If you find that your collection of entirely legal movies, games, and TV shows is just too expansive for even the biggest of mechanical hard drives, Western Digital is doing its darndest to keep your satiated for storage. Its new 20TB mechanical hard drive is the biggest ever made available to the public, and includes a new OptiNAND technology to help keep it fast and usable over the long term.
This is effectively, a massive hard drive with a 3D NAND cache on it, which should make it surprisingly nippy for a hard drive. It's made up of nine distinct platters, each managing 2.2TB a piece, and will use a variety of technologies to synchronize data access and writing across them. It also has a custom SoC to manage the interaction between the drive and the host system, to ensure data is accessed quickly and easily, without any major lag -- for a hard drive. It'll still be significantly slower than an SSD, especially at random read and write commands.
OptiNAND also has a handy function for those worried about data integrity. It has the ability to store up to 100MB of data if the hard drive suddently stops, massively reducing the potential for data loss in the event of sudden power failure or damage.
The drive is expected to start shipping in the next few months, and could usher in a new era of ever more massive hard drives. There is no obvious limit to the technology, even as it continues to age poorly in terms of raw performance. It still remains the best method for massive, long term storage, and could lead to 50TB+ drives in the decade to come.