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Red Gets A Recommendation In NAS Appliances

Western Digital Red: NAS-Specific SATA 6Gb/s Drives, Reviewed
By , Achim Roos

Western Digital's Red family is a well-rounded offering aimed at home- and SOHO-based NAS appliances. The hard drives’ strengths include low operating temperatures, conservative power consumption, and modest acoustics at a 5400 RPM spindle speed. If you're running a pedestal-based server in the same room you work and need to keep storage- and cooling-related noise to a minimum, these drives are definitely ideal. Not only are the drives themselves quiet, but their low operating temperature allows the NAS to operate for longer without spinning its own fans up.

The Red drives aren’t as attractive once you step outside of Western Digital's target usage model of small business network-attached storage and into more demanding professional applications. A slow spindle speed and the lack of a rotational vibration sensor are evidence that these disks weren't intended for use in larger servers. Also, relatively modest performance in Iometer’s database, file server, Web server, and workstation metrics, as well as our 4 KB random read and write benchmarks, make it clear that these drives aren't meant for environments where I/O performance is important.

We can wholeheartedly recommend the Western Digital Red drives in their intended application: small business NAS appliances. I/O generally isn't emphasized in that scenario, and the drives do demonstrate good streaming and sequential read/write performance (at 110 MB/s). This leads to fast transfers of large files, a common task in network-attached workloads.

The drives run cool, are quiet, and exhibit low operating power consumption. In addition, they come with some of the features usually found on enterprise-class hard drives, such as 24x7 availability and high reliability (an MTBF of 1 000 000 hours). We're only disappointed that Western Digital's warranty isn't as enterprise-oriented, limited to just three years.

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