Western Digital this week expanded its WD Red Pro family of hard drives designed for enterprise NAS with up to 24 bays. The HDDs promise predictable performance in all modes, compatibility with ZFS-powered NAS, and allow building highly-reliable storage systems that can host up to 432 TB of data.
The WD Red Pro 16 TB and 18 TB hard drives come in a 3.5-inch form-factor and feature a SATA 6 Gbps interface. The helium-filled HDDs use conventional magnetic recording (CMR) technology and come equipped with a 7200 RPM motor and a 512 MB cache. The 16 TB SKU is rated for up to 259 MB/s host to drive transfer rate, whereas the 18 TB model is rated for up to 272 MB/s host to drive transfer rate. As for power consumption, the HDDs are said to consume up to 6.1 Watts during reads and writes and up to 3.6 Watts in idle.
The top-of-the-range WD Red Pro drives likely rely on the company’s 6th Generation HelioSeal platform that uses nine platters both for 16 TB and 18 TB versions as well as Western Digital’s energy-assisted magnetic recording technology (EAMR) to maximize areal density. For some reason, Western Digital does not mention EAMR or 6th Generation HelioSeal in its documents (opens in new tab) covering the new drives. Still, it is unlikely that the new HDDs use a significantly different platform than the latest Ultrastar or WD Gold products.
Hard drives for enterprise-grade NAS with 24 bays have a lot in common with enterprise-grade nearline HDDs in terms of internal hardware. Typically, such drives feature a dual-attached motor, top and bottom attached disk clamps, and multi-axis shock sensor to ensure consistent performance and longevity in vibrating environments. What sets datacenter and enterprise-grade HDDs apart are firmware optimizations. Western Digital’s latest WD Red Pro hard drives for NAS come with the company’s NASware 3.0 firmware specifically optimized for things like RAID environments operating under heavy demand, error recovery controls, RAID array rebuilds and expansions, and lower noise.
Western Digital’s WD Red Pro HDDs are rated for a 300 TB annual workload and a covered with a five-year warranty.
Western Digital will start shipments of its WD Red Pro 16 TB and 18 TB HDDs next month. Pricing will be announced at the time of availability, but keeping in mind that even the enterprise-grade WD Gold 18 TB costs less than $600 (opens in new tab), it is likely that the WD Red Pro 18 TB model will sit slightly below that.