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WD Red and WD Se NAS HDD Enterprise RAID Report

By: Paul Alcorn | HDDs in Storage | Posted: Oct 9, 2013 2:01 pm

Final Thoughts




Users looking for a more durable HDD for their NAS units desire as much reliability and performance as possible. Looking to a higher-tier HDD is a natural progression for those in the market for the best performance and reliability.


While the Red has plenty of durability, and is geared for demanding NAS workloads, the longer warranty period and resilience to heavier workloads will attract many to the WD Se. The higher spindle speed of the Se has the side effect of higher power consumption, but to users with more demanding workloads, this can be an acceptable trade-off for the increased performance.


You simply cannot get around the fact that most NAS units, especially in the 1-5 bay category, are constrained to the limit of a single gigabit Ethernet port. A single gigabit Ethernet port is limited to an effective speed of 120-125 MB/s. The sequential speeds we received from the RAID 0 array were in the 550-600 MB/s range from both arrays, which easily outstrips the speed of the Ethernet connection.


Where the real difference comes in is in multiple user environments, where all access becomes randomized. Users with heavy random access will find a large difference in performance with the faster Se series.


Most users will not be utilizing a RAID 0 in their NAS unless they dealing with replicated data protected by strong backup schemes. Even with the Red's pushing out 580 IOPS in our random tests, we have to keep in mind that is only a scant 2 MB/s. Moving up to the Se brought about gains to nearly 800 IOPS with a 4K random read workload. The gains were much higher in random read access than random writes, where we only observed an incremental increase in speed. With mixed read/write workloads, there isn't as much of a difference between the two solutions in RAID 0.


In RAID 5, the most common use case, the Se really comes into its own. With RAID 5 random write activity, the Se's blew past the Reds - it really was a no-contest. RAID 5 sequential performance is also penalized heavily for the Reds, while the Se array continued to chug along with great speed. Our tests with mixed read/write sequential workloads further illustrated the huge difference between the two solutions in RAID 5, with the Se coming out with a big win. When it came to our workload emulations, there was a much larger performance delta between the two arrays, with the Se coming away with a resounding win.


The performance was a big win for the Se where it matters, in the RAID 5 tests. The faster platter speeds and enterprise-class features shone through to win the day. Throwing an extra two years of warranty into the mix, for a total of five years, distances the Se from the Red that much more. With better reliability and performance, the Se makes a great NAS HDD for demanding environments.

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