Western Digital offers an expansive portfolio of technologies, storage devices, systems and solutions for business and consumers alike. The data-centric solutions are comprised of the Western Digital, G-Technology, SanDisk, and WD brands.
Western Digital creates environments for data to thrive, helping customer capture, preserve, access and transform an ever-increasing diversity of data. Here, Guruswamy Ganesh, Senior VP, Western Digital, and Supria Dhanda, VP and Country Manager, India, WD, share their thoughts on how data is evolving. Excerpts:
Dataquest: Given how data is evolving, what is WD’s advice for having a data strategy?
Guruswamy Ganesh: The data strategy for companies, and countries, are specific to each domain. WD is the data infrastructure provider for the world for storage. Data is going to be strategic piece of currency going forward. The right kind of data will help make right decisions.
For instance, in telecom, how consumers use data on a daily basis is very important. Data can be classified in various categories. How bandwidth is partitioned for each city, place, etc., is also very important. For medical, the right kind of data, reaching the doctor, can save people’s lives. Data is empowering people.
Dataquest: Have you thought of zettabyte of storage capacity and beyond?
Guruswamy Ganesh: We have moved on to the Yottabyte. We have new terminologies for how data is going to be structured. Where each data is stored creates its own challenges. You classify data to be residing on cloud, edge, or personal data. Real-time apps need data to come in as fast as possible. You can make real time decisions. Hard drives can generate higher capacities of storage. They play an important role in the cloud strategy.
Dataquest: Elaborate on the SMR or shingled magnetic recording. How is it different from the other modes?
Guruswamy Ganesh: If you look at the traditional hard drive, there used to be PMR, or CMR, as we are going to higher capacity storage, we are relooking at architectures. SMR recording is now capable of generating higher densities of storage. WD announced SMR-ZNS architecture.
If customers are using SMR and ZNS, it allows them to rewrite app software, so they can have more storage. They can also control data. This leads to more throughput and efficiency. SMR allows tracks to be more tightly packed. We are largest providers of persistent storage today. We want customers to write apps that are efficient.
Dataquest: Elaborate on the AI-powered surveillance that uses high-capacity drives.
Guruswamy Ganesh: AI is going to generate lot of data. SMR is key for AI-powered surveillance. We also have SSDs on the edge. Even a data centre can be classified as hot or cold storage.
Dataquest: Why aren’t you part of 5GAA? Your iNAND memory is used for local storage in automotives.
Guruswamy Ganesh: We are starting to be part of the automotive industry. We have the removable products, micro SD cards, eMMC solutions, and UFS solutions. These are being used by most people today. We look at opportunities to be part of any association, to serve customers well.
Dataquest: Elaborate on the NVMe-of. How good is the performance?
Guruswamy Ganesh: Traditional storage has always been SATA. It has now run out of bandwidth. The fastest evolving standard is NVMe. For enterprise and client, PCI Gen3 is widely prevalent. We are now on the verge of moving to PCI Gen4.
As for NVMe-of, as we grow the number of storage, we need even more storage space. We are looking at a fabric where we are able to attach a lot more storage for the same compute capacity. The industry is proposing a fabric of storage that talks to a computer.
Dataquest: Elaborate on the global and Indian market for storage.
Supria Dhanda: The data industry is the fastest- growing industry segment. It is necessary for storage to grow. We also play in client devices. We are doing SSDs and hard drives. We are also seeing continuous growth in the mobile and embedded markets. The other areas are surveillance and enterprise markets. Each one of the large companies has their own data architecture.
Western Digital India
* Western Digital India, with an overall workforce capital of 2,700 strong and growing, plays a pivotal role in the company’s R&D and product development strategy.
* The India operation is Western Digital’s leading Engineering, Research and Design center, mirroring the complete stack of development solutions from global headquarters, including breakthrough Flash-based and HDD products, as well as driving future innovations that deliver the infinite possibilities of data.
* The company began operations in India in 2005, focusing mainly on R&D. In 2014, Western Digital expanded its presence in the country by moving to a state-of-the-art facility in Bangalore where it continues to build and grow from. The center focuses on ASIC, memory design, firmware, software development, etc.
* Engineers at the Bangalore facility play a key role in developing break-through HDD and flash-based products
— 1TB Extreme MicroSDXC Card) – world’s fastest microSD Card in its category.
— 512 GB SanDisk Extreme UHS-I MicroSDXC card – world’s fastest UHS-I microSD, in its category.
* Western Digital’s Bangalore R&D operations have played a pivotal role in the company memory’s and product design for over a decade.
* In terms of employee base, Western Digital India has achieved 10X growth in the last five years and has close to doubled its growth in the last two years alone, signifying continuous growth of investment in India.
* India is one of the top-ranking countries within the company in terms of patents filed per year and has the largest number of fresh University Graduate employees producing the largest number of patents worldwide, for the organization.