This week, Seagate launched new, bigger IronWolf Pro hard drives. At 24TB in capacity, the new IronWolf Pro drives offer more capacity per drive but also show just how much hard drive innovation has slowed. For some context, we did a similar piece for the Seagate Exos IronWolf Pro 20TB two years ago. 20% gains in 2 years is very slow in the computer industry.
Seagate IronWolf Pro 24TB CMR Hard Drives Are Out
Here are the key specs of the new drives:
Thankfully, Seagate specifically calls out that each IronWolf Pro drive is a CMR drive, not a SMR drive. That CMR drive spins at 7.2k RPM and has a maximum sustained transfer speed of 285MB/s. Like the 22TB model, this is also a 512MB of cache drive. It is a little bit crazy that we are now in an era where the largest CMR hard drives you can get have onboard cache smaller than a modern server CPU’s L3 cache.
For reliability, we get a 2.5M hour MTBF, but the nonrecoverable read errors per bits read is still rated at 1 in 10^15. That is notably worse than a current SSD at 1 in 10^17. On the workload rate limit side, 550TB/ yr is not a lot. That is only around 23 drive reads/ writes per year, which is well under the average SSD.
One of the big benefits of larger drives is that they allow more storage to fit into the same physical space and almost the same power budget. It is great to see that we now have 24TB drives. The list price is somewhere in the $649 range. That feels a bit high considering we are already seeing drives like the WD Gold 24TB at $629 so we would expect a newer drive with similar specs to be no more expensive.
Still, given the pricing of drives and the slow pace of innovation, it is clear that this is a market that has been hurt by a lack of competition after decades of mergers.