Western Digital Comes Clean, Shares Which Hard Drives Use SMR

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Previous week, information broke that Western Digital, Samsung, and Toshiba ended up all delivery challenging drives that applied Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) technologies in specified item traces with no informing shoppers they ended up executing so. This has come to be a difficulty for some WD Red shoppers who deployed the drives in a NAS or desktop RAID array — after a drive failure, a RAID controller may refuse to maintenance the array if an SMR drive is swapped in to change a CMR design and style. Readers have claimed identical concerns since we printed our past write-up.

The motive SMR is deemed inferior to CMR for many applications is simply because SMR drives location tracks much more closely alongside one another than their CMR counterparts. This does not impact go through speed, but it has a major impact on publish. In purchase to publish to a person monitor, the HDD has to carry out an operation equivalent to a software/erase cycle on an SSD. This can take a appreciably for a longer time interval of time than a typical HDD (which isn’t specifically quick) and it hits the functionality of these drives challenging in publish-heavy workloads.

Western Digital’s blog publish is a extended write-up extolling the benefits of SMR and failing to mention that shoppers are factually acquiring RAID failures when they change a CMR drive with an SMR drive Western Digital offered them as an satisfactory replacement for this goal. It’s basically worthless, preserve for supplying you a list of drives to stay away from if you do not want to deal with this headache.

To be obvious, SMR drives factually get the job done in modern-day methods, and they get the job done just good if you never program to publish significantly details. A one exterior backup drive staying SMR versus CMR is no massive deal, but which is not the only location WD sells them.

Marketing an SMR drive in the WD Black line is an insult to the item. When Western Digital produced its first colour-dependent branding, WD Black challenging drives ended up supposed to sit at the top rated of the stack, surpassed only by the Velociraptor family. Placing an SMR item in that stack is Western Digital’s way of quietly acknowledging that challenging drive functionality is a useless letter category since SSDs grew to become prevalent. The WD10SPX is the only offender in this category, the WD5000PLX, 3200LPLX, and 2500LPLX are apparently unaffected.

I’m not opposed to SMR drives. They improve capability, can lessen electric power use, and offer you a larger sized capability in the same number of platters. The functionality tradeoff is value it in specified markets and irrelevant in others. No argument. But these pieces didn’t just magically show up in WD’s item traces in the initially location. A determination was produced to swap a person technologies for yet another, and a determination was produced not to inform customers about the modify. At least in the situation of the WD Red family, there’s evidence all those improvements weren’t evaluated as closely as they should really have been.

We are glad to see Western Digital has selected to be sincere about its item shipments. It demands to keep on to update these charts as it introduces new products to allow shoppers know what they’ll be shopping for if they select an SMR drive. Using SMR as a substitute of CMR is good. Not telling people today about the variance isn’t.

Previous week, I explained I would not advise a challenging drive from any seller until eventually firms ended up much more transparent about their item mixes. So extended as Western Digital continues to advise shoppers where by SMR drives are and are not staying applied, I have no difficulty recommending products from the firm.

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