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Hortonworks Customer

Western Digital

cloud Western Digital Case Study


WD, a Western Digital company, designs and makes storage devices that serve the primary markets for storage: enterprise and cloud data centers, consumer electronics, backup, the internet and other emerging markets such as automotive and home and small office networking.

WD’s highly sophisticated and data-rich manufacturing process produces 50-60 million devices every quarter and the company has honed its manufacturing processes since it was founded in 1970. Today, WD continues to innovate its manufacturing process, using Hadoop in combination with its established data warehouse solutions to analyze huge amounts of manufacturing data.

Business Challenge

The WD manufacturing process is state of the art and driven by data. The first phase of the process occurs in the clean room, where each drive’s components are assembled. Sensors capture data at each step, for each drive. Across about 200 million devices per year, this adds up to petabytes of information.

This sensor data is valuable and can be categorized in two ways. Some of that test data is related to warranties on WD’s drives, and should be stored in the company’s traditional data warehouse. The company was only able to retain data for between 3 months to 1 year. Access to that data was limited to a relatively small number of individuals within WD.


The company chose Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) as the best solution to improve its data retention and data access. With Hadoop, WD continues to improve the quality of its products and manufacturing yields.

The Hortonworks professional services team worked with WD to migrate its existing Hadoop environment to HDP, and then to upgrade that cluster to include the most recent community innovations found in the latest version of HDP.


Hadoop and Hortonworks Data Platform delivered real business value for WD. Increased access to data has driven more internal demand for that data from across WD. The manufacturing team provides a Critical Parameter Dashboard that allows employees to drill down into the data. By satisfying the growing demand for data more quickly, the WD Hadoop team helps the entire organization make better decisions and respond more nimbly to changes in technology and the marketplace.

Before Hadoop, WD retained data for between 3 months to one year. Hortonworks Data Platform extends the data retention time horizon to two years. With this additional data, WD engineers can identify subtler patterns in the data that may not surface over a shorter time horizon.