My experience using 6TB WD Red drives for Drobo FS

In the past few years I began using the regular WD Red drives developed specifically for NAS (not the “Red Pro” version, that apparently wasn’t even around a few years ago) in my 5-bay Drobo FS for business use. I am using the Drobo strictly for overnight data backups. I first installed the Drobo in 2013 and one of the very first WD drives I installed in that unit is still going strong. Except this was NOT a Red drive. When I first got the Drobo, the Red drives were simply too expensive, so in this case, the drive I mentioned was a WD Caviar Green 2TB drive. I also have 2 additional WD green drives still in that same Drobo-- one is a Caviar, one is Mainstream, and both are 3TB each. Again, both these drives are still going along fine, first installed in approximately 2014 and 2015.

Funny thing though is that the only (newest) drives that have failed so far in the Drobo… are the WD Red drives! The ones supposedly built specifically for NAS. The green drives I mentioned, each had warrantees of only 1 year as I recall, though the Reds have a whopping 3 year warranty. That’s great, but the two 6TB Reds I had in my Drobo both lasted till only a few months after the 3 year warranty ran out. Almost like clockwork.

Of course, I suppose it is possible that the Drobo might just have a built-in way to get me to buy a new Drobo… that there could be a limit to the size of drives one can use in the Drobo FS. But if there is, I haven’t found any info stating such a limitation. And the 6TB WD Red drives HAVE worked, at least for a little over 3 years apiece. So that doesn’t seem like a size limitation with the Drobo.

I’d love to just go back to purchasing the low power variable speed Green drives in larger sizes, but hey, WD doesn’t sell those anymore. Could it be that they were simply too RELIABLE? At least now with the Red drives I can count on each of them crapping out just after the 3 year warranty expires. Oh wait… they have a Red Pro version now… with a 5 year warranty. I think I can guess how long each of those will last…

On a side note, as much as I can’t stop thinking of the phrase “planned obsolescence,” I’d still much rather take my chances with Western Digital than that other company… Seagate!

P.S. Of all the Western Digital internal hard drives I have either purchased for myself or for other clients in the past 15-20 years, I think I have had only maybe 3 drive failures personally that I recall, while the data on those drives was still being used. The first would have been with a past WD Black drive, and then most recently the two regular Red NAS drives. While I’m not thrilled with the performance of the regular Red NAS drives, I am still definitely a fan of Western Digital and will continue to use them for my hard drive storage needs.

I know this is an old post but interesting because I’ve had a very similar experience… I’ve had the Drobo FS for well over a decade and loved its quiet reliability and hot-swappable mix-and-match drive bays, but just had my first failure - a 6tb WD Red. To be fair it lasted nearly 7 years, but the other drives were several years older, a mix of 2tb Greens and 3tb Reds.
Looks like the 6tb just not as reliable as others, and sadly now Drobo themselves have gone out of business otherwise I would have happily upgraded to a 5N2 for the uptick in performance and capacity. I’m going to migrate to a simple usb enclosure attached to my router with a 14tb Seagate Ironwolf Pro (has 3-year Recovery Service included for peace of mind) for NAS until I work out a suitable Drobo replacement - it’s a cheap interim solution until I get RAID again, at which point I will probs come back to WD.

Drobo themselves have gone out of business …

I am glad that they did, in the world of Mini Server, us professional’s IT, we do not use tiny and poorly ventilated boxes as housing of multiple HDD.
eBay this is now full of half dead high capacity HDD.

My pair of RAPTOR 75GB RAID-1 of 2005, this was removed alive with 90.000 of hours over it.
They were actively cooled all these years, they never run hot beyond 40C, HDD lubrication never stressed.
HDD in reality this is a machinery, and home users are not aware of how to deal with them.

Yes, but it’s ridiculous to talk of hardware like the Drobo FS in the context of “professional IT” when the target market is clearly home and small office. Obviously there are significantly different budget, size and complexity constraints.
It certainly performed very well for me, allowing me to initially populate it with a range of used drives from past PC builds, then just hot swap in larger capacities as my storage needs grew, with a range of larger capacity drives from PC’s converted to SSD or NVMe or new drives that cost 1/3 of the price they had when I first got the Drobo… and slip the old drives back into PCs as secondary and tertiary storage. 12+ years with zero-downtime and never running noticeably hot.
I expect there is still a market for this kind of unit if you want a non-Cloud NAS solution with redundancy - I don’t understand how people trust data worth saving to single drive units like WD’s MyBooks, which is really the kind of level these units are a useful step up from.

WD’s MyBooks this is a special purpose solution, for data backup only.
No one will keep such HDD enclosure powered on, for a long time.

I procured several USB-C boxes for SATA products to recycle old laptop disks as backups
More recently I have acquired USB-C for M.2 NVMe which are now more widely available

Disks seems cool in the USB-C boxes as temperatures are under 10C above ambient

WD Elements enclosure of 2013 this become my choice of reusing old laptop disks.
WD Elements SATA 2.5" USB 2.0 HDD enclosure teardown / what’s inside

It bigger brother seems to have “locked controller” and its usable under special conditions.
WD Elements Desktop 2TB WDBAAU0020HBK - Ext HDD 1021 - New HDD install

Modern USB-C controllers are fast enough to handle SSD at 10 gigabit or faster

In the end of the day, the ones dealing with video footage this is a minority which has a higher bill to pay for storage solutions / high tech ones.
Also 3D animation this is a second demanding application.
For general computing I do find sufficient USB 3.0 bandwidth for data transfer (backup).

It might worth the trouble for WD, them to engage at NAS manufacturing, by the use of large and well ventilated cases, along the use of reliable electronics.