We have spent years integrating compatible drives into NAS systems. Before you decide which drives to buy for your next NAS, read this article to educate yourself on what grade drives should be used for each use case.

So why are we all so hooked up about performance on hard drives?

Technically we have all been conditioned to ask about disk performance by comparing the disk specifications between competing manufacturer drives towards ascertaining all our options.

Drive specification and performance are merely guidelines and are normally used as calculators for performance ratios when attached to drive controllers within servers. This is seen clearly when drives from differing manufacturers are tested in say NAS "A" and NAS "B". NAS A" may return a faster throughput for Drive A whilst Drive B in NAS "B" may result in different output. This seems like a disparity but it's not as the combination of controller and drive can produce unexpected results.

So, in short, a competent system integrator will test a host of drives from different manufacturers and have results that provide performance, compatibility and, with historical use, reliability as well.

At SimplyNAS we have done exactly that and optimized the server and drive performance ratio to ensure customers get the best bang for their buck, without any compromise. Our list is based on Enterprise, SMB and Home/Workgroup Network Attached Storage appliances. The following manufacturers are featured – (Seagate, WD/HGST, Toshiba) Note: HGST no longer produces drives independently and all Enterprise drives are now co-branded as WD/HGST. The older HGST reputation of reliability should not be used as a measure for future purchases.

NAS Classification

HDD Category

Enterprise Class NAS Servers
QNAP ES1686DC - TDS-16489U - TES-3085U - TES-1885U - TVS-EC2480U-SAS-RP - TS-2483XU-RP - TS-2888X
All NAS series that fallen into Enterprise.
Synology RS4017xs+, RS18071xs+ and all other XS range.

WD Ultrastar – Toshiba Enterprise – Seagate EXOS drives – Can be both SAS and SATA HDD

All other category drives are not recommended because of the reliability, performance and longevity of the drives and data protection needed.

SMB Class NAS Servers 8 Bay and above

The Enterprise drives can be deployed if price is right – however, if not then the Seagate IronWolf PRO and similar drives are fine, i.e. WD RED Pro, etc.

SMB Class NAS Servers 2 – 6 bays

NAS drives, and any other PRO drives. WD RED PRO or IronWolf / IronWolf PRO - Again, if Enterprise drives are offered without additional cost snap these up.

Home/Workgroup Class NAS Servers

NAS drives are well suited, NO desktop or Green drives – WD RED and WD RED PRO, or IronWolf / IronWolf PRO.

As for current storage we have just completed our long-term testing of Toshiba Enterprise drives, and if we were to draw comparisons they appear to closely resemble drives from the same HGST Enterprise mold with great pedigree we used a few years ago. Solid as a rock and dependable, with excellent performance ratios as well.

So, these will now form part of our current enterprise category recommendations. Together with Seagate EXOS the Toshiba Enterprise drives will follow suite. Exception to the rule will be the IronWolf PRO, as these will also be recommended for capacities of 14TB and over, to complete the category of highly recommended enterprise class drives with criteria that matches reliability, longevity and value for money. As far SAS interface the only two models that qualify within our recommendation chart are the Seagate Exos and Toshiba Enterprise drives.

Toshiba ENTERPRISE Drives

The Toshiba drives are the enterprise capacity hard drives based upon the MG series. Formatted capacity ranging from 1TB to 16TB and the MG Series provides solutions for enterprise NAS and SAN storage servers with the need for high capacity and reliability.

Use for Business Critical Enterprise Server and Storage Systems | Enterprise Storage Arrays | Cloud and Hyperscale Storage Systems | Big Data, Distributed File Systems | Enterprise Archive and Data Recovery Systems | Industrial Server- and Storage Systems

Toshiba Enterprise grade hard drivesFeatures Snapshot:

  • 3.5" SATA or SAS Hard Drive
  • 24/7 operation
  • 5-year warranty
  • Toshiba Stable Platter Technology
  • Persistent Write Cache Technology
  • 550TB TB/ year workload
  • Flexibility in block size and SIE and SED options
  • Rotational Vibrations sensor

Toshiba SATA Models – supported and sold by SimplyNAS:
MG04ACA400E | 4TB | 128G – Air filled GAS
MG06ACA800E | 8TB | 256G – Air Filled GAS
MG06ACA10TE | 10TB | 256G - Air filled GAS
MG07ACA12TE | 12TB | 256G - Helium filled GAS
MG07ACA14TE | 14TB | 256G - Helium filled GAS
MG08ACA16TE | 16TB | 512G - Helium filled GAS

Seagate Exos ENTERPRISE Drives

Designed for the most demanding data environments, from entry-level servers to high end enterprise storage systems. Designed to handle workloads up to 550TB per year, they offer the highest level of reliability, durability, capacity, power efficiency and performance for a multitude of Datacenter-specific applications.

Seagate Exos Enterprise hard drivesFeatures Snapshot:

  • Stores up to 12.8PB in a 42U rack with helium technology
  • Leading sustained data rate 261MB/s
  • Random write of 440 IOP/s
  • Reduced complexity with FastFormat™
  • Reduced TCO with low weight of 670g and 0.31 W/TB
  • 550TB/yr—10× the workload rating of desktop drives
  • Seagate Secure® encryption technology

Seagate SATA Models – supported and sold by SimplyNAS:
ST16000NE000 | 16TB | 256MB - Helium filled GAS
ST16000NM001G | 16TB | 256MB - Helium filled GAS
ST14000NM0018 | 14TB | 256MB - Helium filled GAS
ST12000NM0008 | 12TB | 256MB - Helium filled GAS
ST10000NM0086 | 10TB | 256MB - Helium filled GAS
ST8000NM0055   | 8TB | 256MB

But what does this translate to in actual practice?

One example we can share is from our years of experience of burn-in and testing of 100% of the Configured NAS servers that we integrate from QNAP, Synology and other manufacturers. This occurs immediately after production, before they are shipped to their new owners. We install a full set of drives, sync a RAID array, and transfer hundreds of Terabytes to test functionality of the unit. The drive sets used for this activity are very heavily used. We switched, about 5 years ago, to enterprise grade drives and those drives are still working flawlessly. Hence, our confidence in what we recommend.

So before you make a purchase, call us at 407-960-4690 to discuss which drives would be the best choice for your specific application.

By Editorial Team 0 comment


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