Ed Strong

A Conversation With Ed Strong

Western Digital released a 3 terabyte AV hard drive May 16 aimed at storing video from surveillance systems. We sat down with WD’s marketing director, Ed Strong, to learn more about the new product.

Q. Tell us more about this new hard drive Western Digital released.

A. This is an AV-class hard drive, versus a desktop hard drive. Because it’s going into surveillance boxes where video is being recorded 24/7, it has a different reliability specification. Reliability and quality are much more important with these AV-class hard drives than how quickly the data is read and written -- which is the primary concern that users of desktop models have. With surveillance, what’s the point of recording activity if you’re not sure that that piece of evidence will even be there when you need it?

Going along with that, our drive has a time-limited error recovery. What this means is when the drive is recording, if it misses something, it just skips it and continues recording the new data. A desktop drive would spend up to 12 seconds trying to find it; meanwhile you’ve lost 12 seconds of surveillance video. It can also withstand higher temperatures. AV drives are situated in a smaller chassis and in media cabinets where the operating temperatures can get even hotter – 45 to 70 degres Celsius. That’s a 100 percent higher temperature resistance than what a desktop drive offers.

Q. Explain the "greenpower" feature.

A. We asked our engineers if we could have the hard drive disk spin more slowly. That way it emits less heat and consumes less power -- 40 percent less power than a standard 7,200 rpm desktop drive. This is important from the energy usage perspective. We test these things every way you can imagine -- heat them, cool them, shake them, drop them and then run them for 1,000 hours -- before we ever ship the first product.

Q. Why did you decide to expand the drive to 3 terabytes? What benefits does this provide over a 2 terabyte drive?

A. Three terabytes provides up to 80 more hours of digital video, which is really the driving force behind the capacity expansion of this hard drive. There are two trends within that. One is high-definition video, which we all are very well aware of in the U.S. and increasingly so in the developing world. There’s a strong foundation of analog digital cameras in the surveillance world, but more and more those are becoming network cameras. And within that world, the average megapixel resolution from cameras has quickly increased. As those cameras become more and more able to record and store digital video, the hard drives that are being used to store that data need to become larger.

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