What is WD NASware
NASware is the name WD has given to their firmware that powers the red family including WD Red, WD Red Plus, and WD Red Pro drives.
What is HDD firmware?
Hardware-wise most of the SATA drives are the same, other than the Enterprise drives which have higher MTBF and specific circuitry. This hardware can be further tweaked for a specific function by changing a few parameters. These parameters are changed using a software code called firmware.
Using Firmware ( think of it as software controlling the hard drive ), the manufactures can tweak specific parameters and make a drive more suitable for a specific purpose. For example, ATA Streaming helps with better Stream/Video recording and playback. WD Purple Firmware makes use of this to make the drive more suitable for surveillance and instead of calling it ATA streaming, names it Silk Steam, much more marketable. Other manufacturers do the same Seagate calls their AV firmware as Imageperfect for example.
Firmware can control the RV Sensors, do the error correction, and can throttle the RPMs too ( a 7200 RPM drive can be throttled to 5400 RPM for example)
NASware + Superior hardware makes Red, well Red
I know what you are thinking. If it's the firmware that makes a drive unique, does it mean that Red is just a desktop drive with a specific firmware? Not Quite.
WD Red differs in 2 ways - it has different firmware, and it has different Hardware too. The firmware can't change the workload rating and MTBF. Red has better workloads and MTBF than other drives, so WD has tweaked both the firmware and the hardware. There are extra vibratory sensors on WD red also.
NASware is constantly updated and on each update, it's given a new version number, just like any other software. That's the recipe for a great drive - build a good hardware platform, and then deploy a purpose build firmware on it, and WD seems to have aced this.