Introduction and Features
Today Western Digital launched an important addition to their Personal Cloud Storage NAS family - the My Cloud EX4:
The My Cloud EX4 is Western Digital's answer to the increased demand for larger personal storage devices. When folks look for places to consolidate all of their bulk files, media, system backups, etc, they tend to extend past what is possible with a single hard drive. Here is Western Digital's projection on where personal storage is headed:
Where the My Cloud was a single drive solution, the My Cloud EX4 extends that capability to span up to four 3.5" drives. When it comes to devices that span across several drives, the number 4 is a bit of a sweet spot, as it enables several RAID configurations:
Everything but online capacity expansion (where the user can swap drives one at a time to a larger capacitiy) is suppoted. While WD has stated that feature will be available in a future update, I find it a bit risky to intentionally and repeatedly fail an array by pulling drives and forcing rebuilds. It just makes more sense to back up the data and re-create a fresh array with the new larger drives installed.
Ok, so we've got the groundwork down with a 4-bay NAS device. What remains to be seen is how Western Digital has implemented the feature set. There is a lot to get through here, so let's get to it.
Seagate's aptly named NAS HDD looks very much like their 4TB Desktop model but internally it has enhanced vibration reduction as well as parts that are more resistant to vibration which should create a quieter and longer lasting drive. It also shares 5900 RPM and a 64MB cache but Seagate claims slightly higher seek times, 8.5ms read and 9.5ms write and time-limited error recovery which makes these drives far less dangerous to use in a RAID than the desktop model in scenarios such as Al has mentioned numerous times. The Tech Report's testing put it against Seagate's Desktop version as well as the WD Red that is also optimized for use in NAS devices, read on to see which gets recommended.
"Seagate's NAS HDD 4TB is optimized for network-attached storage and desktop RAID implementations. It promises better reliability than typical desktop drives, too. We take a closer look to see how the NAS HDD compares to its WD Red counterpart."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Synology DiskStation DS214 NAS @ Kitguru
- Thecus N5550 @ techPowerUp
- QNAP TS-420 review: 4-bay midrange NAS @ Hardware.info
- Synology DS213j Home to Small Office 2-bay NAS Review @ Madshrimps
- HGST Ultrastar 7K4000 3.5-inch 4TB 7200 RPM HDD Review @ Madshrimps
- 42x 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch hard disk group test: lots of affordable storage @ Hardware.info
- MyDigitalSSD 128GB mSATA SuperCache 2 Caching SSD @ SSD Review\
- Toshiba Q Series Pro 256GB SSD @ Custom PC Review
- Kingston Navi Limited Edition 240GB SSD review: gaming SSD @ Hardware.info
- Samsung XP941 NGFF M.2 PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 – Worlds Smallest SSD Combination Hits 2GB/s @ SSD Review
- Sony VAIO Pro 13 Ultrabook Native PCIe SSD Review – 1GB/s Performance Fastest Ultra Speed To Date @ SSD Review
- SanDisk Extreme II 240GB SSD @ Custom PC Review
- ADATA Premier Pro SP900 128GB SSD @ Kitguru
- Seagate 600 Series 240 GB / 480 SSD @ Hardware.info
- Kingston's Fastest Ever SSD? SSDNow V300 240GB Benchmarked @ PCSTATS
- Kingston mS200 120GB mSATA SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- OCZ Vertex 450 256GB SSD @ eTeknix
- Toshiba HG5D Series SATA M.2 @ SSD Review
- OCZ Vertex 450 256GB SSD @ Custom PC Review
- Mach Xtreme Technology MX Express Driverless PCIe 2.0 x2 @ SSD Review
- Patriot Aero 1TB Wireless Hard Drive @ eTeknix
- Silicon Power Armor A30 1TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive @ NikKTech
- HGST Travelstar 5K1500 1.5TB SATA III HDD @ NikKTech
- Kingston 16GB UHS-I Ultimate SDHC/SDXC Card @ Funky Kit
- Lexar JumpDrive P10 32GB USB3.0 Flash Drive @ eTeknix
- Mach Xtreme MX-ES SLC 32GB Flash Drive @ eTeknix
- Mach Xtreme Technology MX-ES 32GB USB 3.0 Pen Drive @ Kitguru
Last July, I went on a bit of a mini-rant about how using a bunch of drives not meant to be in a RAID could potentially lead to loss of the entire array from only a few bad sectors spread across several disks. Western Digital solved this problem by their introduction of the WD Red series. That series capped out at 3TB, and users were pushing for larger storage capacities for their NAS devices. In addition to the need for larger disks came the need for *smaller* disks as well, as there are some manufacturers that wish to create NAS / HTPC type devices that house multiple 2.5" HDD's. One such device is the Drobo Mini - a 4x2.5" device which has not really had a 'proper' NAS storage element available - until now:
Today Western Digital has announced a twofold expansion to their Red Series. First is a 4TB capacity in their 3.5" series, and second is a 2.5" iteration of the Red, available in both 750GB and 1TB capacities.
As a recap of what can potentially happen if you have a large RAID with 'normal' consumer grade HDD's (and by consumer grade I mean those without any form of Time Limited Error Recovery, or TLER for short):
- Array starts off operating as normal, but drive 3 has a bad sector that cropped up a few months back. This has gone unnoticed because the bad sector was part of a rarely accessed file.
- During operation, drive 1 encounters a new bad sector.
- Since drive 1 is a consumer drive it goes into a retry loop, repeatedly attempting to read and correct the bad sector.
- The RAID controller exceeds its timeout threshold waiting on drive 1 and marks it offline.
- Array is now in degraded status with drive 1 marked as failed.
- User replaces drive 1. RAID controller initiates rebuild using parity data from the other drives.
- During rebuild, RAID controller encounters the bad sector on drive 3.
- Since drive 3 is a consumer drive it goes into a retry loop, repeatedly attempting to read and correct the bad sector.
- The RAID controller exceeds its timeout threshold waiting on drive 3 and marks it offline.
- Rebuild fails.
- Blamo, your data is now (mostly) inaccessible.
I went into much further detail on this back in the intro to the WD 3TB Red piece, but the short of it is that you absolutely should use a HDD intended for RAID when building one, and Western Digital is removing that last excuse for not doing so by introducing a flagship 4TB capacity to the Red Series.
Subject: Storage | September 3, 2013 - 08:00 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, red, NAS, hdd
Today Western Digital launched both a 4TB 3.5" Red, as well as a new 2.5" form factor available in both 750GB and 1TB:
Subject: Storage | June 11, 2013 - 08:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Seagate, NAS
CUPERTINO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Seagate Technology (NASDAQ:STX) today took the wraps off its new Seagate® NAS HDD—a cutting-edge drive custom-built for always-on, one- to five-bay network attached storage (NAS) systems. Engineered with performance and reliability in mind, the new drives are available in multiple capacity points including a 4TB option—the industry’s highest capacity NAS hard disk drive (HDD) solution available—and strong industry support from nine NAS system partners.
“Today about 50 percent of NAS arrays are sold diskless meaning that customers are challenged with identifying and installing the right storage for their system. By developing a drive like NAS HDD, we’ve taken the guesswork out of it and made it easy for customers to identify the right drive for their system,” said Scott Horn, Seagate vice president of marketing. “By collaborating closely with a variety of partners who specialize in NAS systems, we’re making what was a confusing effort into a plug-and-play one.”
Featuring up to 4TB of storage the drive now enables NAS systems, such as those utilized in homes and small to midsize businesses (SMB), to provide up to 20TB of data in a five-bay NAS array. And with over 30 percent capacity improvement over competitive offerings, the NAS HDD 4TB drive delivers the highest capacity available on the market.
Cost effective drives built specifically for NAS solutions, the 4TB option has the capacity to store over 819,000 photos, 1 million songs or nearly 500 hours of high-definition (HD) video content—more than enough space for the average household. It is also ideal for small businesses with large enough capacities to support CAD files, medical images and databases.
“QNAP is thrilled to be teaming up with Seagate to offer our customers a high-performance storage solution optimized for NAS systems,” said Meiji Chang, general manager of QNAP. “The Seagate NAS HDD allows us to deliver the highest capacity storage offering on the market while providing our customers with a huge boost in performance and a reliable business level NAS solution for 24x7 operations.”
“Households and SMBs continue to generate a significant amount of data, and need fast and reliable storage solutions,” said John Rydning, IDC's research vice president for hard disk drives. “Rather than taking hours or days to transfer a large amount of digital content over the internet to a cloud storage service provider, Seagate’s new NAS HDD provides a high-capacity solution for fast data transfers and backups on-premise over local networks.”
Built to provide up to 10 percent performance advantage over the competition for 24x7 NAS applications, the NAS HDD is engineered for performance in always on applications and can support multiple HD video streams and user profiles. The drive boasts near silent acoustics operating below the range of audible sound for the human ear with as low as 1.9 bels, providing optimized acoustics for the home or SMB environment. It also features Seagate’s own NASWorks™ technology which improves drive reliability by supporting features that limit drive vibrations and support extended error recovery controls for better data integrity.
Seagate NAS HDDs are built and tested to provide industry-leading performance for small NAS systems. Key features of the NAS HDD include:
- Industry’s Highest Capacity NAS Drive—up to 4TB available, the NAS HDD offers a 30 percent capacity advantage over the competition.
- Best Performance for 1- to -5-bay NAS Systems—built and tested to provide industry-leading performance, NAS HDDs offer the industry’s highest throughput to deliver the performance demanded by NAS solutions.
- NASWorks—supports error correction via customized error recovery controls, power management and vibration tolerance for optimal performance and reliability in a 1- to 5-bay solution.
- Improved Vibration Tolerance—dual-plane balance supports the unique weighted motor design minimizing vibration that can be amplified in multi-drive systems improving the drive’s performance and system reliability.
- Advanced Power Management—supports multiple user-selectable power profiles that can optimize power usage for different workloads to minimize power consumption while maintaining high-availability performance.
- Quiet Drive Operation—enhances the end customer experience with near-silent acoustics for low-noise environments like living rooms or office spaces.
Designed with compatibility in mind, Seagate NAS hard disk drives have been rigorously tested by some of today’s top NAS providers and flawlessly integrated into their NAS solutions. For more information on the Seagate NAS HDD and qualified OEM partners please visit www.seagate.com/www/nashdd.
Subject: Storage | March 8, 2013 - 12:21 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: synology, storage, networked attached storage, NAS, dsm 4.2
Synology recently took the wraps off its latest NAS management software, called DiskStation Manager (DSM) 4.2. The new software suite is available as a free update for a number of its products.
Diskstation Manager provides a number of features for home and business uses. Business users are now able to take advantage of Synology High Availability duplication on all x86-based NAS products. A RAIDIUS server, SSL encryption between devices and Diskstation Cloud, and two step authentication are among the available security features with DSM 4.2.
DSM 4.2 comes with a web-accessible user interface and desktop-like environment. You can access all its features in a GUI, see disk/RAM/CPU usage, schedule tasks, and even PXE boot other networked machines. Some of the updated software bits include Cloud Station, Photo Station, File Station, Video Station, and Audio Station.
Cloud Station now has 52% faster file transfers to Mac OSX computers. Further, DSM 4.2 supports almost-unlimited user accounts, LDAP, Active Director, and Amazon’s Glacier backup service. File station now supports hot keys. Video Station has a revamped user interface that supports MKV subtitles, HDHomerun DVB-T tuners with mutli-channel TV streaming and recording. Users can also watch movies over the network on DLNA devices or Apple’s AirPlay. DSM 4.2 supports the use of smartphones as remote controls to control playback of media. Finally, Audio Station has added Bluetooth A2DP streaming support, and Photo Station supports file drag and drop and improved thumbnail generation speeds.
DiskStation Cloud now supports automatic backup and file synchronization of media stored on iOS and Android devices. DiskStation Video adds support to stream media to smartphones and DiskStation Photo+ has the Dropbox-like automated backup of photos from your smartphone. DSM 4.2 further features QuickConnect, which takes care of port forwarding automatically. QuickConnect is compatible with DS Photo+, DS Audio, and DS Cloud.
According to Synology, the following devices are eligible for a free update to DSM 4.2. Users can update by manually downloading and applying the update or by going through the updater in the DSM software itself.
"Synology DSM 4.2 is free to download for users who own a DiskStation or RackStation x09 series and onward. Supported models include: DS213+, DS413, DS213, DS413j, DS213air, DS2413+, DS713+, RS10613xs+, RS3413xs+, DS712+, DS212, DS212+, DS212j, RS212, RS812, DS1512+, DS1812+, DS3612xs, RS3412xs, RS3412RPxs, DS112j, DS112, DS412+, RS812+, RS812RP+, RS2212+, RS2212RP+, DS112+, DS3611xs, RS3411xs, RS3411RPxs, DS2411+, RS2211+, RS2211RP+, DS1511+, RS411, DS411, DS411+II, DS411+, DS411j, DS411slim, DS211+, DS211, DS211j, DS111, DS1010+, RS810+, RS810RP+, DS410, DS410j, DS710+, DS210+, DS210j, DS110+, DS110j, DS509+, RS409+, RS409RP+, RS409, DS409+, DS409, DS209+II, DS209+, DS209, DS209j, DS109+, DS109, DS109j, and DS409slim"
Also read: ioSafe N2 - The Performance NAS is now Disaster-proof @ PC Perspective.
Subject: General Tech | March 7, 2013 - 04:00 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, sony, tap20, vaio, iosafe, n2, synology, NAS, Z77, dragon, msi, pata, apacer, seasonic, thermaltake, urban
PC Perspective Podcast #241 - 03/07/2013
Join us this week as we discuss the Sony VAIO TAP 20, ioSafe N2 NAS, new Z77 motherboards and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:04:57
Podcast topics of discussion:
- 0:01:25 We did a Tomb Raider stream
- Week in Reviews:
- 0:22:2 00 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
News items of interest:
- 0:24:25 ASUS PadFone Infinity from MWC
- 0:27:10 Apacer Launches New PATA SSDs
- 0:32:00 Seagate will cease 7200 RPM mobile HDDs this year
- 0:34:50 Thermaltake launches Urban S21 case
- 0:38:55 Double your HDD density with HGST
- 0:43:00 MSI has new gaming series of MB coming out, based on Z77
- 0:49:30 NVIDIA refreshes Quadro with Kepler GPUs
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Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging
Last year we did a combined review of the ioSafe SoloPRO and the Synology Diskstation 212+ NAS solution. The ioSafe handled the function of disaster-hardened storage, capable of withstanding a typical building fire along with the resulting drenching from your friendly neighborhood fire department, while the DiskStation made the USB-connected ioSafe available to the network and added numerous additional features as part of its excellent DSM software suite, offering many features to both both home and business users:
The whole time I was working on that article, I kept wondering how cool it would be if both items were combined into one unit. You could then get the additional benefit of multi-drive redundancy *and* the disaster-proof protection offered by the ioSafe. Well, that just happened:
Behold the ioSafe N2!
Subject: General Tech, Networking, Storage, Mobile | January 8, 2013 - 09:00 AM | Morry Teitelman
Tagged: wi-fi, Voyager Air, NAS, mobile, corsair, CES
The newest member member of the Corsair Voyager family of devices, the Voyager Air, drives Corsair's entry into the home networking arena with their all-in-one mobile drive and home NAS (network attached storage) solution.
Courtesy of Corsair
The Voyager Air is as versatile as it is sleek, with support for the following hiding beneath its stylish hood:
- Up to 1TB capacity drive
- Rechargeable battery
- Wi-Fi (802.11n/b/g), GigE Ethernet, and USB 3.0 support built-in
- Wireless hub support for shared internet support via passthrough technology
Courtesy of Corsair
The Voyager Air comes in a variety of colors as well, more than enough to match anyone's sense of style. According to Corsair, the Voyager Air units should be accessible at an electronics retailer near you in a 500GB model for $179.99 MRSP and a 1TB model for $219.99 MSRP.
PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech | January 7, 2013 - 09:21 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: remote access, NAS, media streaming, DLNA, central shared storage, backup, ces 2013, CES, Seagate
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Seagate announced a new home backup and media streaming box that it is calling the Seagate Central Shared Storage. Featuring a form factor well suited to your AV rack in the living room or next to the PC, the Central Shared Storage box will act as a NAS and DLNA server with additional software that enables automatic backup of multiple PCs throughout the home and Facebook photos. The Seagate software will run on computers running either Windows or OSX and will organize audio, video, images, and documents for viewing and streaming on a variety of devices.
In addition, the Central Shared Storage box will also back up your photos stored on Facebook. You can stream or access multimedia on mobile devices (using the Seagate Media App), PCs, or Samsung Smart TVs and Blu-ray players. ON the mobile side, Samsung supports IOS, Amazon (Kindle HD), and Android devices. You can also access your stored content from afar with the remote access feature. social network accounts. Samsung Smart TVs and Blu-ray players will further offer up a customized interface for the viewing your music, movies, and photos on the big screen TV.
It will be interesting to see what the performance is like over the network, and whether the software required for auto-backup is worth using. Unfortunately, there is no word on Linux support, but it may still be possible to get Linux computers backed up to the NAS using something like Wine.
The Seagate Central Shared Storage will be available in March 2013 and will come in three capacities. The MSRPs are as follows:
- 2TB is $189.99
- 3TB is $219.99
- 4TB is $259.99
You can find the full press release here.
PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
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