The WD Se fills a niche that is growing rapidly in the datacenter: the need to store large amounts of unstructured data in an economical manner. Tailoring the Se to deliver enterprise-class features for environments that have less-intense workloads provides a much-needed high capacity storage tier in the datacenter.
The 3.5" SATA 7,200 RPM WD Se will find itself at home in bulk cloud storage, replicated environments, content delivery networks, SMB network attached storage (NAS), and backup and archiving roles. For those with heavier workloads, WD also offers the Re and Xe models to address performance challenges.
We compared the WD Se to the Toshiba MG03SCA300 in a showdown of two enterprise-class 7,200 RPM HDDs designed for Tier-2 workloads. The WD Se delivered lower power consumption in our testing, with a large difference separating the two HDD's. This can be misleading due to the higher performance offered form the Toshiba in many workloads. However, this benefits the Se in scalable environments. The WD Se will spend a significant amount of time in spin-down or low power states in its intended environment. In our IOPS-to-Watts testing, the two HDDs traded blows, with the Toshiba MG03SCA300 typically leading in the read IOPS-to-Watts category. The WD Se tends to provide a better power ratio in write environments.
In performance testing, the WD Se offered a tighter performance range in our 4K and 8K testing. When we subjected the Se to mixed workloads, we witnessed significant latency variability. This is not entirely surprising with WD's focus on providing an economical mass-storage layer. The Toshiba MG03SCA300 is better suited for mixed workloads. The WD Se performed well in our Fileserver testing, though we observed the distinct latency distribution that penalizes the Se in heavier workloads.
In sequential workloads, likely a large part of the WD Se's workload in the datacenter, the WD Se excelled and provided a very consistent level of performance. Sequential performance is one of the key differentiators for the Se models. The Se offers up 171 MB/s, the Re SAS 182 MB/s, the Re SATA 171 MB/s and the Red offers 145 MB/s. This provides a tiered approach for multiple workloads. The Se might also find a home among existing Red users who require a larger capacity of 4TB. The Red series currently tops out at 3TB.
With intense qualification for the Se series, WD has put the drives through five million hours (570 years) of functional and thermal testing and an additional 20 million hours of actual workload validation; WD has done their homework with the WD Se series of HDDs. There is also an extended burn-in test with thermal cycling for each HDD manufactured.
The WD Se provides a low-cost solution that addresses the needs of today's massive scale out architectures. The Se also delivers low power consumption and a host of enterprise class features to meet the five year warranty. For those that utilize the WD Se in its intended environments where capacity is more important than speed, it will provide a value that is hard to match, winning it TweakTown's Best Value Award.