WD Red 4 TB Hard-drives for NAS & RAID-protected storage units

It’s easy to fall into the trap of any-hard-drive-will-do-for-RAID-&-NAS-systems. Why not save some money upfront by buying consumer grade hard-drives (meant for computers) and operate them 24 x 7, with RAID data protection?

WRONG Decision. Don’t do that.

Or you can do that, and then realize the mistake after you lose your data.

The WD Red hard-drives have been specifically designed for home/small business NAS systems. The Network Attached Storage (NAS) system is supposed to be the central repository/storage medium for all the data/files and hence it is important to have disk-level redundancy in that system.

That’s what RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) gives you. When you configure RAID (either in software or in dedicated RAID controller), you can sleep well assured that your data will be safe because even if one drive fails, the data will be rebuilt into a new drive without any losses.

So, it’s enough if you keep a spare drive or if you buy one after the failure of one disk. Or, IS IT?

In computers, when bad sectors are detected – they are repaired or ignored. Hard-drives do that automatically. However, when a RAID controller is present it will keep requesting the status of the hard-drive, before writing data into it. When bad sectors are present, hard-drives go in the repair mode and don’t signal their availability. If that time exceeds 8 seconds and it doesn’t get an ‘available’ message, RAID controller assumes that the hard-drive is down and automatically designates it as a failed hard-drive.

There are two issues because of this – The user may attempt to replace the hard-drive, even though it has not failed (false positive) and there maybe issues while attempting to rebuild the data from a genuinely failed hard-drive, if another hard-drive is designated as a failure, during the process. Popular RAID configurations cannot handle two failed drives.

A feature called TLER (Time Limited Error Recovery) is built into NAS systems and Server hard-drives (that use RAID), precisely to avoid this confusion. It coordinates between the hard-drive and RAID controller in order to avoid the above mentioned issue and increases the reliability. Further technical details on TLER available here.

This feature is very critical for hard-drives running RAID configurations in NAS, Servers, Storage devices, Computers and Workstations. WD RED drives come with this feature built-in.

Advantages of WD Red 4 TB NAS Hard-drive:

  • While lower capacities are available (1, 2, 3 TB), 4 TB hard-drives have now been introduced in order to maximize the storage capacity/efficiency in your NAS devices/Servers.
  • Optimized to be used with NAS/RAID controller, in 24 x 7 use-cases.
  • 3D active balancing – less vibration & increased reliability. Quiet operation.
  • Decent performance for NAS/Servers accessed by multiple users.
  • Designed to handle heavy-loads continuously (streaming video, gaming, etc).
  • Low power consumption, less heat.
  • More reliable than consumer-grade drives – WD claims each drive is thoroughly tested for many hours before it is shipped.
  • SATA III compliant hard-drive for the best read-write performance.
  • Large files copy more quickly.
  • NASware 2.0 software (built into this drive) increases the reliability and protects the drive even during power failures.
  • Tested and compatible with most NAS devices in the market.
  • 24 x 7 support-line, 3-year warranty.
  • Recommended for 1-5 bay NAS systems used in homes/small-business.

Limitations of WD RED 4 TB NAS Hard-drive:

  • Speed: 5400 RPM, not 7200 RPM.
  • A small price-premium over other drives from WD, with similar performance & storage capacity.
  • May not be applicable for Non-RAID environments.
  • Check if your NAS supports 4 TB drive (in one bay) before buying – some old NAS systems may not support that capacity. Go with 1/2/3 TB WD RED drives in such cases.

Price (USD)/Buy From (US): Amazon product page for,

**Western Digital 4 TB WD Red SATA III 5400 RPM 64 MB Cache Bulk/OEM NAS Hard Drive WD40EFRX**


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