June 28, 2018

Western Digital multiplies announcements

Western Digital, the American storage giant, has made a series a product announcement during The IT Press Tour for its data center activity. The company unveiled essentially 3 products to support its data center strategy around Big and Fast Data: an extension of the IntelliFlash N-Series member of its system line for primary and secondary usage, a new OS release for its ActiveScale object storage solution, a typical secondary storage product, and a new hybrid storage server named Ultrastar Serv60+8 that belongs to its platform line. The first two announcements show a development effort from WDC on its 2 acquisition, ActiveScale from Amplidata acquired in 2015 and Tegile swallowed more recently in September 2017.

Phil Bullinger, SVP and GM, Data Center Systems, Platforms and Systems, at Western Digital, covered these products. First for ActiveScale, the product receives the 5.3 operating system release offering a Unified Data Access, a replication feature able to copy an on-prem instance to AWS at the bucket level, the support of Docker, like many other players, and the 12TB FIPS HDD support. ActiveScale offers also now a better storage density with 20% gain. The company continues to market 19 nines which is like a dream. On that object storage part, nothing new in fact as several other object storage vendors already offered object and file access to the same content. I have introduced that to the market in 2013. The CIO of WDC was invited to illustrate all his department usages and we noticed that they coupled ActiveScale with Komprise.

For the IntelliFlash N-Series, the business unit leader introduced 2 new models N5240/N5280 and N5840/N5880 with new capacity, a flexible data reduction method, a non-disruptive volume copy and non-disruptive data migration and finally a fast file copies mechanism. Globally these new systems representing the unified block + file storage solutions from WDC offer 1.5 to 2.5 performance improvement.

Last and interesting launch was the Ultrastar Serv60+8, a hybrid 4U server with 60 HDD, SSD or Hybrid drives associated with 8 SAS, SATA or NVMe SSD drives. This platform receives 2 Xeon processors and promotes ArticFlow and IsoVibe, 2 innovations, the first dedicated to the cooling of the platform, and the second relate to the vibration isolation.

These new products iterations represent a strategic direction for WDC that clearly desire to install and penetrate seriously the data center business. We'll see how the market especially partners I mean customers and other vendors will react and adopt these as the product line is very consistent illustrating very interesting directions.

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