Tyler managed to kick out his two reviews of Western Digital's new Red and Red Pro products in a single drive environment on a desktop. Today, I take the Reds to a NAS to measure performance over the network. Before we get started, let's talk about some of the changes WD made to the Red family.
Upon release, Western Digital marketed the Red 3.5-inch drives for NAS products ranging from 1 to 5 drives. It didn't take long for adventurous souls to try even higher drive counts in larger NAS products. The highest we took the original Red with NASware 1.0 was 11 drives with a single SSD cache in a QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP. At that point, we were way out of Western Digital's recommended usage model, but the system performed flawlessly.
We must not have been the only ones testing Reds in larger drive bays because Western Digital has increased the recommended drive count to 8 drive bays for all Red products. The latest version of NASware, now up to version 3.0, brings a few new enhancements. The new third generation supports the ATA Streaming Feature Set for better A/V performance. 3.0 also increases the SMART Command Transport support, now offering temperature accuracy within 1C as well as better power management support.
The latest NASware piles on features to existing 1.0 and 2.0, the most notable being TLER, a technology designed for hard disks in a RAID environment that reduces the chance of your NAS performing a full rebuild when a recoverable error occurs.
NASware 3.0 isn't the only big news in this release. The 3.5-inch Red gains two new capacity sizes, 5TB and 6TB. In addition to the new Red capacity sizes, a new 7,200 RPM model, Red Pro, makes its first appearance, replacing Western Digital's Se product line for NAS environments up to 16 drive bays. The up-spec Red Pro also features hardware vibration compensation for large arrays in rackmount servers with several in the same cabinet, and a longer warranty.
Unlike most products, the WD Red Family gets special treatment when it comes to warranty and support. Western Digital knows that valuable data resides on NAS/backup appliances, and when something goes wrong, it can turn tragic. To help expedite any issues, Red products get a special premium 24/7 support like 1-855-WDRED.
Let's take a look at the two new Red products and then put them to the test in a high performance NAS environment.
PRICING: You can find the Western Digital Red and Red Pro for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The Western Digital Red 6TB retails for $299.99 at Amazon.
United States: The Western Digital Red Pro 4TB retails for $259.99 at Amazon.