The Incredible Shrinking Bit

The Flash Memory Summit (FMS) is upon us and, while it’s an exciting time to be in the Flash business, it’s particularly exciting for us because it will be the first time the new members of the Western Digital Corporation family, the HGST brand and SanDisk brand, will be together exhibiting at a conference. We at HGST are extremely pleased to share space with SanDisk and cannot wait to showcase one of the largest portfolios of Flash memory and hard disk-based solutions for the data center. We hope to see you at booth #207!

Today just about everyone knows that bits don’t shrink…but how we store them has undergone radical change.

In 1956, the very commercial computer to use magnetic storage (better known as a hard-disk drive), known as the IBM 305 RAMAC, came to be. Inside it was the IBM 350 disk storage unit, which stored the equivalent of 5MB* of data in 50 large disks, each one 24-inches in diameter. At 5 ft. high by 6 ft. wide the 350 weighed over 1 ton. It was designed as a persistent data store with a “rapid access time of 1 second.”


Over the years, through acquisitions, Western Digital Corporation has inherited some of IBM’s technical legacy in storage.

Forward to 2016 and you will see just how amazing our engineers and manufacturing teams have become. Today we pack 10TB of capacity into a 3.5” disk drive that weighs in just under 1.45 pounds with average access times of 4.6 milliseconds. With thousands of patents involving disk storage, including the game-changing HelioSeal® technology, the collective Western Digital Corporation brands are a leader in data storage units shipped, revenues, and reliability.

Now flash forward to August 8-11 at the Flash Memory Summit 2016 (FMS 2016) in the Santa Clara Convention Center. Here the latest version of some of the HGST brand and SanDisk brand products will be unveiled, with a new look and one of the broadest storage portfolios in the industry. Through constant innovation, and the additions of the HGST brand,  SanDisk brand and others, Western Digital Corporation has shipped millions of storage devices to the world.


At FMS 2016 we will display even more innovations in persistent storage with the unveiling of the first monolithic 64-layer 3D NAND using Bit Cost Scaling (BICS) that delivers .5Tbits per chip. Protected by U.S. Patent No. 8,445,347 B2, and others, this new approach has given us roughly 250 million times density reduction since RAMAC and 50,000 times improvement in access time.

A keynote speaker will be Western Digital Corporations’ Dr. Siva Sivaram who will share lessons learned from 3D NAND and how the move to this new layered approach is to help deliver continued improvements in capacity, endurance and performance. He will also share insights into 3D NAND fabrication.

Dr. Sivaram is one of the nine different speakers representing Western Digital Corporation at the event. We also plan to have numerous kiosks at our newly branded booth, including an integrated portfolio presentation and product displays from Client and Enterprise Devices, Data Center Solutions, Mobile and Retail teams.


This year’s theme will highlight one of the industry’s broadest storage portfolio. We will have a very cool demo of virtual reality headsets powered by Flash and a host of other demos including a 2-foot-tall model of the 64-layer 3D NAND, sure to be a geek magnet.

Finally, the company is hosting a Caribbean-themed reception on August 9th.

It is going to be a great event. Please look for, and forward news coming from @HGSTstorage, @sandiskdatactr as well as @flashmem.

For all of the show highlights, look for another blog on 8-17.


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About Walter Hinton

avatarWalter Hinton is Sr. Global Director for Marketing at Western Digital Corporation. He brings over 25 years of experience in storage, networking including roles in Product Management at McDATA, Chief Strategist for StorageTek and CTO of ManagedStorage International.