Western Digital releases 'Red" series of SOHO NAS hard drives

Subject: Storage | July 10, 2012 - 08:04 AM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, red, NAS, hdd, Hard Drive

** Note ** - Full review has been posted HERE!

Today Western Digital launches their Red series of hard drives. These are basically Caviar Greens that are specificially tuned to operate in small RAID configurations - namely home and small business NAS solutions containing up to 5 drives. These drives carry over some of the features present on Western Digital's Enterprise lines while adding a few of their own.

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We got samples of the Red in yesterday evening, so instead of going on with conjecture derived from the news post, I'll hit you with the new features and a bit of my initial impressions from our early benching:

  • Extremely quiet operation thanks to a new dynamic balancing mechanism built into the spindle motor hub. The drive essentially re-balances itself on-the-fly as temperatures change, etc.
  • Seeks are equally quiet - quiet enough that a bunch of these doing random access outside of an enclosure would barely be audible from only a few feet away.
  • Great sequential throughput (~150MB/sec at start of disk, ramping down to ~65MB/sec at the end).
  • Random access times in the 20ms range - likely due to the very quiet seeking mechanism.
  • Red Series drives will all be advanced format (i.e. internally addressed by 4k sectors).
  • Reds will all be 1TB/platter, available in 1, 2, and 3TB capacities. This gives similar throughput figures regardless of capacity purchased.
  • 3-year warranty, with a 24/7 support hotline specifically for Red owners.
  • Red drives feature a QR code on the label to assist with any support issues down the road.

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I'm not kidding about the quiet operation. The only sound the Red makes is reminiscent of a DVD spinning at low speed, in a sound deadening enclosure. There is no motor whine whatsoever and the head actuator is nearly inaudible. I have to almost lay my head on the drive to tell it is seeking at all.

A full review with all of the gory details will be up later today. For now I leave you with the WD press release after the break, along with this nifty QR to get you more info on the Red Series:

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*note - the QR page may not yet be live.

 

WD® DESIGNS FIRST HARD DRIVES FOR SOHO NAS SYSTEMS

New WD Red™ Drives Optimized for Compatibility in Always-on 1- to 5-Bay NAS Systems; Provide Buyers More Choices Tailored to Their Needs

IRVINE, Calif. – July 10, 2012 – WD® (NASDAQ: WDC), a storage industry leader, today announced the debut of  WD Red NAS hard drives, an innovative line of SATA hard drives specifically designed for home and small office NAS (network attached storage) systems with one to five drive bays. Compatibility-tested with top NAS box manufacturers and optimized for power and performance, WD Red hard drives are now shipping in 3.5-inch 1 TB, 2 TB and 3 TB capacities.

     The WD Red line features NASware™ technology, designed to improve reliability and system performance, reduce customer downtime and to simplify the integration process. This new product line addresses the unique environment of NAS and the growing demand for affordable, reliable and compatible storage that reduces customer total cost of ownership. WD Red hard drives also feature 3D Active Balance Plus, an enhanced balance control technology, which significantly improves the overall drive performance and reliability. In an exclusive for WD Red customers, WD is offering free premium 24x7 dedicated support and a three-year limited warranty.

     The addition of WD Red expands WD’s “Power of Choice” client hard drive solutions. WD recognizes that customers and their applications are diverse and they should be empowered to choose the drives that best suit their specific storage needs. With distinguishable colors, the “Power of Choice” storage solutions are clear and easy to identify: WD Blue™ (solid performance and reliability for everyday computing), WD Green™ (cool, quiet, eco-friendly), WD Black™ (maximum performance for power computing) and WD Red (home and small office NAS). The four colors enable quick selection of the best WD drive for customers’ application or usage requirements.

     “The network attached entry level storage market is poised to grow at an 86.2 percent 2011-2016 CAGR[1],” according to John Rydning, IDC's research vice president for hard disk drives. “WD's new WD Red hard disk drives offer a unique combination of product features and customer support for users seeking to expand the capacity of their entry-level network attached storage solutions.”

     “Until now, customers had to choose between using desktop or high-end server drives for their home or small office NAS systems – neither of which were both cost effective for consumer solutions and fully NAS compatible,” said Melyssa Banda, senior director of product marketing for WD. “WD saw this challenge as a perfect opportunity to design a better solution so we developed WD Red drives, an optimized product for this rapidly growing segment.”    

      WD Red hard drives integrate seamlessly with WD NAS solutions and are qualified to work with a wide array of WD OEM partners. An updated list of WD Red-qualified products and manufacturers is available on the WD website at http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=810.

Availability and Pricing

     WD Red hard drives are available now at select resellers and distributors. Manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) for the WD Red 1 TB drive (model #: WD10EFRX) is $109.00 USD, the 2 TB drive (model #: WD20EFRX) is $139.00 USD and the 3 TB drive (model #: WD30EFRX) is $189.00 USD. More information about WD Red hard drives including terms of the limited warranty may be found on the company website at http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=810.

WD Red NAS Hard Drive Launch Partners

WD Branded Products

     “The My Book Live family has received strong reception from consumers and the WD Red drive offers attributes ideal for small NAS systems,” said Scott Vouri, vice president and general manager of WD’s connected home solutions group. “My Book Live customers will benefit from WD Red's NASware features in the future.”

QNAP Systems, Inc.

     “The rapid growth of the global NAS market has led to hard drives optimized specifically for entry-level NAS use,” said Richard Lee, CEO of QNAP Systems, Inc. “The launch of WD Red NAS hard drives offer QNAP® four-bay NAS products a reliable solution for 24x7 operations. QNAP also provides a broad range of high-end business level NAS solutions well matched with WD RAID level hard drives.”

Synology Inc.

     “Synology® is thrilled to be teaming up with WD to offer customers a reliable storage solution featuring WD Red NAS hard drives, which are optimized for consumer NAS systems,” said Vic Hsu, CEO of Synology Inc. “The award-winning Synology DiskStation makes it easy for users to build secure private clouds that operate at maximum uptime. By delivering our unique technologies together, Synology and WD will provide users with greater reliability, cooler operation and a higher quality of user experience.”

Thecus Tech., Corp.

   “The compatibility of Thecus® NAS with the new and dynamic WD Red HDDs is excellent news for all,” said Florence Shih, general manager of Thecus. “To realize this vision, users can experience firsthand true power and performance. Ultimately, the congruency among WD Red hard drives with Thecus NAS brings great opportunities to the storage industry.” 

About WD
     WD, a storage industry pioneer and long-time leader, provides products and services for people and organizations that collect, manage and use digital information. The company designs and produces reliable, high-performance hard drives and solid state drives that keep users' data accessible and secure from loss. Its storage technologies serve a wide range of host applications including client and enterprise computing, embedded systems and consumer electronics, as well as its own storage systems. Its home entertainment products enable rich engagement with stored digital content.

      Western Digital was founded in 1970. The company's products are marketed to leading OEMs, systems manufacturers, selected resellers and retailers under the Western Digital®, WD® and HGST™ brand names. Visit the Investor section of the company's website (www.westerndigital.com) to access a variety of financial and investor information.

 

Source:
July 10, 2012 | 09:08 AM - Posted by Tim (not verified)

Your telling me this NOW??? :( just built (literally 2 days ago) a 6x3TB RAID with WD Greens... damn it

July 10, 2012 | 05:54 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Sorry Tim. We pride ourselves on our adherence to NDA expirations prior to publishing. As much as we'd love to be the early bird, our journalistic integrity is far more important to us.

If it makes you feel better, I had purchased 8x2TB Caviar Greens just prior to the RE4-GP launch. I ended up eating the restocking fee and going with the RE4's.

July 11, 2012 | 03:38 AM - Posted by Tim (not verified)

Strangely does make me feel better :) Anyway, great site, great podcast, shame they don't allow us to listen to podcast's at work anymore...

July 10, 2012 | 10:07 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Wish the warranty was a little better, but compared to what everything is getting dropped down to at this point, 3 years is pretty good.

Warranty aside I'd pay the premium just for the silent operation.

July 10, 2012 | 02:34 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

My opinion...It's all about the price point.

Would I pay the extra $$ for a drive designed to run quietly in raid? Nope...my server is in a closet under the staircase.

Then factor $189 for 3 TB...definite NO.

Waiting for a review to see if there are any other features uncovered that can justify the price point.

July 10, 2012 | 05:50 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Short answer - RAID-specific TLER is implemented in these drives. That's the big one.

July 10, 2012 | 09:43 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Would these be better for a RAID 1 mass storage array to complement an SSD?

July 11, 2012 | 02:20 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

These are a good choice for all but RAID-0 configurations. This is the lowest cost solution that implements TLER, which enables failures and/or bad sectors to be handled much more gracefully when part of an array.

July 11, 2012 | 06:57 AM - Posted by kristof (not verified)

really looking forward to a test of these disks as I was just about to purchase a QNAP nas & HDD, so these might be the disks I was waiting for :)

July 11, 2012 | 09:10 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

Keep an eye on the front page for a review in the very near future ;).

July 11, 2012 | 02:12 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Wish granted!

July 11, 2012 | 08:56 AM - Posted by Zicoz (not verified)

I'm currently looking for a new drivetype to use when I expand my fileserver. It's currently a 56TB server based on Samsungs 2TB drives which I love. The only drive that's died on me was one I dropped on the floor.

I see you write that they're designed for small RAID-system, but I'm using simple drivepooling for my system. Would these be a good choice for that aswell, or should I find something else?

July 11, 2012 | 02:14 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

For any config where there is only a single copy of any data (i.e. non-parity), it's better to stick with non-TLER drives, as they will take more time to retry reads of a bad sector (and therefore have a slightly better chance to get a correctable read prior to timing out).

July 11, 2012 | 05:49 PM - Posted by Zicoz (not verified)

Thank you.

September 19, 2012 | 06:00 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

sold! take my money!

March 1, 2014 | 06:09 AM - Posted by Peter (not verified)

WD Red are no more quiet as before. I have 3TB 6 months old and it is quiet. Now I bought 4 TB and is very loud on seeking, also it make some head movement every 10 seconds (it is not load/unload cycle). I returned it and bought 3 TB, because I thought it was because of 4 platters.
But the new 3 TB is also loud when seeking.

Pity.

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