Western Digital gets NASty with disk capacity bump and sees Red with first NAS SSD

Western Digital has uprated the Red line of NAS drives to 14TB capacity, included a 1TB 2.5-inch mini Red and added a Red SSD as a NAS flash cache.

The mainstream RED disk drive line is split into the Red Pro for NAS enclosures with up to 24 bays and the ordinary Red, which supports up to 8 bays. The Red spins at 5,400rpm and has a 3-year warranty, while the Red Pro spins at 7,200rpm and carries a 5-year warranty.

Red line capacity options are 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14TB, and the workload rating is 180TB/year. There is also a 2.5in drive variant with one single 1TB capacity point.

The Red Pro is slightly different, offering 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14TB and has a 300B/year workload rating.

WD Red 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch disk drives.

All the Red disk drives use a 6Gbit/s SATA interface and are rated one million hours MTBF. The 10TB and higher variants are helium-filled drives and the the others are air-filled.

WD Red SA500

The WD Red SA500 is the company’s first NAS-focused SSD, is supplied in 500GB, 1TB, 2TB and 4TB versions. They are also available in U.2 and gumstick formats with capacities of 500GB, 1 and 2TB.

WD Red U.2 and M.2 SSDs

So what makes these SSDS more suitable for NAS work than any other SATA SSD? Here is WD’s answer: “Unlike standard SSDs, WD Red NAS SATA SSDs are specifically designed and tested for 24/7 usage. Their endurance and efficient caching makes them ideal for demanding applications.” 

That sounds a tad thin to this cynical hack. The SA500’s endurance numbers are:

  • 500GB – 350TBW (Terabytes written)
  • 1TB – 600 TBW 
  • 2TB – 1,300TBW 
  • 4TB – 2,500 TBW

The 1TB version, when writing 1TB /day, would need a 1,800TBW rating over 5 years. Instead it gets 600TBW, meaning 0.33 drive writes per day (DWPD). This implies the drives have limited over-provisioning.

Seagate’s IronWolf 110 NAS SSD offers 1DWPD, with the 384TB version supporting 7,000TBW. This far outstrips WD’s 4TB Red SSD and its 2,500TBW rating. Check your drive endurance needs carefully.

You can inspect the Red NAS SSD datasheet here.

Prices start from $72.00 for the M.2 500GB Red SSD and $75 for the U.2 500GB Red SSD. The 14TB red disk drive costs $450 with the equivalent Red Pro priced at $525. 

The 14TB drives and Red SSDs will be available in November from WD’s various channels.

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