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Seagate 6TB Enterprise NAS Performance Review

Seagate has traditionally done well with nearline drives excelling in performance, reliability and more often than not aggressive pricing as well. On the other hand in the NAS drive segment, Seagate seems to have missed a heartbeat, this is even more glaring as WD announced the RED PRO models, and HGST rolled out its Deskstar NAS range with both manufacturers sporting 7200rpm and RV sensors with support for greater than 5-bay NAS systems. So, began the battle of the NAS drives with all the manufacturers vying for leadership in this lucrative sector.

A while back we did a roundup of NAS drives, in which the HGST 5TB and 6TB NAS drives stole the show for its excellent performance and sheer specification. So then it became even more evident Seagate was clearly struggling to release its next revision beefed up NAS drives? Credit where it’s due though WD were the first off the gate taking advantage of the growing gap in the market for specific NAS drives, at first mainly addressing the 1-5 bay servers, as this was the most challenging, and clearly a problematic area with consumers investing unwisely in green and desktop drives that were not designed for use in RAID arrays, but despite warnings shots from manufacturers, consumer continued to take the bait for saving a buck and paying with the loss of data or then upgrading to the much more expensive enterprise drives. There was nothing in between. The specific NAS drives filled that gap and WD was the first off the block.

Market Analysis

3tb-enterprise-nas-hdd-dynamic-400x400Seagate and HGST followed closely with drives that were less than 7200rpm and were specified for 1-5 bays only, the only exception to this rule was HGST with its version featuring both rotational vibration as well as a spindle rate of 7200rpm, and in the true sense of the word the drives were not limited by the number of bays, the drive behaved and felt like a nearline drive, as all the attributes and the reliability of the drive indicated that fact.

Just as one would be forgiven to think Seagate has lost the NAS drive plot, they not only launch a new range of NAS drives, but just as HGST was compared to nearline drives, Seagate have the audacity to try and clean up completely with a 5 year warranty, 7200rpm, engineered to nearline quality, and supporting NAS servers up to 16-bays, with aptly named “NAS Enterprise”, very cool.

The delay in Seagate making a late appearance appears to be attributed to extensive research Seagate undertook with its global partners to establish exactly what they and its customers might expect from an ideal NAS drive. The study was conducted was over an extended period, and according to a senior Seagate person we spoke with, it was clear that the results of the study largely determined the features that have been incorporated in their new NAS Enterprise disk range. This is clearly an audacious but calculated move on Seagate’s part.

Vibration Options

The issue of vibration has always taken center stage, more so when the installation is for more than one drives, as the growth of NAS servers has escalated to accommodate 32-bays and more, the problem of vibration becomes a real issue. Fortunately the second generation of NAS drives from all of the manufacturers have addressed the vibration enigma and the reliability will ultimately improve. HGST was the only company to adopt this feature from the get go kudos to HGST.

The Seagate Enterprise NAS drives are available in 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 5TB and 6TB capacities and are best suited for enterprise NAS applications that require data agility for collaboration. Designed for 24×7 availability and accessibility with the ability to manage aggressive workloads within enterprise environments. Seagate stipulates the drives are designed with performance in mind for workgroups of larger than 25 users and includes 128MB cache for higher random performance, inclusive of RV sensor for drive head and vibration control, as well as 3D motor balancing for optimum performance in multi-drive solutions.

Data Rescue

seagate-rescueWhat sets Seagate apart from its competitors is the availability of the + Rescue data recovery services. Data Loss is an area everyone wants to know about but are always cagey to talk about! it’s almost as though we are tempting fate if we talk about failures. Brushed under the carpet it can’t be as a previous loss of data advocate, let me just say, everyone needs to take a closer look, as recovering data from a drive in a RAID set is not easy. Details of the recuse plan are provided below:

Because Business As Usual Never Really Is

Enterprise NAS HDDs are engineered for demanding mid-range enterprise environments, but there are times when the unimaginable can happen to anyone. With Seagate +Rescue Data Recovery Service coverage on your rack-mount or tower NAS, you can have peace of mind if something happens to your business data.*

Data Recovery Services can save the day in the following situations:

  • RAID controller failure
  • Lost RAID configuration
  • Accidental reconfiguration
  • Accidental re-initialization- of the RAID array
  • Power surge causes multiple drive failures simultaneously
  • Missing RAID partitions
  • Reformatted RAID partitions
  • Virus damage

Rescue Data Recovery Plans are available for 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6TB capacities. Most data is recovered either in-lab or remote access within 15 business days or less with a nearly 90% success rate.

Seagate it seems have acknowledged how important this sector is clearly by its new Enterprise NAS

Performance

3tb-enterprise-nas-hdd-upper-hero-left-400x400Our concept of testing performance of drives is based on real-time deployment of NAS servers centered within a business environment.

Single folder with numerous denomination of files with the largest folder being 1000GB (1TB), to measure read/write times, using 1 Gigabit Ethernet not teamed and with 20+ users on the network constantly, so very much a real time small business model.

Note: Even though performance plays a major role in the decision making process of buying hard drives in a NAS, the importance of reliability and longevity should not be overlooked, as this combination will result in a win/win scenario for all users.

The drives used were the 6TB Seagate Enterprise NAS drives with the following configuration:

Synology DS1815+ 4 x 6TB Drives RAID 5
QNAP TS-453PRO 4 x 6TB Drives RAID 5
Thecus N5550 4 x 6TB Drives RAID 5
QNAP TS-251 2 x 6TB Drives RAID 1

The creation of RAID within the RAID 5 group is hotly contested between the QNAP TS-453 PRO and the Synology DS1815+, the Thecus N5550 is way over the top at 40 hours from past experiences Thecus has always been slower for RAID creation. The comparative 2- bay QNAP TS-251 does well with completion of RAID 1 in 10 hours. This test is NAS centric, but the drives have to be decent as well.

r-w-text

Real-World simulation of data transfer is an accurate gauge of what to expect of a NAS when deployed in a typical business scenario. Using a mixture of smaller files with an accentuation on graphics (small video, images and medium to large size photos), the QNAP edges ahead of all the other NAS servers, with Thecus following QNAP and Synology relegated to third spot with the 2-bay TS-251 fared well considering its specification and features.

w-r-av

Combination of large audio, video and database files that make up the 1TB size, clearly the Synology and QNAP once again compete but the Thecus N5550 takes pole position, when you closely examine the all the results, each of the units has its own advantages and disadvantages. The irony of this is, there is not a single fit for all, so analyzing your needs is critical and when it comes to selecting a NAS make sure to reach out and deal with specialist NAS resellers who have knowledgeable staff that can help to select the best fit for your needs.

What is conclusive is that the Seagate 6TB Enterprise NAS drive is a performer and clearly designed for mid-range enterprise and private cloud environments, this model NAS HDD delivers sustained performance and 24×7 availability and accessibility.

PROS:
  • Impressive overall performance
  • Great design hitting the sweet spot
  • 5-year warranty and Rescue Data Recovery Service plan (optional)

CONS:
  • Potential of drive still to be realized to it’s optimum level

Conclusion

Seagate has launched a diamond in the rough, focusing on enterprise with great performance, and reliability the NAS Enterprise drives will have a huge impact within the SMB-Enterprise storage arena. Kudos to Seagate for Closing the gap.

Seagate Enterprise NAS HDD Specifications

  • Capacities:
    • 6TB (ST6000VN0001)
    • 5TB (ST5000VN0001)
    • 4TB (ST4000VN0001)
    • 3TB (ST3000VN0001)
    • 2TB (ST2000VN0001)
  • Interface: 6Gb/s
  • Humidity Sensor: Yes
  • Super Parity
  • Low Halogen
  • AcuTrac Technology
  • Power Balance Technology
  • Hot-Plug Support
  • Cache, Multisegmented (MB): 128
  • Reliability/Data Integrity
  • Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours): 1.2M
  • Reliability Rating @ Full 24×7 Operation (AFR): 0.63%
  • Nonrecoverable Read Errors per Bits Read: 1 sector per 10E15
  • Power-On Hours per Year: 8760 (24×7)
  • Sector Size (Bytes per Logical Sector): 512/4096
  • Limited Warranty (years): 5
  • Performance
    • Spindle Speed (RPM): 7200
    • Interface Access Speed (Gb/s): 6.0, 3.0, 1.5
    • Sustained Transfer Rate OD (MB/s): 216
    • Average Latency (ms): 4.16
  • Interface Ports: Single
  • Rotation Vibration @ 1500 Hz (rad/s²): 12.5
  • Power Consumption
  • Idle Power, Average (W):
    • 9 (6TB)
    • 9 (5TB)
    • 0 (4TB)
    • 0 (3TB)
    • 5 (2TB)
  • Typical Operating, Random Read (W)
    • 27 (6TB)
    • 27 (5TB)
    • 42 (4TB)
    • 42 (3TB)
    • 08 (2TB)
  • Power Supply Requirements: +12V and +5V
  • Environmental:
    • Temperature, Operating (°C): 5 to 60
    • Vibration, Nonoperating: 10Hz to 500Hz (Grms): 5.0
    • Shock, Operating, 2ms (Read/Write) (Gs): 70/40
    • Shock, Nonoperating, 1ms and 2ms (Gs)
      • 250 (6TB)
      • 300 (5TB)
      • 300 (4TB)
      • 300 (3TB)
7.4 Total Score
A Diamond in the Rough

Seagate has launched a diamond in the rough, focusing on enterprise with great performance, and reliability the NAS Enterprise drives will have a huge impact within the SMB-Enterprise storage arena. Kudos to Seagate for Closing the gap.

Performance
10
Specification
9
0
Warranty
9
Value
9
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