Network-attached storage (NAS) drives provide fast and secure storage for backup files, or a central repository of shared files that everyone can access. As NAS drives are available 24/7, they offer the convenience of on-call access to data with minimal power consumption. That is why they are now a necessity in many businesses and even homes.
When NAS systems first became popular, they were built around normal desktop drives which were not designed for 24/7 operation. This led to poor performance and reliability. To address this, Western Digital developed the WD Red family of NAS hard disk drives.
Let us show you why you must use NAS-optimised drives like the WD Red drives for your NAS systems, instead of regular hard disk drives.
Reason #1 : Tougher, Cooler & Quieter
Desktop drives are designed to run as solitary drives, so they do not need much protection against vibration. Neither do they need to be particularly quiet or cool. When installed in a NAS enclosure, the vibration and heat from multiple drives running in close proximity greatly reduce their reliability and lifespan, while testing your tolerance for noise.
WD Red drives are designed to run cooler and vibrate less. They also come with technologies that offer better protection against vibration, like 3D Active Balance Plus. That’s why you can pack up to 8 WD Red drives (or 16 WD Red Pro drives) in a NAS enclosure without worrying about killing them… or your eardrums!
Reason #2 : 24/7 Reliability
Desktop drives are also not designed to run 24/7. WD Red drives, on the other hand, are specifically designed for the “always-on” environment of a NAS enclosure.
Just how reliable are WD Red drives? The latest WD Red drives that feature the NASware 3.0 firmware are rated for a MTBF (mean time before failure) of 1 million hours. If you buy 8 of these drives and run them 24/7, you will likely see a single drive fail only after 14 years of non-stop operation.
That’s why Western Digital backs up their WD Red drives with a 3-year warranty. Their higher-end WD Red Pro drives (which support up to 16 drives in a single NAS enclosure) come with a 5-year warranty.
Reason #3 : Optimised For NAS
The performance requirements for network storage is vastly different from that of a desktop computer. Desktop drives will see a rough 50-50 mix of read and write operations over time, and their firmware are designed to support simultaneous read and write operations.
NAS drives, however, will experience far more reads than writes. After all, when you share files (family holiday photos, for example), they are written once but read many times after that. That is why WD Red drives are optimised for a mix of 80% reads and 20% writes.
Reason #4 : Testing, Testing, Testing
WD Red drives are extensively tested with most, if not all, of the NAS systems in the world. WD Red drives also undergo more extensive reliability tests than regular desktop drives. All these tests not only ensure compatibility out-of-the-box, they also ensure the drives run reliably in the more demanding NAS environment.
Reason #5 : RAID-Optimised
Regular desktop drives are not designed to be used as RAID drives, and lack the RAID error recovery control called TLER (Time-Limited Error Recovery). TLER is designed to increase the reliability and stability of the RAID array. WD Red drives, on the other hand, support TLER because they are designed to be configured as RAID drives.
WD Red Drives
In July 2012, Western Digital revealed the world’s first NAS-optimised hard disk drive designed to run 24/7 – the 3 TB WD Red (WD30EFRX). Since then, they have released many new WD Red drives to meet the high demand for NAS-optimised storage :
- 8 TB WD Red (WD80EFZX)
- 6 TB WD Red Pro (WD6001FFWX)
- 6 TB WD Red (WD60EFRX)
- 5 TB WD Red Pro (WD5001FFWX)
- 5 TB WD Red (WD50EFRX)
- 4 TB WD Red Pro (WD4001FFSX)
- 4 TB WD Red (WD40EFRX)
- 2 TB WD Red Pro (WD2001FFSX)
- 2 TB WD Red (WD20EFRX)
Irrespective of which brand you choose to use, understand this – you must use NAS-optimised hard disk drives in your NAS. Your data depends on it!