Seagate IronWolf 16 Tb | st16000vn001 | review

Today, hard drives are the only available way to store large amounts of data, and perhaps considering one hard drive, we do not dwell on its volume: Yes, a dozen terabytes will be enough for an ordinary user almost for life. But in the corporate segment, the increase in the capacity of one HDD from 10 to 12 TB allowed to beat the psychologically important milestone-10 Petabytes per 42-unit rack, and now no one is surprised that the increase in the capacity of one disk from 14 to 16 TB means “only” 12.8 Petabytes in 42U rack, or 64 TB in 1U format. Or 90tb in a desktop 5-disk NAS such as the QNAP TVS-951X.

The disk controller contains rotational vibration sensors, whose readings allow you to adjust the position of the head above the track at the time of reading or writing, to eliminate the influence of neighboring hard drives. In multi-disk NASes, this system can significantly increase the speed of random access due to more accurate positioning of the heads and reduce the impact of its own vibration on the disk array. Interestingly, the vibration correction system tracks up to 8 hard drives in your NAS, roughly speaking-takes into account 8 sinusoids, folding with each other, and in the Pro-series, up to 24 drives are tracked.

Interestingly, the external hard drive looks like helium, and the characteristics of its parameters coincide with helium, but nowhere in the characteristics or operating instructions does not say that its body is filled with gas, unlike the EXOS series for data centers, where the use of this technology is directly indicated in the properties table.

Of course, today, when the competition in the HDD market has been reduced to a lazy confrontation between two companies, Seagate and Western Digital (plus HGST, plus Toshiba), the average corporate customer is interested in the volume of the drive, its price and reliability. To maintain customer loyalty, marketers are looking for some new technologies, and I do not know whether by accident or at the cost of incredible efforts, but the guys from Seagate hit the bull’s eye: Ironwolf Health Management technology was really in demand in the market. It was supported by all the leading manufacturers of network drives (NAS), and the average user in addition to the dull incomprehensible parameters of S. M. A. R. T. became available beautiful interface with diagnostics of the state of hard drives.

Key features of IronWolf st16000vn001 series:

  • The Volume Of 16 TB
  • The spindle speed of up to 7200 RPM
  • Buffer-256 MB
  • Interface-SATA-600
  • Data storage-8 disks, 16 heads
  • Recording technology - PMR
  • RAID optimization: vibration correction of 24 disks in one enclosure.

IronWolf Health (IHM)

The Ironwolf Health disk monitoring system (IHM) is a monitoring system built into the NAS operating system that monitors not only the parameters of the S. M. A. R. T. hard drive, but also the operating conditions of the hard drive, using specialized algorithms for assessing key characteristics. In case of what, IHM in advance warns that it would be necessary to make a backup and to prepare for replacement of a disk if its condition worsens. To date, IronWolf Health Management is implemented in network drives QNAP, Synology, Asustor and Thecus, but the bad luck-usually support for the latest hard drives appears in the NAS-Ah a couple of months after their release. We noticed this when we tested a 14-terabyte IronWolf Pro, and with a 16-Terabyte “non-Pro”, the same situation arose: the disk itself supports IHM technology, but the NAS-s do not support with current version of OS.

Modern operating systems NAS-s constantly check hard drives in the background, run tests S. M. A. R. T. and at the slightest failure-will send a notification or start transferring data to hot-swap drives. Of course, S. M. A. R. T. diagnostics has not gone away, it is supported by Ironwolf Pro disks, but the difference between the old “smart” and the new “IHM” is best explained by QNAP.

S. M. A. R. T. IronWolf Health Management
Tracks 20 parameters Tracks more than 200 parameters that can affect the health of the hard drive
Reports in the form of Fail or Pass statuses Informs the user about possible measures to prevent failures, reducing the probability of breakage and data loss
Reports changes that have already occurred that may affect the drive Reports changes that have already occurred and sends an error code when the drive breaks to Seagate support
Does not take into account how the monitored parameters have changed in the past Takes into account trends and the rate of change of the monitored parameters

Here is what information IHM can output, by the Synology manual:

  • Code 100-operating temperature exceeds the maximum permissible value. Make sure the rear vents are not closed and try to reduce the ambient temperature. If the temperature is still high, go to control Panel > Equipment and power > fan speed Mode to set the fan speed higher. If this does not help, contact Synology support.
  • Code 101-connection issues in Synology NAS and hard disk interface Detected. Make sure that the hard drive is properly installed in the chassis or tray and that the tray is correctly installed in the Synology NAS. If this does not help, contact Synology support.
  • Code 102-excessive physical impact on the hard drive is Detected. Make sure that the Synology NAS with the hard drive is installed on a stable surface. If this does not help, contact Synology support.
  • Code 105 - you have Exceeded the allowable level of vibration. Make sure the Synology NAS is installed on a stable surface. If this does not help, contact Synology support.
  • Code 106-excessive host data reset Detected. Make sure the hard drive is properly installed in the chassis or tray. It is recommended to perform a power on and off cycle. If this does not help, contact Synology support.Discovered excessive reset of the host. Make sure the hard drive is properly installed in the chassis or tray. It is recommended to perform a power on and off cycle. If this does not help, contact Synology support.
  • Codes 200, 201, 202, and 203-to check the status of the hard drive, we recommend that you perform advanced S. M. A. R. T. testing. if the problem persists, contact the vendor or manufacturer of the drive.

What you need to know when installing IronWolf Pro in RAID arrays?

All discs in this series have rotational vibration sensors that help to adjust the positioning of the head in large disk storage. Accordingly, neighboring hard drives have less impact on each other, access time is not reduced, and in General the array works without reducing performance. With the growth of recording density, hard drives have become sensitive to all sorts of vibrations, and even recorded cases of failure of hard drives due to loud sounds of fire sirens and gas sprayers used to extinguish the fire in the data centers. So the protection against vibration should be taken seriously.


A large 256 MB buffer by any serious NAS or software platforms like FreeNAS and XigmaNAS will only be used for read operations. Forcibly you can enable it to write, but it is not recommended to do this, since a sudden power outage can cause the loss of fresh data that did not have time to be saved to the media. Buffer algorithms are the “know - how” of the manufacturer, and often it is due to them that it is possible to increase the speed of both linear and random reading. In general, the NAS has its own buffer and its own predictive reading algorithms, so by and large the volume of the hard drive cache does not matter.

Life and warranty

For modern hard drives, it is already accepted to specify the allowable average annual load - the amount of data that the hard drive processes for 8760 hours. For the disk in question, the write life is 180 TB per year, 600,000 on/off cycles are measured for the entire life of the drive, and the total life is 1,000,000 hours (114.15 years).

Noise level

The drive documentation lists a noise level of 28 dB in idle mode and 3.0 dB in search mode. However, the rustling of the heads is perceptibly audible even when the hard drive is in the case and lies on a soft foam. In the random read mode, the measured noise level was 32 dB, so be guided by these indicators.

Test stand

The increase in storage capacity contributes to increased speed, and for 16-terabyte models, Seagate claims a record 261 MB / s for serial access and up to 400 I / o operations for random access. The built-in buffer has a capacity of 256 MB, but today this is not a record, as Toshiba recently announced the release of hard drives with 512 MB of cache memory on Board. In any case, only full-fledged tests will show what speed we can count on when installing the disk in the storage and when using it in the workstation.

The configuration of the testbench :

  • CPU Intel Xeon E5-2603 V4
  • Motherboard from ASRock EPC612D4U-2T8R
  • 32 GB of RAM
  • Windows 10 x64
  • Synology RS4017xs+
  • Iometer, random filling of 80%

We start with the traditionally harmless test package CrystalDisk Benchmark, which we use only for beauty, and in its current incarnation we urge not to take it seriously.

And let’s go with our main tests.

The drive is inferior to the “Pro-series” of smaller volume, and the difference reaches 10%. But at the same time, Seagate IronWolf 16Tb copes well with multi-threaded load, and even shows a higher speed when recording, which is important in video surveillance systems.

In tests the random access trend continues: the disk inferior to his fellow “Pro-series”, and this is especially noticeable when recording.

In tests of Real-World tasks, the hard drive tries to rehabilitate itself: literally a breakthrough in the backup task, but at the same time a perfect failure in reading.

Reading problems are confirmed in the multithreaded mode to which we add Adobe Premiere. Under this, all that concerns records in the pure the form of disk transfers excellently.

Not bad in 1200 threads to keep access time at the level of 2 seconds. By the way, at about this level, the surveillance software starts swearing at a slow hard drive. In other words, the Seagate IronWolf 16TB is suitable for video surveillance, although Seagate recommends its Skyhawk series for this purpose.

Recommendations for the use of ST16000VN001

Given the excellent recording and sometimes slow reading, it is obvious that the firmware was developed in the hope that over the RAID-array of these hard drives will stand SSD-cache read/write, which will smooth out all the failures in speed and save the hard drive from unnecessary read operations. Given that today a small SSD can be bought for the difference in cost between 16-terabyte hard drives in two neighboring stores, the question of the feasibility of a solid-state layer can not even be raised.

For what purposes is suitable Seagate IronWolf 16 Tb (p/n st16000vn001):

  • Storage of backups
  • Video surveillance
  • Media server

For what purposes is not suitable Seagate IronWolf 16 Tb (p/n st16000vn001):

  • Games
  • Virtualization
  • Big Data / Machine Learning

The main competitive advantage of Seagate IronWolf hard drives is undoubtedly the Ironwolf Health Management diagnostic system. Perhaps, when you read this article, the Ironwolf Health Management diagnostic system is already supported by all modern NAS-es, but even if not-it will happen sooner or later, as was the case with previous novelties, which received support after some time after the release.