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NAS Reviews

Performance

The DL4100 was tested with 1.06.116 firmware using our Revision 5 NAS test process. The DL4100 tests used four drives configured in single RAID 0, 5 and 10 volumes. All tests were run using Western Digital Red 6 TB (WD60EFRX) drives (x4 factory installed).

I get my first indication of how a NAS is going to stack up by filtering the default NAS chart for the number of drives (4) and the latest test method (black bars) and looking to see where the NAS being currently reviewed appears. The default NAS chart shows File Copy Write Performance. Since there are often differences between write and read performance, I also look at the File Copy Read Performance.

The composite chart below shows the results for four drive NASes. While the DL4100 appears to be relatively low on the charts both write and read results are in excess of 100 MB/s. The 103.1 MB/s Write performance was about 6% slower than the chart topping NASes and the Read performance lagged about 2% behind the highest performing NAS. These are not significant differences that would be noticed in real-world use.

Four drive NASes - File Copy Write (l) and File Copy Read Performance

Four drive NASes - File Copy Write (l) and File Copy Read Performance

Detailed results are shown below in the Benchmark Summary. File Copy Write Performance was better for RAID 0 with performance dropping slightly below 100 MB/s for both RAID 5 and RAID 10. File Copy Read Performance for all RAID levels was above 100 MB/s and within a few percentage points of each other. Similarly, NASPT File Copy To NAS (write) and NASPT File Copy From NAS (read) were all in excess of 100 MB/s with a range of 104.1 MB/s to 109.6 MB/s.

WD My Cloud DL4100 Benchmark Summary

WD My Cloud DL4100 Benchmark Summary

Performance Ranking

The NAS Ranker lets you sort by RAID Class and testing methodology. For the composite chart below, I filtered for RAID 5 and selected Revision 5 as the test method. The chart shows Total NAS Ranking on the left and sorted by ascending price on the right.

Looking at the chart on the left you see the My Cloud DL4100 ranks #6 for Total NAS. I looked at the chart sorted by price (right) to see if there are other NASes that were less expensive, but still have a lower (better) Total NAS rank. In this case, you can see that the #2 ranked ASUSTOR AS5104T and the #4 ASUSTOR AS5004T are both less expensive and have better Total NAS rankings.

RAID5 NAS Ranking

RAID5 NAS Ranking

For performance comparisons, I decided to include the Seagate STDE100 NAS Pro 4 -Bay and the ASUSTOR AS5104T. I chose the #9 ranked Seagate NAS since it uses the same processor and the same amount of memory as the My Cloud DL4100, but is currently $30 cheaper. I chose the ASUSTOR AS5104T, as it is the #2 ranked NAS, but still $21 cheaper. I couldn't include the WD My Cloud EX4 as it used Revision 4 testing methodology and the test results between the two revisions aren't directly comparable.

While the My Cloud DL4100 ranked #6 for Total NAS rankings, it did manage to outperform the #2 ranked ASUSTOR for Read Benchmarks and tied with the ASUSTOR in the backup category. However, the DL4100 doesn't directly support Rsync network backup.

The Seagate's overall ranking was pulled down by a #11 ranking for Read Benchmarks but did have one category win for Mixed Read Write when compared to the other two. Comparing the My Cloud to the Seagate STDE100, it looks like WD was able to squeeze more performance out of the same processor and memory combination found in both NASes.

Ranker Performance Summary comparison

Ranker Performance Summary comparison

Closing Thoughts

The DL4100 and DL2100 mark WD's first serious attempt at a Business NAS since the Windows-Server based DX4000 Sentinel, and its first Linux-based NASes using Intel processors. But while the DL4100's performance is more competitive than past efforts, they have again aimed behind the price / performance target that its Taiwanese competitors keep moving.

Competitive models from ASUSTOR and QNAP employ dual and quad-core Celeron-based processors while WD chose dual-core Atom. The difference in performance is apparent if you compare results with either ASUSTOR's dual core Celeron J1800 AS5004T or quad-core Celeron J1900 AS5104T. Based on current pricing, both ASUSTOR NASes offer better bang for the buck.

I initially thought since WD also manufacturers the drives in the diskful models, that perhaps those would offer a somewhat better value. While you do save some money buying a populated DL4100 compared to buying diskless and populating it with WD Red drives yourself, the savings aren't really that significant.

I put together a little spreadsheet to see just how much you can save. I looked at the currently available prices for the different capacites of DL4100's and the current prices of 2, 4 and 6 TB WD Red drives on Amazon. The chart shows, depending on the model, you can save between ~ $23 (16 TB model) and ~$115 (24 TB model).

  NAS Price Disk $ (Amazon) Disk $ in NAS Savings per disk Total Savings
DL4100 - 0TB 529.99 N/A N/A N/A N/A
DL4100 - 8TB 849.99 95.99 80.00 15.99 63.96
DL4100 - 16TB 1169.99 165.72 160.00 5.72 22.88
DL4100 - 24TB 1529.00 278.48 249.75 28.73 114.91
Table 2: BYOD Disk vs. Diskful Cost

While it's easy to make recommendations based on price/performance, those aren't the only factors that enter into making a purchasing decision. In my dealings with Western Digital's tech support, I've found my calls have been answered promptly, cases tracked and issues were resolved on the first call. In my book, that counts for something.

But for some, better price/performance, larger quantity of available installable apps and more robust suites of mobile apps available on competing products may swing the purchase decision away from Western Digital.

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