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WD Red SMR Drive Compatibility with ZFS

Western Digital Drives - The Preferred Drives of FreeNAS and TrueNAS CORE

Arwen

Neophyte Sage
Joined
May 17, 2014
Messages
1,191
Just sell them under a different color/branding like, oh, I don't know, WD Brown.
I prefer yellow, as in WD Urine Yellow (so they can't be confused with Gold).

After reading about the RPM discrepancy, I said crap! Oops, I mean WD Brown :smile:.
 

no_connection

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2013
Messages
414
Isn't it funny when a company is trying to talk their way out by "technicality" in the wording rather then admit they ripped off customers.
And then they get defended by arguments like "are you not glad you get a faster drive duh".
 

Constantin

Vampire Pig
Joined
May 19, 2017
Messages
894
Talk their way out? Nah, they denied the issue initially until web sites too big to ignore took the growing firestorm from the forums to the front pages. Props to blocks and files, server-the-home, and ars technica, in that order. If it hadn't been for the friendly, but rather pointed commentary combined with convincing testing at ServeTheHome, I doubt the WD customer base would even get an acknowledgement that the respected Red Line has been sullied with the inclusion of DM-SMR drives.

Don't forget that early inquiries from customers calling WD re: what general write technology was being used in the 2-6TB EFAX line (CMR, SMR, whatever) were told that this information was proprietary. WD knew then and knows now that DM-SMR has no place in a NAS drive experiencing typical NAS loads without massive performance issues, especially during resilvering.
 

no_connection

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2013
Messages
414
I meant the spindle speed, they argued that 5400 was a "speed class" and not actual rpm. And some ppl defend it by saying you got a 7200 drive so you shuold be happy it's faster than 5400 drive.

To the SMR, yes they outright lied to customers.
 

Constantin

Vampire Pig
Joined
May 19, 2017
Messages
894
Yeah, the "class" argument is somewhat hilarious - the customer gets the performance of a 5,400 RPM drive combined with the greater noise, higher heat, and shorter lifetime of a 7,200 RPM drive. Hmmmmmm.... o_O
 

c77dk

Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2019
Messages
107
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)
It was just a placeholder - warranty looks good on them (just received them due to UPS ......)
 

IOSonic

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2020
Messages
12
Hey folks!

I want to let you know WD recently replaced four of my 4TB SMR drives with PMR. I called them, explained the following (politely):
  • I realized the NAS drives I purchased earlier this year were SMR.
  • My drives were in warranty.
  • I run ZFS.
  • I would appreciate an equivalent PMR replacement.
It's my understanding that WD's initial response was a slew of denials, obscurity and all around bad customer service. I believe the increasing threat of class action lawsuits has produced a change of heart. I had four drives. One guy gave me attitude about "so many customers complaining," but I reminded him that he should redirect his frustration at his company decision-makers.

For those of you running this storage at work in an OpenFiler, open ZFS solution, etc. I have no idea how you would fare trying to get replacements for dozens upon dozens of these--even if you should have the masochistic desire to swap all of those out in running, production arrays. Also, shipping was on me in my case, so that could get pricey.

For those of you who would like replacements for a few drives in a home NAS, give them a call. It can't hurt. Give it a try. Also, buy Seagate in the future, as WD has recently taught me. :|

P.S.
[ranton] For the life of me, I will never understand why companies make such dishonest decisions. I wonder whether some ninny of an accountant calculates that they'll come out ahead after the damage to their books and reputation... [/rantoff]
 

hescominsoon

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2016
Messages
300
I had a client that purchased 8 SMR drives. I told him to contact WD and they did the same thing..they replaced the drives as they were under warranty...Good on WD.
 

Constantin

Vampire Pig
Joined
May 19, 2017
Messages
894
Did your client have to pay for the shipping like @IOSonic did? As far as I’m concerned, WD should be paying for shipping in both directions.

They pulled a fast one, a bunch of customers got burned, and if WD was serious about fixing its image, they would be bending over backwards re: replacing the drives for free.

If I were on the clean-up crew, I’d throw in an extended warranty as well, knowing full well that most customers don’t use them anyway.

...but most importantly, I’d stop this dumb-as-rock policy of trying to gaslight customers. Don’t sell drives as something they aren’t. Focus on beating the competition with better drives the way HGST did per the backblaze stats, etc.
 

hescominsoon

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2016
Messages
300
Yep..they did...WD/hitachi has been removed from drive providers for me.
 

Arwen

Neophyte Sage
Joined
May 17, 2014
Messages
1,191
To give another, (but older), example of mass disk change out, here is one from around 2002.

The company I worked for, had a pile of equipment on pallets that was for an outside project. It fell through, (probably due to the .COM bust). So after more than a year, maybe 2, they decided to use it themselves, (it could not be returned). The equipment was lower end Sun Microsystems servers and disk arrays, perfectly fine for misc. use.

After installation we started getting disk failures. Their was perhaps 10 disk arrays, each populated with only 4 disks, (plus 2 OS disks per 10 servers). All the failures were from one brand, a certain 3 letter company that is not Toshiba, Seagate, WD or Hitachi. Any way, poor Sun Microsystems was stuck having to replace the ones from that vendor. They ranted that they wanted to do it one by one, which we said would take forever. (To be fair to Sun Microsystems, they probably did not have that many disks in the local support depot...)

When the 15 or 20 replacement disks arrived, we had a disk change party week. Found that some of the disk arrays had 2 of the "bad" drives, which in a RAID-5 meant 1 disk replacement at a time. And one of my co-workers failed to perform the disk array firmware update, so it's re-sync was snail slow, taking all day. (The re-sync normally took about 4 hours.)

All in all, an annoying time.

What I learned:
  • Engage vendor early
  • Keep records
  • Insist that you get the service you are entitled to
  • Get the service in a timely manor
  • Remind them that it's not my side's fault, nor the person I am speaking to
  • Be polite, but firm
 

HoneyBadger

Mushroom! Mushroom!
Joined
Feb 6, 2014
Messages
2,767
All the failures were from one brand, a certain 3 letter company that is not Toshiba, Seagate, WD or Hitachi.
240px-DeathStar2.jpg
 

Constantin

Vampire Pig
Joined
May 19, 2017
Messages
894
Ah yes, the infamous at&t Death Star. Way back when AT&T didn’t try to monopolize just the telephone business. :tongue:

(Ok, so I know it’s a different company we’re all referring to but that bloom county reference has stuck with me all these years)
 
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IOSonic

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2020
Messages
12
All the failures were from one brand, a certain 3 letter company that is not Toshiba, Seagate, WD or Hitachi.
I can't tell you how much pain and suffering this company has caused me throughout the years. I see their products, I run...
 

zedfive

Neophyte
Joined
Aug 12, 2020
Messages
8
WD Red Plus 6TB is out of stock, which means that actually WD can't replace my last SMR drive :-( which anyway is kind of an odyssey.
 

c77dk

Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2019
Messages
107
WD Red Plus 6TB is out of stock, which means that actually WD can't replace my last SMR drive :-( which anyway is kind of an odyssey.
Do they have an ETA? otherwise try to convince them to send you a 8TB instead. If they can't replace with same size they ought to step up - you can't be held responsible for them not having stock to honor the claims.

I would _love_ to see the faces of the "C" persons when they realize how much this SMR stunt has cost them in replacements and lost future sales. I can't believe it's small sums we're talking about :D
 

HoneyBadger

Mushroom! Mushroom!
Joined
Feb 6, 2014
Messages
2,767
Do they have an ETA? otherwise try to convince them to send you a 8TB instead. If they can't replace with same size they ought to step up - you can't be held responsible for them not having stock to honor the claims.
As long as you ask politely this should be within the realm of possibility.

I would _love_ to see the faces of the "C" persons when they realize how much this SMR stunt has cost them in replacements and lost future sales. I can't believe it's small sums we're talking about :D
Not just the drives themselves, but also the labor, postage, etc - likely why the shipping cost is now being pushed onto clients.

Lost sales in the consumer/prosumer space I expect to be pretty significant as well. I know a few customers have even refused to buy WD SSDs as a "vote with your wallet" protest.
 

Constantin

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Joined
May 19, 2017
Messages
894
As long as the "C-suite" folk are being protected by the board, the likely answer is nothing. I presume the relevant folk hope that this whole thing will blow over, especially in the high-volume, high-capacity, $$$ B2B market. Peons like us are unlikely to upset the apple cart much since the relevant volumes, profit margins, etc. are low and the power of the HDD oligopoly is such that we likely have few alternatives.
 

bollar

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
350
Okay, I wasn't paying attention and I also got bitten by this. What irks me is that I picked the WD60EFAX as an urgent replacement because I remembered this banner which is still on rotation in this forum:

Screen Shot 2020-10-02 at 2.39.05 PM.png


Once I received the second replacement drive, got the same failures as the first replacement and realized the first drive didn't have infant mortality and *then* came back here looking for help did I realize that "The Preferred Drives of FreeNAS and TrueNAS" needs a big asterisk that says "except for the WD Red in this picture."
 
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Constantin

Vampire Pig
Joined
May 19, 2017
Messages
894
I registered the same protest.

I don’t think that ixSystems should enable WD but also understand that we as a user base have to contribute a lot more before ads will go away.
 
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