WD Sets the Record Straight: Lists All Drives That Use Slower SMR Tech

1_rick

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Zarathustra[H]

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Well, this is just current shipping models though...

I have 16 4TB WD Reds in my backup server.

There were originally 12. 8 of them are still original from 2014. I presume these were manufactured long before this change.

4 of them were replaced under warranty over the years. Who knows. Maybe one or more of those are affected?

And then just three months ago, I added 4 new ones to the pool to bring the total up to 16. These 4 new ones I suspect are more likely to be affected. But none of them match the product codes in WD's list. All 16 of mine are WD40EFRX drives.

(Six of them, presumingly the two newest warranty replacements and the 4 new drives are WD40EFRX-68N32N0. The remaining 10 drives are WD40EFRX-68WT0N0)

Considering the ones they list as being affected are WD40EFAX, and assuming they didn't make the change without changing the top level product code, does this mean all of mine are good?

Nice gesture WD, but still not transparent enough.

At least these drives are all in my remote backup server, so the extent of their activity is seeing one write dump a night at 3am, at WAN speeds (which is 100Mbit remotely) so the load is low, which is less likely to result in failure, and the server can lose up to three drives without losing the storage pool, and the content are just backups of what I already have on my local redundant pool, so I think the risk is small. it's just a pain to deal with.
 

erek

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will they set the record straight when it comes to the ASMR recording technologies though?
 

aokman

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Oh gee how nice of them to be transparent for the customers who understand what SMR is. The rest will get shafted who rely in simple marketing which was the whole point of the RED, BLUE, BLACK etc.

WD have lost me indefinately until they clean up their act.
 

c3k

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...and guess who has a frickin' shingled drive enroute from the 'egg?

It's only for my nightly backup, so I'm not sure if it having shingles will be too much of a detriment. Grrr. What a time to bring a diseased component into the build.
 

/dev/null

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https://www.tomshardware.com/news/wd-lists-all-drives-slower-smr-techNOLOGY

"The backlash has been swift, and now WD is striking a conciliatory tone with its customers in an update to its blog. The company also divulged that it is also shipping SMR technology in some of its WD Blue and WD Black hard drives for desktop PCs and laptops. "

Reds 2-6TB, 3.5" Blues 2-6TB, 2.5" Blues 1-2TB, and 1TB Blacks. The model numbers are listed.
Blacks 1TB are ONLY on the 2.5 it seems.
 

xx0xx

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Wow, the fact that their WD Black line would have any SMR drives either is crazy to me, even if limited to 2.5"

Isn't WD Black supposed to be considered their "performance line"? WTH is an SMR drive doing in that mix? :cautious:
 

IdiotInCharge

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It's only for my nightly backup, so I'm not sure if it having shingles will be too much of a detriment. Grrr. What a time to bring a diseased component into the build.
I have four SMR Seagate 8TB drives shucked from USB enclosures in my fileserver in a RAIDZ1 array (RAID5). These things are slower, but for continuous writes like backups, especially to a local drive, they do just fine.

No problems using them with ZFS so far, both in BSD and Linux distros. Biggest issues with SMR seem to be:
  • Don't attach them to a hardware RAID controller
  • Don't try to use them for high IOPS storage, including operating systems
  • Realize that transfer rates are going to be a bit lower than a PMR drive
 

Jim Kim

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Wow, the fact that their WD Black line would have any SMR drives either is crazy to me, even if limited to 2.5"

Isn't WD Black supposed to be considered their "performance line"? WTH is an SMR drive doing in that mix? :cautious:
Yep,
They screwed the pooch by thinking they could swap in a shitty, cheaper, slower write method.
It's nothing more than shareholder greed.
 

1_rick

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Blacks 1TB are ONLY on the 2.5 it seems.
Thanks, original post updated.

ETA: I looked, and the 1TB is the biggest 2.5" WD Black. Maybe they did it on that one to get the larger size and keep the same form factor? (Maybe not--I just looked on Newegg and there's 5TB 2.5" drives. I had no idea.)
 

bigdogchris

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This still isn't a good enough explanation as to what's going on.

"We will update our marketing materials, as well as provide more information about SMR technology, including benchmarks and ideal use cases."

OK, what's the difference in use case with a 6TB WD Red vs an 8TB Red. The 6TB "use case" means SMR is OK but an 8TB "use case" mean SMR is not OK? What logic are they using here?

Use case to me is defined by the branding of the drive, all drives within that family should perform similarly. My logic is you select the brand family based on use case and then choose a capacity for what you need. If you are mixing technologies within a brand family that just makes this a really confusing mess and means use case has nothing to do with it.
 

Halon

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Yep,
They screwed the pooch by thinking they could swap in a shitty, cheaper, slower write method.
It's nothing more than shareholder greed.
I get the desire to pinch pennies. As others have said, dollars per gigabyte is the only advantage hard drives really have over SSDs outside of cold data storage longevity. Wanting to optimize costs for a market where performance is bound to be lower than competing media is not, itself, evil. But that doesn't mean performance is irrelevant. These are unfit for purpose, and I'd expect at least one class action to be filed over it.

The lack of proper disclosure and forthrightness about what's being sold is galling - hell, if I'd realized the 6TB Seagate drive I snagged for my media PC was SMR, I'd have hunted down something else. At least now I know why it's so pokey for sustained writes...
 

1_rick

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Thank you for letting us know how we can do better.
I mean, this line is pure BS. "Thanks for letting us know you'll catch us if we pull a shady trick like this."

For both the reds & blacks, they switched to SMR at different places in the lineup: the reds, the smaller ones, the blacks, the biggest one. Who knows why they picked those points? They'll never tell us. Very annoying.
 

1_rick

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I get the desire to pinch pennies. As others have said, dollars per gigabyte is the only advantage hard drives really have over SSDs outside of cold data storage longevity. Wanting to optimize costs for a market where performance is bound to be lower than competing media is not, itself, evil. But that doesn't mean performance is irrelevant. These are unfit for purpose, and I'd expect at least one class action to be filed over it.

The lack of proper disclosure and forthrightness about what's being sold is galling - hell, if I'd realized the 6TB Seagate drive I snagged for my media PC was SMR, I'd have hunted down something else. At least now I know why it's so pokey for sustained writes...
And had they actually distinguished the drives that were SMR, right off the bat, probably nobody would have cared! Especially if they were a few bucks cheaper. Just put something on the box that says they're most suitable for specific purposes. Heck, they probably would've gotten praise. As it is, it looks like the companies that shrink the size of a package of ice cream and don't say anything. Nobody likes that, either.
 
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xx0xx

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I wish they'd do one of two things, though this doesn't help drives already out in the market:
  1. Stop using SMR. Market yourself as a "premium brand" that only uses higher-performance options. Maybe I'm wrong but I can't see it saving them THAT much money (especially vs. what they may lose in sales and reputation). I get that maybe it's okay in some use cases, but is this technology ever "necessary"? Like floppy drives, can we just leave it behind?
  2. If abandoning SMR is not an option, reorganize their SKUs so that SMR drives are their own line of drives, clearly labeled for only certain use cases. Heck, market it under a different "color" compared to all of their other drives. Introducing WD Orange, our value line of SMR drives... or our "non-RAID archival" line of drives... or... whatever
But these are all pipe dreams. No one would buy the orange drives unless they were a crazy good value. Transparency just isn't a thing with a lot of companies. They will continue to do anything and everything to shave off whatever costs they can, and in many cases, wouldn't dare make it visible to the consumer, and in cases like this- actively hide it. Sigh.
 
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I am going to be purchasing ~20 drives for new office servers the first week of May. I had been planning on them being WD drives, but based on this BS, these will be from another brand.
 

clockdogg

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I am going to be purchasing ~20 drives for new office servers the first week of May. I had been planning on them being WD drives, but based on this BS, these will be from another brand.
Yeah, that'll show 'em! Get your shingles from Seagate.
 

Meeho

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I have four SMR Seagate 8TB drives shucked from USB enclosures in my fileserver in a RAIDZ1 array (RAID5). These things are slower, but for continuous writes like backups, especially to a local drive, they do just fine.

No problems using them with ZFS so far, both in BSD and Linux distros. Biggest issues with SMR seem to be:
  • Don't attach them to a hardware RAID controller
  • Don't try to use them for high IOPS storage, including operating systems
  • Realize that transfer rates are going to be a bit lower than a PMR drive
The problem rears its ugly head when you least want it - during resilvering/rebuilding. That's why you can go on for years thinking it's not a big deal, you don't need the performance, and then suddenly have things go very, very wrong.
 

drescherjm

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The problem rears its ugly head when you least want it - during resilvering/rebuilding. That's why you can go on for years thinking it's not a big deal, you don't need the performance, and then suddenly have things go very, very wrong.
There is a thread on at the development site for openzfs (merged development from ZOL and freeBSD) that shows the new 4TB Reds having serious problems with scrubs.
 

IdiotInCharge

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The problem rears its ugly head when you least want it - during resilvering/rebuilding. That's why you can go on for years thinking it's not a big deal, you don't need the performance, and then suddenly have things go very, very wrong.
Sure; this array is the backup to the main array and is used to hold replaceable data.

There is a thread on at the development site for openzfs (merged development from ZOL and freeBSD) that shows the new 4TB Reds having serious problems with scrubs.
Hadn't had issues with pre-0.80 builds of ZFS, but this hasn't been a high-intensity use case. I knew these were SMR going in.
 

Ranulfo

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I have four SMR Seagate 8TB drives shucked from USB enclosures in my fileserver in a RAIDZ1 array (RAID5). These things are slower, but for continuous writes like backups, especially to a local drive, they do just fine.

No problems using them with ZFS so far, both in BSD and Linux distros. Biggest issues with SMR seem to be:
  • Don't attach them to a hardware RAID controller
  • Don't try to use them for high IOPS storage, including operating systems
  • Realize that transfer rates are going to be a bit lower than a PMR drive
Does that include running them off a lsi card in IT mode?
 

Schro

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Toshiba is also an option and have good NAS drives. They seems to be almost identical to HGST.
That's because WD/HGST was required to license their HDD tech to Toshiba for the anti-monopoly police to allow the merge to happen.
 

kju1

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Well, this is just current shipping models though...

I have 16 4TB WD Reds in my backup server.

There were originally 12. 8 of them are still original from 2014. I presume these were manufactured long before this change.

4 of them were replaced under warranty over the years. Who knows. Maybe one or more of those are affected?

And then just three months ago, I added 4 new ones to the pool to bring the total up to 16. These 4 new ones I suspect are more likely to be affected. But none of them match the product codes in WD's list. All 16 of mine are WD40EFRX drives.

(Six of them, presumingly the two newest warranty replacements and the 4 new drives are WD40EFRX-68N32N0. The remaining 10 drives are WD40EFRX-68WT0N0)

Considering the ones they list as being affected are WD40EFAX, and assuming they didn't make the change without changing the top level product code, does this mean all of mine are good?

Nice gesture WD, but still not transparent enough.

At least these drives are all in my remote backup server, so the extent of their activity is seeing one write dump a night at 3am, at WAN speeds (which is 100Mbit remotely) so the load is low, which is less likely to result in failure, and the server can lose up to three drives without losing the storage pool, and the content are just backups of what I already have on my local redundant pool, so I think the risk is small. it's just a pain to deal with.
Thats a lot of porn to backup ;)

Wow, the fact that their WD Black line would have any SMR drives either is crazy to me, even if limited to 2.5"

Isn't WD Black supposed to be considered their "performance line"? WTH is an SMR drive doing in that mix? :cautious:
Money/Greed/laziness take your pick? I stopped trusting WD when I was getting a tech brief from them about Helium drives (about 2-3 years before they were production ready) and their answer to my question about failure rates on the drive seals was "It will be outside of our warranty period."

Nice way of avoiding the question.
 

Master_shake_

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Uh, WD Bought HGST in 2012.

They continued the branding for a few years, but as of 2018, they don't even sell anything under the HGST brand anymore.

It's pretty much down to WD and Seagate now in the spinner market.
No no no.

WD got the 2.5 division Toshiba got the 3.5 division.

Toshiba drives kick ass.
 

Master_shake_

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Meeho

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Oh, my, that picture sure makes me sad. The same for GPUs, audio cards, motherboards...
 

Zarathustra[H]

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So what about the 3.5" HGST Enterprise drives that WD was selling?

Could it be something like this:

Consumer 3.5 -> Toshiba
Consumer 2.5 -> WD
Enterprise 3.5 -> WD

???

Or were those 3.5" Enterprise HGST drives sold by WD just clever brand engineering?


Side note:

Most of those names bring back memories. Some of them good, many of them not so good. As I recall Connor drives were trash. :p
 
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