The enhancements in NASware 3.0 allow the new line of WD Red NAS HDDs to scale up from one to five bay applications to eight bays. This extends the reach of the primarily client-oriented Red drives into SOHO applications. The Red now also encroaches partially upon the WD SE's territory. The WD SE is geared specifically for the datacenter, and addresses similar workloads of up to 180 TB/year, in six to twelve bay NAS applications. WD also released the WD Red Pro (reviewed here) for larger eight to sixteen bay applications.
The features that make the Red attractive to NAS users also provide benefits in DAS RAID usage. One of the biggest challenges for professional users is to find value HDDs that are acceptable for RAID usage. Desktop drives suffer from numerous disadvantages when paired with onboard RAID, or even full-featured RAID controllers.
One of the keys for reliable RAID data storage is the ability to communicate HDD data errors to the controller. This prevents the drive itself from spending a lengthy time attempting to repair the error, which results in the RAID array dropping the entire drive from the array. Large capacity drives triggering an entire RAID rebuild process invoke a lengthy performance crippling process that places users in danger of losing all of their data in the event of an unrecoverable error. NAS drives avoid this process by communicating the error to the RAID code, which in turn rebuilds the affected data from parity.
The new series of Red drives also expands capacity to 5TB and 6TB in the 3.5" form factor, and smaller capacity 2.5" form factor drives are available. This increases capacity up to 48TB for eight-drive RAID, or NAS applications. The 6TB Red features a 175 MB/s SDR (Sustained Data Rate) and 64 MB of cache. The SDR varies upon capacity, and all drives feature the SATA 6Gb/s connection.
The Red spins at 5,400 RPM, or Intellipower as WD refers to it, which reduces power consumption and noise. The WD Red Pro is designed for heavier workloads, and spins at 7,200 RPM. The 6TB Red also features a 10^14 UBER rating and one-million hour MTBF, which is on par for NAS HDDs. All the NAS drives in our test pool are rated for 600,000 load/unload cycles.
Initial revisions of the drive featured a firmware bug that slowed performance in heavy random workloads, but WD quickly issued a firmware fix for affected customers, and all drives currently shipping have the new firmware already installed.
NASware 3.0 improves resistance to vibration through a software implementation that detects vibration via head movements, and 3D Active Balance Plus dual-plane balance control steadies the platters during operation. The Red also improves reliability by completing all commands in process during a power loss event. WD has certified the Red series with a broad range of NAS manufacturers to ensure widespread compatibility.
The Red series offers a three-year warranty, and a 24/7 premium support phone line for users. The increased capacity and NASware 3.0 features make the Red a great choice for DAS RAID environments, and today we are testing the Red against the previous generation Red, and other RAID/NAS offerings. First, let's take a closer look at the hardware.
PRICING: You can find the WD Red Enterprise HDD 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 WD Red 6TB retails for $292.00 at Amazon, the WD Red 5TB retails for $244.00 at Amazon, the WD Red 4TB retails for $169.00 at Amazon, the WD Red 3TB retails for $121.99 at Amazon, the WD Red 2TB retails for $98.00 at Amazon, and the WD Red 1TB retails for $65.29 at Amazon.
Canada: The WD Red 6TB retails for CDN$375.48 at Amazon Canada, the WD Red 5TB retails for CDN$312.37 at Amazon Canada, the WD Red 4TB retails for CDN$203.16 at Amazon Canada, the WD Red 3TB retails for CDN$139.98 at Amazon Canada, the WD Red 2TB retails for CDN$119.99 at Amazon Canada, and the WD Red 1TB retails for CDN$74.98 at Amazon Canada.
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- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [WD Red Internals and Specifications]
- Page 3 [Test System and Methodology]
- Page 4 [Benchmarks - 4k Random Read/Write]
- Page 5 [Benchmarks - 8k Random Read/Write]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks - 128k Sequential Read/Write]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks - Database/OLTP and File Server]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks - Email Server]
- Page 9 [Final Thoughts]