Seagate 16TB IronWolf Pro and IronWolf

Introduction

Consistently at the forefront of hard disk development, Seagate beats the competition by delivering the first 16TB drives to market. Aimed at NAS applications across a wide range of SME use case scenarios, its latest IronWolfs offer an impressive range of features teamed up with good value and in this review we test both the 16TB IronWolf Pro and IronWolf models.

Designed for demanding business NAS applications, the 16TB IronWolf Pro can be deployed in appliances of up to 24-bays – that’s a 50% increase over earlier generations. The IronWolf Pro blends technologies such as AgileArray and RV (rotational vibration) sensors for improved reliability in high-end NAS applications.

The standard 16TB IronWolf HDDs are aimed at budget-conscious small businesses and are suitable for NAS appliances of up to 8 bays. They also incorporate many of the technologies found in the IronWolf Pro series but have lower MTBF (mean time before failure) and workload ratings.

 

Seagate IronWolf Pro 16TB

Comparison Performance Graphs

The 16TB IronWolf Pro has the same 7.2K spindle speed and 256MB of DRAM cache as Seagate’s enterprise-class Exos X16 but a substantially lower 1.2M hour MTBF rating. Present in all of Seagate’s HDDs, its multi-user technology is essentially the drive’s workload rating and for the IronWolf Pro, this this is 300TB/year.

All IronWolf drives feature Seagate’s AgileArray technology which enhances reliability in multi-drive NAS appliances. This is a combination of firmware, hardware and software features designed to reduce vibration, accelerate error recovery and control power consumption.

Error recovery can be a big issue in RAID arrays as unrecoverable errors can take minutes to resolve as the controller tries to read the data from each drive in turn. AgileArray speeds up this process with a shorter default recovery timer that’s also adjustable.

Vibration in multi-drive NAS appliances running 24/7 operations can be a major issue as hard disks in close proximity to each other can accelerate hardware failures and errors. The IronWolf Pro 16TB features Seagate’s RV (rotational vibration) sensors that although not as sophisticated as those in the Exos X16, can detect excessive vibrations and protect the drive and heads against any potential long-term damage.

A feature only present in the IronWolf family of drives is Seagate’s IHM (IronWolf Health Management). This is an advanced feature that allows you to test IronWolf drives regularly, view logs of the results, run daily read/write statistics analysis tasks and load historical graphs of drive usage over time.

To access IHM, you need a NAS appliance that supports this feature in software and is usually accessed from the vendor’s storage management app. All the big NAS vendors support IHM and include Qnap, Synology, Thecus, Asustor and Qsan.

However, early adopters of 16TB IronWolf drives may have to wait a while for them to update their software to support them. During testing, we found that Qnap had yet to provide an update – IHM was available for our 14TB IronWolf system drives but not for the 16TB models under test.

SMEs with mission-critical apps should consider the IronWolf Pro as along with a 5-year warranty, the price includes a two-year subscription to Seagate’s Rescue Data Recovery Service on registration. This provides immediate access to Seagate’s data recovery specialists who will assist with data restoration in the event of a failure.

HEAD OVER TO READ ABOUT THE 16TB IRONWOLF

7.5 Total Score

Consistently at the forefront of hard disk development, Seagate beats the competition by delivering the first 16TB drives to market. Aimed at NAS applications across a wide range of SME use case scenarios, its latest IronWolfs offer an impressive range of features teamed up with good value and in this review we test both the 16TB IronWolf Pro and IronWolf models.

Performance
7.5
Features
7
Build quality
9
Usability
7
Value
7
PROS
  • Ideal for large SME appliances
  • Very good performance
  • IHM support
  • 5 year warranty
  • 2-year subscription to Seagate RDRS
CONS
  • Not as good value as Seagate’s Exos X16
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