Why virtualise your NAS environment?
Seagate 8TB NAS drive: Review
Is Seagate's monster ST8000VN0002 worth buying?
- Low cost per GB
- Huge capacity
- Standard 3.5-inch drive
- Good warranty
- Good NAS optimisations
- High retail price
- Not ideal as boot device
SSDs can't compete with price-per-GB-value of this magnitude. A great storage choice.
Price$ 580.00 (AUD)
While Seagate is lagging behind the world in SSDs it is stretching the imagination when it comes to building mechanical hard disks for different functions. In addition to the regular 3.5-inch desktop drives and 2.5-inch ‘laptop’ drives there are now hybrid versions with multiple gigabytes of NAND RAM to give SSD-like performance boosts in certain circumstances, drives optimised for NAS, drives optimised for Enterprise NAS and drives optimised for Security Cameras.
The ST8000VN0002 packs a whopping 8TB storage into a regular 3.5-inch, SATA 3 form factor. Seagate claims it is enhanced with special “NASworks” firmware which optimises performance for NAS-like workloads. A “dual-plane” balance system apparently helps protect against vibration to prolong the lifespan too. What all this boils down to is that Seagate has certified the disk to last a long time - it has a one million hour Mean Time Between Failures rating when running at a 180TB/year Workload Rate Limit. If that all still sounds like mumbo jumbo it boils down to the fact that this drive is designed to run 24/7 and comes with a 5-year warranty.
The claimed NAS error recovery controls promise to make it harder for the drive to be dropped from a NAS RAID array and put into a RAID rebuild. While we can’t test for that, anything that makes a NAS RAID array more reliable is good in our books.
The specialist NAS-optimised power management means the drives also drop into a low-power consumption mode while operating in a 24/7 NAS environment, so you won’t have to wait too long for things to start-up again when you want access to your files.
The drives also run quiet with the understanding that NAS devices are now essential parts of people’s homes and likely to be stored near a TV, in a living room, as a media server. Indeed, this drive only emitted very soft clicks that were unobtrusive.
What’s very impressive is Seagate’s recovery service. Recovering data from a mechanical hard disk is a dark art and can get very expensive. Seagate offers one attempt for free within a three-year warranty period and reckons it will get your data back to you in 15 days with a 90% success rate. Anyone who has owned and used a NAS over the past decade or so will appreciate that particular safety net.
In terms of performance, the ST8000VN0002 is essentially an 8TB 7,200rpm hard disk should be fast by mechanical standards due to the high data density. We ran our CrystalDiskMark benchmark and compared it to a standard AMD R7 240GB SSD:
|Test||240GB AMD SSD||ST8000VN0002|
|Sequential Read (Q32,T1) MB/s||526.035||238.295|
|Sequential Write (Q32,T1) MB/s||506.891||229.862|
|Random Read 4KiB (Q32,T1) [IOPS]||205.899 MB/s [50268.3]||3.233 MB/s [789.3]|
|Random Write 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) [IOPS]||109.896 MB/s [26830.1]||3.027 MB/s [739.0]|
|Sequential Read (T=1) MB/s||443.103||235.511|
|Sequential Write (T=1) MB/s||461.593||232.975|
|Random Read 4KiB (Q1,T1) [IOPS]||25.262 MB/s [6167.5]||0.903 MB/s [220.5]|
|Random Write 4KiB (Q1,T1) [IOPS]||74.847 MB/s [18273.2]||3.052 MB/s [745.1]|
Seagate's results are, unsurprisingly, a long way behind the SSD and confirms that you’d only really want this in a PC as storage and not a boot drive. In many cases performance will be boosted by using multiple drives in a RAID array anyway.
At about $580 the 7c cost per GB represents some of the best storage value on the market. The massive capacity and optimisations really do suit a NAS-like environment that uses large files over a boot drive for a PC.
High capacity storage is one area of the hard disk world that SSDs are a long way off in terms of competition. As such this Seagate drive is a real winner.
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