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Dynamic Hybrid-SMR: an OCP proposal to improve data center disk drives

November 13th, 2017

Early last year, we published a whitepaper on the need for new disks in data centers, and announced we were joining the Open Compute Project (OCP) to help drive innovation in IT infrastructure. Since then, we’ve been collaborating with members of the OCP storage project to align on a collection of common Cloud Hard Disk Drive (HDD) features and interfaces to adapt to exponentially growing storage needs in data centers.

Today, we’re announcing that we’re sharing a proposal with OCP for Dynamic Hybrid Shingled Magnetic Recording (HSMR) HDD Product Requirements. Our goal is to work with major cloud HDD vendors, customers and partners to collaborate on defining such an HDD behavior and interface.

As we explained in detail in the Disks for Data Center whitepaper, a regular Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) HDD enables physical data compression through recording layout optimizations that lower the cost per byte of an HDD by up to 10-20 percent. While such a cost reduction for cloud storage is highly sought after, the complexity of a distributed file system managing data placement onto separate SMR and CMR drives, while eliminating IOP stranding, is significant. An HSMR HDD, on the other hand, allows IOPs to be shared across SMR and CMR data, reducing the likelihood of stranding.

We believe Hybrid-SMR is the next major milestone in our ongoing pursuit to lower the cost of storage in data centers. We look forward to continued collaboration with adopters and contributors as we draft and innovate on this new HDD technology together through OCP.  To learn more, and participate in the discussion, join us at the OCP storage project meetings.