Western Digital launches Zoned Storage for data centers

With a focus on enabling purpose-built, open and scalable data center architectures, Western Digital 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.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.

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.

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.

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.

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