Virtualization Technology News and Information
Western Digital Champions Zoned Storage, an Open Initiative to Redefine Data Centers for Zettabyte Scale

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 UltrastarĀ® 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 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 Working with the open-source community, customers and industry players, 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 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.

Published Tuesday, June 11, 2019 12:09 PM by David Marshall
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