by Lyle Smith

Seagate IronWolf Pro 16TB NAS HDD Review

The IronWolf Pro is an NAS family of HDDs designed for 24×7 performance in a multi-drive environment. For this review, we will be looking at the new 16TB model, which expands on the 14GB Pro from earlier this year. This makes for a whopping 384TB inside an 24-bay NAS, allowing users to store a huge amount of data without having to add any expansion units. This is certainly great for creative professionals, SOHO users and all types of growing businesses that work with large datasets, as it offers them a more cost-effective way to scale as data requirements grow. The Seagate IronWolf line features the usual 6Gb/s SATA interface, 7200rpm spindle speed and 1.2 million hours MTBF.

Like the models before it, the IronWolf Pro 16TB is NAS-optimized with AgileArray, a technology that enables dual-plane balancing and RAID optimization in multi-bay environments as well as RV sensors to maintain high performance in multi-drive NAS enclosures. It also allows for advanced power management. In addition, the 16TB Pro is the embedded IronWolf Health Management software application, which provides monitoring, intervention, and data recovery options to further help keep user data safe and secure.

 

The IronWolf Pro is available in a wide range of other capacities, including 14TB,12TB, 10TB, 8TB, 6TB, 4TB, and 2TB. This allows the IronWolf Pro to fit into pretty much any organization’s or creative professional’s budget, which adds a ton of flexibility. In addition to its 5-year limited warranty, the IronWolf Pro line comes with a 2-year subscription to the company’s Rescue Data Recovery plan, a service that provides data recovery from mechanical, accidental, or natural disaster incidents. 

Seagate IronWolf Pro 16TB NAS HDD Specifications

Standard Model Number  ST16000NE000
Interface SATA 6Gb/s 
Features
Drive Bays Supported  Up to 24-bay 
Multi-User Technology (TB/yr) 300
Rotational Vibration (RV) Sensors Yes
Hot-Plug Support Yes
Cache (MB) 256
Reliability/Data Integrity
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours)  1,200,000 
Reliability Rating @ Full 24×7 Operation (AFR) 0.73% 
 Nonrecoverable Read Errors per Bits Read, Max 1 per 10E15 
Power-On Hours per Year (24×7)  8,760 
 Sector Size (Bytes per Logical Sector) 512E
Rescue Services Yes
Limited Warranty (years) 5
Performance  
Spindle Speed (RPM)  7200
Interface Access Speed (Gb/s) 6.0, 3.0, 1.5
Max. Sustained Transfer Rate OD (MB/s) 250
Average Latency (ms) 4.16
Interface Ports Single
Rotational Vibration @ 10-1500 Hz (rad/s) 12.5
Power Consumption
Startup Current, Typical (12V, A)  5
Operating (drive case, max °C)  60
Nonoperating (ambient, min °C) -40
Nonoperating (ambient, max °C) 70
Environmental/Acoustics
Vibration, Nonoperating: 10Hz to 500Hz (Grms) 2.27
Idle (typical)  2.8bels
Seek (typical) 3.2bels
Environmental/Shock
Shock, Operating 2ms (Read/Write) (Gs)  50/50Gs
Shock, Nonoperating, 1ms and 2ms (Gs) 200
 Physical
Height (mm/in):  26.11mm/1.028in
Width (mm/in, max):  101.85mm/4.01in
Depth (mm/in, max): 146.99mm/5.787in
Weight (g/lb):  670g/1.477lb
Carton Unit Quantit : 20
Cartons per Pallet/Cartons per Layer: 40/8

Performance

Enterprise Synthetic Workload Analysis

Our enterprise hard drive benchmark process preconditions each drive-set into steady-state with the same workload the device will be tested with under a heavy load of 16 threads, with an outstanding queue of 16 per thread. The device is then tested in set intervals in multiple thread/queue depth profiles to show performance under light and heavy usage. Since hard drives reach their rated performance level very quickly, we only graph out the main sections of each test.

Preconditioning and Primary Steady-State Tests:

  • Throughput (Read+Write IOPS Aggregate)
  • Average Latency (Read+Write Latency Averaged Together)
  • Max Latency (Peak Read or Write Latency)
  • Latency Standard Deviation (Read+Write Standard Deviation Averaged Together)

Our Enterprise Synthetic Workload Analysis includes four profiles based on real-world tasks. These profiles have been developed to make it easier to compare to our past benchmarks, as well as widely-published values such as max 4K read and write speed and 8K 70/30, which is commonly used for enterprise drives.

  • 4K
    • 100% Read or 100% Write
    • 100% 4K
  • 8K 70/30
    • 70% Read, 30% Write
    • 100% 8K
  • 128K (Sequential)
    • 100% Read or 100% Write
    • 100% 128K

In the following section of this review, we will show the 16TB Seagate IronWolf's performance in both iSCSI and CIFS configurations and will compare them to other IronWolf models. Seagate supplied StorageReview with 8 samples of their new NAS HDDs, which we configured in RAID6. All the drives were tested in our NETGEAR ReadyNas 628X.

Looking at our throughput test which measures 4k random performance, the 16TB IronWolf Pro fell behind in iSCSI performance with 853 IOPS write and 527 IOPS read, as it was out performed by the the 14TB model. In CIFS, the 16TB IronWolf Pro posted 683 IOPS write and an impressive 4,774 IOPS read.

Next, we move on to 4k average latency where performance rankings were more or less the same. The 16TB IronWolf Pro drive hit latencies of 303.319ms write and 484.011ms read in the iSCSI configuration while CIFS measured 376.782ms write and 53.601ms read, the latter which outperformed the 14TB model by a significant margin (the Exos had a very similar read latency as well).

With 4k max latency, the 16TB IronWolf Pro showed 4,896ms and 16,962ms in iSCSI reads and writes, respectively (again behind the 14TB model). In CIFS, the 16TB Pro hit 11,062ms read (last) and 16,273ms (2nd) write.

In standard deviation, the 16TB IronWolf Pro showed reads and writes of 619.791ms and 1335.448ms in iSCSI, respectively, and 53.92ms and 1746.24ms in CIFS.

The next benchmark tests the drives under 100% read/write activity, but this time at 8k sequential throughput. In iSCSI, the 16TB IronWolf Pro hit 128,123 IOPS read and 55,688 IOPS write, while CIFS saw half the IOPS in read performance with 62,165 coupled with 43,612 IOPS write

Our next test shifts focus from a pure 8k sequential 100% read/write scenario to a mixed 8k 70/30 workload. This will demonstrate how performance scales in a setting from 2T/2Q up to 16T/16Q. In CIFS, the 16TB IronWolf Pro started at 582 IOPS while ending at a leading 1,415 IOPS in the terminal queue depths. In iSCSI, we saw a range of 395 IOPS to 571 IOPS.

With average latency at 8k 70/30, the 16TB IronWolf Pro showed a range of 10.1ms through 447.9ms in iSCSI, while CIFS showed a range of 6.84ms through 179.93 in CIFS, the latter which was again the best-performing configuration.

In max latency, the 16TB IronWolf Pro posted a range of 1,424.4ms to 11,171.2ms in CIFS, while iSCSI showed 3,229.25ms through 7,665.47ms in the terminal queue depths.

The standard deviation latency results, the 16TB IronWolf Pro 720.78ms (CIFS) and 584.24ms (iSCSI) in the terminal queue depths.

Our last test is the 128k benchmark, which is a large-block sequential test that shows the highest sequential transfer speed. The 16TB IronWolf Pro showed 2.311GB/s read and 869MB/s write in CIFS, while iSCSI had 1.75GB/s read and 1.06GB/s write.          

Conclusion

The latest capacity of the Seagate IronWolf Pro line is a solid addition to the company’s Guardian Series. This NAS-specific drive gives users the highest capacity possible at relatively inexpensive price tag, while results from our performance charts reaffirm that the line is a good choice for SOHO, SME markets and creative professionals. Though it has many of the same features as the non-Pro line, the IronWolf Pro offers some expanded specs including its support of up to a 24-bay storage device (compared to 8 bays for the non-Pro version) and 1.2 million hours MTBF (compared to 1 million MTBF for the non-Pro version).

For this review, we populated an 8-bay Netgear ReadyNAS 628x with 8 of these drives and compared it to the Seagate IronWolf 14TB Pro and non-Pro models, as well as the non-Pro IronWolf 16TB and Seagate Exos. Though it fell behind in some of our tests (such as during iSCSI 4k throughput and latency), it performed well in 4k reads and 8k 70/30 when configured in CIFS connectivity with 4,774 IOPS and  1,415 IOPS (16T/16Q), respectively. It also had a very impressive performance during our large-block sequential test (128k) under RAID6 CIFS, posting a read performance of 2.31GB/s.

Overall, the Seagate IronWolf Pro 16TB NAS HDD is a reliable NAS drive that features great performance in specific configurations, while its massive capacity gives users the (budget-friendly) flexibility they need to grow as their data requirements expand. 

Seagate IronWolf

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