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    I need a bunch of new drives for my Zpool. They’re essentially telling me to buy expensive, power-hungry wd red pro or to go screw myself. The worst about this is that these SMRs aren’t even new drives; they actually pulled a bait and switch. Same marketing names, slightly different model IDs, nobody’d suspect the quality of the drives actually degraded, until a drive in their array dies, they replace it and all of a sudden the new drives do not stick to the array, more drives fail and the array dies with its data. Not fun.

    Every step they take to try and damage control is another PR disaster. Instead of making an effort to document which drives do use SMR, they continue to stir the cauldron and enrage their clients.

    This is destroying decades of built trust. Once lost, trust is really hard to recover. I sure do hope this affects their bottomline. They do deserve the pain. They need to remember what a disaster this was, so that the next time they come up with such an anti-consumer tactic they do think twice before going ahead with it.

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      I agree, they keep shooting themselves in the foot with the awful lawyer written PR nonsense.

      As for practical advice, buy 10TB or higher drives, they supposedly don’t have SMR. I just bought 3 10TB EasyStores to shuck and build a RAIDz myself, and have been getting good performance out of them.

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        The 20TB drives coming out use SMR, so buyer beware. At least WD are upfront on what tech these particular drives use.

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      As a long-time user of WD drives, I’m extremely disappointed by this. My next drives will probably not be WD, as they have proven their products cannot be trusted to perform as advertised.

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        Toshiba and Seagate are doing the same thing. What other options do consumers have? Honest question, it’s not clear to me how I would avoid this SMR mess.


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          I’m not even mad about SMR itself, just that the company wasn’t upfront that it was being used. The response here is extremely poor, and I would not be surprised if the whole scenario results in a class-action lawsuit.

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            I hope it does result in a class-action lawsuit. Maybe, just maybe, then WD and other drive manufacturers would take notice and stop doing this crap without informing customers upfront.

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              This smells like a class action suit in the making. I agree. Their PR is so tonedeaf that you’d think a lawyer wrote it.

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            Yes, but is Toshiba’s or Seagate’s “SMR translation layer” potentially as buggy as this Western Digital implementation seems to be? I don’t even think SMR is to blame based on the follow-up on blocks and files posted here.

            EDIT: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/04/seagate-says-network-attached-storage-and-smr-dont-mix/ <– seems like Seagate is not trying to do the same thing as WD in terms of their NAS offerings.

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              Does HGST use it too?

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                HGST does not exist as a separate company anymore. AFAIK there is only WD, Seagate and Toshiba left and they all have some disks in their portfolio where they hide the fact that they are SMR.

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                  If you are encountering performance that is not what you expected, please consider our products designed for intensive workloads. These may include our WD Red Pro or WD Gold drives, or perhaps an Ultrastar drive

                  Ultrastar was an HGST brand, right?

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                    IIRC yes. Everything ending in *star used to be HGST.

                    According to the Wikipedia article[0], HGST was bought by WD in 2015 and died as a brand in 2018.

                    [0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HGST

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                  WD owns HGST, so I believe the answer is yes. I don’t know for sure though.

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              sorry folks but can someone explain to me why SMR is bad, please? I’m not arguing, I know nothing about this and I am curious.

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                SMR is not bad per se, it’s actually pretty cool technology (higher density, cheaper drives, …) - if the drive allows the operating system to manage the SMR data. For example, it’s generally not an issue if a drive in a ZFS pool is not available temporarily for some planned maintenance operation.

                However, the WD drives here pretend to be normal CMR drives, so there’s no way to manage SMR regions from the OS and you end up with very surprising performance (slow writes and long pauses).

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                  blocksandfiles.com is one of the websites that AFAICT looked into the issue, they have an article explaining it in detail [0]. TL;DR from memory: While the drives are busy reorganizing the data internally, the performance will obviously drop and they might not report back for more than a minute which will cause them to be dropped from RAIDs.

                  [0] https://blocksandfiles.com/2020/04/15/shingled-drives-have-non-shingled-zones-for-caching-writes/

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                    Thanks a ton.

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                  Stupid question - I have some understanding of what the issue is here, but do the SMR drives fail to perform within the WD Red drives advertised specifications?

                  Trying to understand if this is WD failing to signpost a business decision or out and out failure to sell merchantable hardware.