the work of the NVMe committee and the open source community, we're bringing smart disaggregation, intelligence, and standardization in the storage tier for generations to come."

"SUSE is a pioneer in open source software and software-defined infrastructure that helps our customers manage data complexity and increase efficiency," said Matthias Eckermann, director of Product Management Linux Platforms, SUSE. "Host-managed SMR HDDs and ZNS are the two foundational technologies of the Zoned Storage initiative where SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 and SUSE Enterprise Storage will play a vital role in the orchestration of applications, host and storage. The end result is improved workload efficiency, better utilization of IT infrastructure and resources, and lower TCO. We look forward to contributing to the ZonedStorage.io community to help enable the zetta-scale era."

"Mellanox offers unique intelligent networking and storage acceleration technologies and have worked with Western Digital to bring truly best-in-class storage solutions to customers worldwide," said Dror Goldenberg, senior vice president of software architecture, Mellanox Technologies. "We look forward to working with Western Digital in the Zoned Storage initiative to leverage SMR and ZNS storage in conjunction with Mellanox's BlueField and SmartNIC portfolio to deliver highly scalable and adaptable infrastructures to handle increasing data volumes, bandwidth requirements and new application types in the data center."

"As a leader specializing in storage and network connectivity, and infrastructure solutions for the most demanding data-intensive IT and M&E environments, our goal is to work with our ecosystem partners, including Western Digital on host-managed SMR, and the open-source community to help customers better store, manage and deliver data," said Tom Kolniak, senior director, Marketing, ATTO Technology. "The foundational open-source work that Zoned Storage provides through ZonedStorage.io, leveraging ZNS and SMR, creates more options for SDS infrastructures as a way to both manage current complex storage challenges, and lays a foundation to more intelligently manage and scale workloads for the future."

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About Western Digital
Western Digital creates environments for data to thrive. The company is driving the innovation needed to help customers capture, preserve, access and transform an ever-increasing diversity of data. Everywhere data lives, from advanced data centers to mobile sensors to personal devices, our industry-leading solutions deliver the possibilities of data. Western Digital data-centric solutions are marketed under the Western Digital, G-Technology™, SanDisk, and WD brands.

*Source IDC Worldwide Global DataSphere Forecast, 2019-2023: Consumer Dependence on the Enterprise Widening, January 2019, DOC #US44615319

Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains certain forward-looking statements, including statements regarding the Zoned Storage Initiative, applications, benefits, capabilities, features and performance of Western Digital's SSD and HDD products. There are a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause these forward-looking statements to be inaccurate including, among others: volatility in global economic conditions; business conditions and growth in the storage ecosystem; impact of competitive products and pricing; market acceptance and cost of commodity materials and specialized product components; actions by competitors; unexpected advances in competing technologies; our development and introduction of products based on new technologies and expansion into new data storage markets; risks associated with acquisitions, mergers and joint ventures; difficulties or delays in manufacturing; and other risks and uncertainties listed in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our most recently filed periodic report to which your attention is directed. The company undertakes no obligation to update the information in this release in the event facts or circumstances change after the date of this release.

© 2019 Western Digital Corporation or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Western Digital, the Western Digital logo, G-Technology, SanDisk, WD, and Ultrastar are registered trademarks or trademarks of Western Digital Corporation or its affiliates in the US and/or other countries. Linux® is the registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the U.S. and other countries. The NVMe and NVMe-oF word marks are trademarks of NVM Express, Inc. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

As used for storage capacity, one terabyte (TB) = one trillion bytes. Total accessible capacity varies depending on operating environment.

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