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Toshiba 16TB MG08ACA16TE Review – World Exclusive

Technologies such as hybrid cloud, AI, big data and video surveillance are driving a huge demand for storage in the enterprise. Hard disk drive (HDD) manufacturers are racing to keep up with this voracious appetite with Toshiba, Seagate and Western Digital (WD) all responding by launching high-capacity 16TB models. On review we have Toshiba’s MG08ACA16TE 16TB Enterprise SATA model which is a member of its latest MG08 series. Also available with a 12Gbits/sec SAS interface, this capacity-optimized family targets continuous near-line usage scenarios such as bulk storage systems, networked storage arrays and enterprise backup and restore services.

Toshiba 16TB Enterprise Hard disk features

As expected, the MG08 drives are helium filled and Toshiba has ensured they stay completely sealed by using the precision industrial welding technology originally developed by Toshiba Group for its lithium-ion batteries and other industrial applications. It employs the same TDMR (two dimensional magnetic recording) heads as Seagate’s and WD’s 16TB drives which allows manufacturers to increase areal density by up to 10% over older PMR (perpendicular magnetic recording) drives.

Toshiba claimed a couple of industry milestones when it launched its MG07 series of HDDs as they were the first 14TB models to use CMR (conventional magnetic recording) and also the first to deliver a 9-platter design. The same technologies have been incorporated into the MG08 series which also benefits from a number of features designed to deliver reliable operations in rack-dense environments.

Vibration in multi-drive storage arrays and 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. Toshiba’s Stable Platter Technology is designed to minimize vibration by stabilizing the motor shaft at both ends for improved tracking accuracy and maximum read and write performance.

The MG08 drives feature built-in rotational vibration (RV) sensors so multiple drives can operate reliably when mounted closely together in a storage array or appliance. The RV sensors allow them to compensate for rotational vibration that occurs within the drive or externally so they can safely maintain high read and write speeds.

Using helium instead of air inside the drive decreases turbulence and buffeting allowing the actuator arms to be more precisely positioned as vibration and platter movement at high revolutions are significantly reduced. This a key reason why Toshiba was able to reduce the distance between the platters and fit nine inside a standard form factor casing.

Another benefit of the helium’s reduced drag is less power is required for the spindle motor with Toshiba claiming the MG08 drives use around 50% less power per gigabyte than older air-filled drives. Further savings can be made in power costs as the SATA model on review consumes a maximum of 7.63W for random read and write operations and only an average of 4W in idle.

These numbers are important to data centers with thousands of drives and already running close to the limit of their utility supply. The reduced power consumption of the MG08 drives allows them to increase the storage capacity of their existing systems while cutting consumption and operating costs.

Another valuable feature is Toshiba’s Persistent Write Cache (PWC) technology which is designed to protect data being written to the disk in the event of a power interruption or failure. The drive employs a flash-based cache to save the data which is written back when the power supply has been restored.

Lab test setup

We used Qnap’s TVS-882BR high-end SMB appliance to test Toshiba’s 16TB MG08ACA16TE drives

The MG08ACA16TE targets use in storage appliances and in multi-drive RAID arrays so, for real-world performance testing, we used Qnap’s TVS-882BR. As one of Qnap’s high-end SMB models, this 8-bay desktop appliance is equipped with a 3.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-7700 CPU and 32GB of DDR4 memory.

The QTS system software and apps were all loaded on a dedicated mirrored array comprising two enterprise-class 1.92TB Micron 5200 Max SATA SSDs. For performance testing, we fitted four MG08ACA16TE drives and created a dedicated 44TB RAID5 storage pool.

As Qnap has implemented Fibre Channel support in QTS, we took advantage of this high-performance feature and installed an ATTO Celerity FC-164P HBA with quad 16Gbps FC ports in the appliance. Our test host was a Dell PowerEdge T640 tower server with dual 2.1GHz 22-core Xeon Scalable Gold 6152 CPUs, 384GB of DDR4 plus an ATTO Celerity FC-164P HBA and running Windows Server 2019.

ATTO’s Celerity quad-port 16Gbps Fibre Channel HBAs were used in the appliance and host server for our high-performance tests

We created a dedicated 1TB FC LUN on the test drive array and mapped it to the server over a dual-port 32Gbps MPIO FC connection. Tests were conducted using Iometer configured with 256KB transfer request sizes for testing maximum sequential and random read/write rates and 4KB request sizes to measure IOPS throughput.

Toshiba 16TB Performance analysis

Testing the Toshiba 16TB enterprise drives in a RAID array and over high-performance fibre channel connections to a host system allowed us to see how they behave in a real world business environment. Furthermore, as the rig was the same as the one used to test Seagate’s 16TB Exos X16 drives, we could directly compare performance results.

Overall, the Toshiba drives performed well and delivered very similar results to the Exos X16 drives. In the Iometer sequential tests, the MG08ACA16TE array returned read and write speeds of 3,150MB/sec and 3,139MB/sec – slightly faster than the Exos X16.

Random read performance was nearly identical with Toshiba and Seagate returning 3,150MB/sec and 3,149MB/sec respectively. Our 100% random write test is worst-case scenario as few businesses will have these kinds of workloads but we saw noticeable differences with Toshiba scoring 77MB/sec and Seagate delivering a higher 98MB/sec.

Our IOPS throughput tests saw very similar performance characteristics. Toshiba returned 291,500 and 204,500 IOPS for sequential reads and writes while Seagate mustered 288,800 and 209,700 IOPS. Swapping to random read and write operations saw Toshiba return 291,100 and 3,150 IOPS while Seagate was measured at 290,500 and 3,950 IOPS.

Conclusion

Although Toshiba was the first to announce 16TB enterprise-class drives, Seagate was actually the first to deliver them to market. That said, Toshiba is offering a highly competitive alternative to the Exos X16.

Both are 7,200rpm drives, have equal 2.5M hour MTBF plus 550TB yearly workload ratings and are protected by limited 5-year warranties. There’s little between them for claimed single drive performance with Toshiba quoting 262MB/sec against Seagate’s 261MB/sec.

In terms of integral technology features, Seagate has an edge thanks to its PowerChoice and PowerBalance modes which offer a set of idle and standby modes that gradually reduce consumption the longer the drive remains in an idle state. However, both vendors incorporate a range of sophisticated features designed to ensure reliable operations in rack-dense, multi-drive storage arrays and appliances.

Our lab tests showed that the Toshiba MG08ACA16TE delivered slightly better performance and IOPS throughput for read operations while the Seagate Exos X16 has a marginally better write performance. Toshiba also has lower power ratings for random read/write operations and idle modes.

With a price of $495, Toshiba’s MG08ACA16TE is very good value and is a great choice for a wide range of mission-critical enterprise workloads. It delivers excellent performance along with low power consumption and is recommended for businesses that have high capacity, 24/7 operations and reliability as key priorities.

16TB Toshiba MG08ACA16TE

7200RPM 512e 3.5" SATA High-Performance Enterprise Hard Drive

$495.00

Toshiba 16TB MG08ACA16TE Review – World Exclusive
9.5 Total Score
TopTen Award for the Toshiba 16TB Enterprise Drive

With a price of $495, Toshiba’s MG08ACA16TE is very good value and is a great choice for a wide range of mission-critical enterprise workloads. It delivers excellent performance along with low power consumption and is recommended for businesses that have high capacity, 24/7 operations and reliability as key priorities.

Performance
9.5
Features
9
Build quality
10
Usability
9.5
Value
9
User Rating: 5 (2 votes)

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