Research Library

Western Digital ActiveScale – Product Brief

Last updated September 8th, 2019 for additions to the EvaluScale table. Concise 6-page overview of archive offering HGST Active Archive. Covers highlights, potential, usage, & strengths/weaknesses.

Western Digital purchased Amplidata in March of 2015 and offers systems packaged as a large scale object storage using Western Digital devices.  Focused on the storage demands of big data, media & entertainment file data, archives, and content repositories, the WD object storage systems have the ability to scale to very large capacities and numbers of objects and provide the availability/durability and performance for those usage cases.

There are three models, one in the ActiveScale family and two in the Active Archive family.  All systems execute the same embedded software.  The ActiveScale is a more recent model with an identity change to reflect the more expansive usage.

Using commodity based platforms; Western Digital object storage systems are built with a predefined configuration using a dedicated 10GigE.  A single namespace or storage pool is maintained across the multiple nodes.  The original Amplistor is also offered as a software-only solution for prior OEMs to package as a solution.

Forward Error Correction with rateless erasure coding is used to distribute data across nodes and across geographies.  Object data can be accessed in parallel, increasing the performance for bandwidth of data transfer.  The Western Digital Controllers manage the spreading function with rateless erasure coding and control access.  The distribution function will balance capacity across nodes, managing the non-disruptive addition of storage nodes.  GeoSpread uses the same rateless erasure coding to distribute data across geographically dispersed systems.  Agents are installed on nodes for out of band management and do continuous background integrity checking and healing.

Object caching in SSD or HDD caches is used for performance acceleration and optimizes transfers for geographically dispersed data or high-latency networks.  Read caching can be enabled on any number of controllers and objects are only cached in a single controller.  Writes are write-through and cached data is invalidated on a write.

Western Digital ActiveScale Product Brief includes:

  • Overview
  • Highlights
  • Usage
  • EvaluScale Product Review Methodology
  • Evaluator Group Opinion
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