The Return of WD Gold Data Center Hard Drives
Good news for everyone that enjoyed the simplicity and ease of the WD Colours system for your enterprise data storage. It is looking like WD Gold is going to be coming back in 2019/2020 and in all the way upto 14TB of capacity. Details are still a little thin and speculative, but
Why Did WD remove WD Gold Data Center Drives?
Having the right tool for the job is always important and we when it comes to data and for hard drives that will be featured in more hard-working/enterprise environments, this is especially true. When the WD Gold series of drives was declared ‘end of life’ just over a year ago, a number of data center and corporate level server storage buyers were surprised. That isn’t to say that WD just dropped them and ran off. No, due to the merging of WD and HGST (along with a few other brands), the decision was likely taken that rather than proceed with the relatively young WD Gold brand (which in itself was a rebrand of the enterprise SE, RE and XE drive series’), they decided to phase WD Gold out and concentrate on the HGST Ultrastar HC and DC ranges of data center drives. It makes alot of sense, HGST Ultrastar has been around alot longer and existing customers with rack server cabinets full of drives already in place, it makes sense to keep things under the same system (though adding WD to the label).
Why is WD Gold possibly coming back?
There are any number of reasons for WD Gold returning to sale, but I think one likely reason is to do with the simplicity of the WD Brand in general. The original move towards their drive ranges featuring colour identification was always a smart one and really, really helped the end-user select the right media for their intended task. In the rest of their range, it has always been the case with both Hard Drives and SSD that:
Blue = Desktop PC Single Unit Drive
Black = Professional Single Unit Drive
Red = NAS Based 24×7 Use with sporadic use
Green = Energy Conscious
Purple = Surveillance and Heavy Write Operations
Gold (till it was EOL) = Enterprise and DATA Center Hard Access 24×7
The simplicity and ease of this cannot be understated and allowed people to immediately narrow the right kind of media they needed down to select a colour. From there they simply select the capacity they need, reducing the range a user had to pick between from 100s of drives to less than 10. When WD Gold was phased out in favour of HGST Ultrastar, this made sense from a model awareness point of view, but did not help those looking to buy for the first time. In fact, it only serves to complicate things, with huge ranges of SATA, SAS, SED, 4K, High Encryption, high density, high file format options. These options DO need to exist, but for those that were not in need of a drive that was so, SO specialized, it is jsut overly complex. That is the reason more than any other that I think WD Gold will be coming back. Not replacing the HGST Ultrastar range, but existing between it and the WD Red Pro series, as it did previously.
What Capacity will WD Gold be available in?
From what I have found so far, I can confirm that the WD Gold series will be available in 4-14TB in capacity per drive. Additionally, the drives feature changed part numbers to the older series of Gold drives that existed before the range was made end of life. So:
|WD Gold (Old)||WD Gold (New)|
Should I Buy a WD Red Pro or WD Gold Drive?
If/when WD Gold comes back (as this is still based on model ID information and it might not be the first time we have seen phantom part numbers, there is a 20TB HGST Ultrastar still out there somewhere), it is likely that many users will want to install them inside NAS drives. This was a very popular choice when they were still available, given their relative similarity in the specifications to the WD Red Pro Business-class NAS range. They are very similar drives, though the WD Gold features a better mean time between failure (MTBF) at 2.5Million vs 1Million. Additionally, the possible data writes in a year was higher on the WD Gold 550TB/p/y, compared with 300TB/p/y on the WD Red Pro series. They are even a pinch less noisy at 20dB(A) against 29dB(A). There is more information on how these two HDD types compare based on when they were both available on the article below.