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WD Red SMR Drive Compatibility with ZFS

AlexGG

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Joined
Dec 13, 2018
Messages
42
I have to agree with @Yorick as I too doubt the EFRX model has an SMR variant. It's okay to be a bit paranoid but don't let it take over you life.
But this particular pair does produce IDNFs when under load, and nothing else. Which seems to be a recurring theme here. I'm sure it is possible, but how does one go about producing and IDNF by using a broken cable? Would be surprising, say, to discover these two drives are TRIM-capable.
 

Constantin

Vampire Pig
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May 19, 2017
Messages
894
Other factors could be at play such as heat. Under load, what is the drive temperature?

does swapping drive cables make any difference?

Also, have you ensured that the power supply has enough capacity to handle all the drives and the remaining load?
 

rogerh

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Apr 18, 2014
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Other factors could be at play such as heat. Under load, what is the drive temperature?

does swapping drive cables make any difference?

Also, have you ensured that the power supply has enough capacity to handle all the drives and the remaining load?
Not relevant to this thread. But I agree other causes are more likely.
 

Arwen

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May 17, 2014
Messages
1,191
Some commented on my post. So, clarification:
  • I am happy with my SEAGATE SMR drive, as a SINGLE drive pool for off-line backups
  • My previous post was not to approve SMR drives for NAS use, just to show SMR has it's uses
  • Western Digital Reds are now off my potential purchase list. I will probably give Seagate Iron Wolf a try in my next NAS
  • Any mitigations that I suggested were for non-NAS use. Their are too many issues with SMR & NAS
  • The firmware problem where WD Red SMRs returns IDNF, (Sector not found), is a purely software mistake on WD's side.
For the last, ZFS should, (like any other software), get a valid response because a normal drive would return what ever was on that sector. (Or simply zeros, if not written.) This is telling because the firmware in my Seagate Archive / SMR drive does not make the same mistake.
 

zedfive

Neophyte
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Aug 12, 2020
Messages
8
Did they agree to replace all the EFAX drives, even though they aren't new any more? I can see I might have to get in touch with them :smile: Got 4 from around december '19
Independent of the SMR issue, I registered a new drive bought in Germany on the WD support site and it shows up, that the waranty time is 3 years. (Note that may be only true in the EU)

Regarding the SMR drives to be changed, they agreed to exchange all three and I've got a RMA to send the first one to them.
... the whole procedure anyway is a pain in the a* anyway - resilvering, wiping the old drive, packaging, sending and all that three times...
Anyway WD seems to do best as they can in this situation.
 

Constantin

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May 19, 2017
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894
Anyway WD seems to do best as they can in this situation.
Allow me to strongly disagree.

The best they can would include the following:
  • Public apology
  • Pro-active offer to replace all Red SMR drives for CMR-versions with the same or better warranty
  • Free cross-shipment of replacement drives - CMR comes to customer first, SMRs then get shipped back to WD
  • Firm commitment to disclose to all customers re: what technology resides in their drives. Not under NDA, but posted publicly.
  • Removal of all DM-SMR drives from the NAS line since WD staff have acknowledged that DM-SMR has no business in NAS applications.
Want to create an "archive" line of SMR drives with longer MBTFs, like the Red line? Go head and make one... competitors have the purple line for that purpose, for example (Video surveillance Archive).

...but do not
  • ... start shipping SMR lines into existing Red NAS sales channels without giving everyone a big heads-up.
  • ... delay acknowledging what's going on as long as possible
  • ... only start acknowledging what's going on when large websites like STH, ArsTechnica, etc. start publicizing the issue
  • ... then only allow customers on a per-call basis to maybe get their SMR drives replaced
  • ... continue shipping DMSMR drives that are fundamentally unsuited for NAS applications into the NAS channel.
  • .... etc.
WD is doing the bare minimum other than allowing CMR-SMR drive replacements on a one-off basis. That's likely driven by the class-action lawsuit they've been slapped with - i.e. they'll claim that there is minimal harm, no customer standing re: damages because any customer who cares about this issue can, eventually, get a replacement. That in turn may get them off with a smaller fine.

However, the customer has to notice, diagnose the issue, know what's going on. Many customers cannot be bothered to know the most minute differences between NAS and consumer-grade drives. Marketing allegedly makes it easy to tell the difference and the prices for "NAS-grade" drives are certainly significantly higher. Combine that with the intermittent nature of DM-SMR drive performance issues in a NAS application and the customer may believe that some other component is causing the issue (at least in NAS systems that are lightly-used).

So, many customers will learn to live with a intermittent NAS just as consumers learned to live with faulty-GM ignition switches, Takada Airbags, or any number of other defective products - dangerously. Quantifying the resultant damages will be difficult for most consumers since the value of time is pretty arbitrary in a class-action lawsuit.

Coming back to the drives, only host-aware or host-managed SMR drives are potentially suitable for NAS applications, and those are only sold on a B2B basis. So the very drives that *might* - with a lot of work by the likes of iXsystems and the rest of the ZFS development team - be made to play nice with NAS systems are not available to consumers while the DM-SMR drives that everyone acknowledges as unsuitable for NAS applications are.

Sorry, WD is sending mixed messages here. If they didn't want to play consumers for suckers, WD would stop shipping / marketing / etc. "Red" DM-SMR drives for NAS applications.
 
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joeschmuck

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But this particular pair does produce IDNFs when under load, and nothing else. Which seems to be a recurring theme here. I'm sure it is possible, but how does one go about producing and IDNF by using a broken cable? Would be surprising, say, to discover these two drives are TRIM-capable.
IDNF- Sector ID Not Found . If the sector that holds this information is corrupt there is no way for the hard drive to locate this sector and it will return the result IDNF.

I doubt a broken cable would cause this type of failure but my doubt doesn't make it true, but the failure alone does not indicate you have an SMR drive. You may have other factors causing this failure but I do think it's the drive at fault. You shold open up another thread to troubleshoot this problem, post the output of smartctl -x /dev/xxx to the thread and of course list your entire system makeup. Don't assume we know anything and give us information.
 

rogerh

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Apr 18, 2014
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You shold open up another thread to troubleshoot this problem, post the output of smartctl -x /dev/xxx to the thread and of course list your entire system makeup. Don't assume we know anything and give us information.
Then I'd have to confess the drives were used by ZoL. Anyway I am reassured about SMR, if not about WD's competence. We really should keep my problem off this thread.
 

Z300M

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Sep 9, 2011
Messages
881
Not sure what you mean, but non of the 3 6TB EFAX drives would complete the resilver. the 10TB EFAX(non-smr) completed in normal time, so did the Toshiba N300 6TB drive.

Patterns on the EFAX 6TB was that it started out fast, then after about 70%, it would get slower and slower, adding to the completion esitmate (Started at 3+ hours, died when it said 3+ days). It went to less then 1MB/s close to when in failed and retried.

I will have to keep better track of everything the next time one of the 6TB EFAX drives needs to resilver.
My Seagate 8TB SMR drives have resilvered in about four days -- slow but without problems. Perhaps it's a WD problem rather than an SMR problem.
 

kherr

Junior Member
Joined
May 19, 2020
Messages
17
I used to be 100% WD / HGST ..... not anymore ....... they are on my BAN list. I just bought 12 8TB Exos drives even though WD 8TB's are CMR. Since Seagate doesn't even have SMR NAS rated drives, you don't need a scorecard or read the fine print to see what your buying.

Fool me once ..... shame on you .......... Fool my twice shame on me.

WD ...... just say NO !!
 

c77dk

Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2019
Messages
107
If you have any WD RED SMR - open an RMA case and they'll replace with CMR without problems - have 4x 6TB with UPS scheduled to arrive tomorrow (modelnumber says EFRX). Just pretty annoying having to replace all those drives and (this part they could do a lot better) pay for shipment to WD.

Regarding the warranty I'll return with more info when the drives arrive. First glimpse with the one serial shown on RMA status page doesn't look good, but might just be a placeholder of sorts - otherwise they're trying to go for 6 months warranty - which is way under the original 3 years (my SMRs weren't a year yet)
 

joeschmuck

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otherwise they're trying to go for 6 months warranty - which is way under the original 3 years (my SMRs weren't a year yet)
That isn't normal practice for WD, typically when you RMA a drive they honor the original drive warranty period (the date your original drives would have expired). Hopefully when your drives are in your hands you could verify the warranty, if it's not what you expect then contact WD again and express your issue.
 

Constantin

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With all the stuff that WD has done to marginalize it’s users this year re NAS drives, ie
  • Swapping DMSMR for CMR drives in their Red “NAS” line ( despite their own employees publicly acknowledged DMSMR drives as being fundamentally unsuitable for NAS applications).
  • Trying to mislead concerned customers calling in about drive malfunctions in NAS/DAS, claiming that the underlying drive technology was "proprietary information", covered by NDA, and so on
  • Not acknowledging the CMR/DMSMR switch until multiple prominent web sites raised the alarm (even withholding the information from their B2B customers like iXsystems)
  • Only providing CMR replacement drives if the customer contacts them on the phone, at their convenience
  • Etc.
I have little to no faith that WD will do anything close to ethical by its user community unless it’s court-ordered, ideally with potential jail sentences for the entire c-suite if further non-compliance is detected.

An ambitious DA could likely convince a jury that the managers at WD committed a crime by misrepresenting what they were selling as NAS suitable when it wasn’t, isn’t, and never will be (one reason to keep selling Red DMSMR drives is to put up a defense against that possibility, by pretending that the market accepts DMSMR drives for NAS applications).

Whether or not Red DMSMR drive sales are material is not the question for the DA, however. It’s misleading the consumer base into buying a unsuitable technology that any reasonable consumer would value less than the traditional CMR drives that used to be sold in the "Red" line. Drives unsuitable for NAS applications were misrepresented as suitable to make $$$. Furthermore, WD management knew that the consumer base would not value DMSMR drives as highly as CMR drives for NAS applications.

So, we have motive, intent, etc. Unfortunately, the way the US court system is set up right now, WD will likely pay off the suits without admitting or denying guilt. Meanwhile, I'm amazed that WD drives are allowed to be advertised on this forum; the very entity that harmed iXsystems and its customers is allowed to pretend all is well. A apology banner advertisement would sit a lot better with me.
 
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Constantin

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The best way to strike back at these sort of shenanigans is a labeling requirement on the outside of the box for retail sales and a sticker on the anti static bag for B2B sales.

“Attention: This drive uses Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR), a technology which may result in erratic and / or slow hard drive performance, especially under heavy use.”

If the external box sticker indicates what is inside, it's also that much harder for HDD OEMs to seek rents via uncertainty.
 
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Arwen

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Another way to "strike back" is to "vote with your pocket book".

Since Intel became the World's Leader in CPU Security Flaws, I've purposefully avoided them in the last 2 years. Not that I buy often, but my current desktop is a Ryzen 2400G and my new laptop will have a Ryzen 5 PRO 4650U. It certainly helps that I got more bang for my bucks with Ryzen CPUs than many Intel choices.

So, in the case of Western Digital, they now become the pariah of hard drive makers. (Well, at least to me :smile: It used to be Seagate, either because of the really old spindle lubricant that became glue. Or the more recent 3TB drive life expectancy of less than 1 year :-(. But, see how the worm turns. And now Seagate has some decent choices with their Iron Wolf drives.
 

HoneyBadger

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The best way to strike back at these sort of shenanigans is a labeling requirement on the outside of the box for retail sales and a sticker on the anti static bag for B2B sales.
Just sell them under a different color/branding like, oh, I don't know, WD Brown.
 

Constantin

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Just sell them under a different color/branding like, oh, I don't know, WD Brown.
That wouldn’t get them around the potential lawsuit or government investigation though. At least until those two issues are covered, WD management has to pretend that DMSMR drives are suitable for NAS applications even if they aren’t. So red it is.
 

Evertb1

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May 31, 2016
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559
Another way to "strike back" is to "vote with your pocket book".
That's the only way. I replaced my end of life Reds with IronWolfs. Not that I believe for a moment that Seagate is an altruistic organization, doing nothing but good things for their customers. But at least they deliver only CMR drives for the IronWolf line. The higher rpm I take for granted.
 

joeschmuck

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Just sell them under a different color/branding like, oh, I don't know, WD Brown.
Very funny, brown like a turd :eek:

Another way to "strike back" is to "vote with your pocket book".
Agreed, that is the only thing a person can actually do. When they see sales drop off then they take notice.
 
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