Today, Western Digital launched yet another hard drive into their enterprise lineup of hard drives. This time, they launched the WD Se, a cost-down version of their popular WD Re enterprise drive, that sits between the WD Red and WD Re in terms of build components.
Simply put, this drive is intended to be placed in solutions where someone needs to be able to store lots of data but doesn't move it very often. As such, they need the most GB per dollar that they can possibly get without compromising the data's security. Since WD Red drives are not intended to be deployed in more than 4 to 5 drives, WD needed to find a low-cost alternative to their WD Re enterprise drive, that is the WD Se.
As you can see, the WD Se drive has similar features as the WD Re enterprise drive, however, it has a lower MTBF due to it's design but still manages a higher rated workload than the WD Red. This is likely due to the fact that it simply has more dense platters (4TB vs 3TB). Nevertheless, the drive itself is still covered under Western Digital's 5 year warranty, which means that they're still more than confident that it will outlive most 'cheap' consumer drives.
In terms of performance, the WD Se also is pegged to perform slower than some of the other enterprise drives, but it enables higher capacities at a lower price for situations where speed is not absolutely as critical as capacity. The drive also has a lower power consumption than either of the WD Re drives, which means that more drives can be deployed with greater storage capacity per kilowatt of power. This once again enables more storage per dollar than the WD Re drives could possibly offer, taking into account the lower reliability rating and recommended workload rating.
Looking at this drive's price, at $310, there is not arguing that this drive is pretty expensive, but only barely more expensive than WD's largest consumer offering, the WD Black 4TB at $300. One of our friends at TechGage already managed to review the drive, while we're still working on reviewing ours to see how they live up to their expectations. It is clear that hard drive prices have appeared to level off and that they've re-entered the realm of reasonable pricing. The fact that a 4TB drive can be had for under $299 is a good thing, and an enterprise drive at almost the same price is even better, especially when you consider the incredible need for storage space that many cloud datacenters are going to need over the next few years. Especially with services like Flickr offering 1TB of free storage to all users and like 500px offering unlimited storage.
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