Western Digital Rebrands non-SMR HDDs as ‘Red Plus’


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Western Digital has been in hot water for months over its are trying to promote SMR exhausting drives into the WD Crimson product family. Crimson drives are explicitly intended for NAS (Network Hooked up Storage) gadgets, and as we’ve viewed in numerous investigations, SMR drives from WD bear not continually plot adequately in that role.

Western Digital’s resolution to the sigh is to make a new tier of merchandise, dubbed “Crimson Plus.” Going forward, WD Crimson will be a 3-tiered system. All SMR exhausting drives will be sold as ‘Crimson,’, while the CMR drives that beforehand populated the Crimson family will be rebranded as “Crimson Plus.” The Crimson Skilled family will not trade.

For my section, I’d’ve preferred maintaining CMR (Archaic Magnetic Recording) drives as ‘Crimson’ and labeling the new SMR drives something else, however WD desires to take care of the fiction that it hasn’t lawful bait-and-switched the total Crimson product family by dumping the onus to search out out about the adaptation by itself customer nasty. Possibilities who currently dangle CMR WD Crimson drives will ought to intuit the ought to change them with Crimson Plus drives when the existing gadgets fail.

In response to WD’s blog post on the subject, the force-managed SMR drives it sells are intended for NAS gadgets with very low overall throughput and a massive deal of inactive time to plot background processing. Background processing is how SMR drives protect acceptable performance while transferring data in programmed be taught/erase cycles, not not like those light by SSDs. For extra details on how SMR drives work, please gape our outdated protection here and here.

Western Digital states this sigh occurred because “The explosion of data viewed at the original time has spawned a spectrum of NAS uses cases, in addition as increasingly nerve-racking purposes.” I don’t salvage this to be an acceptable or credible explanation, and I don’t comprise you can maybe presumably composed both. The problem I in fact own with WD’s statements on this subject is unassuming: It’s literally the manufacturers’ job to guarantee that its motive-marketed exhausting drives plot excellently in the hardware it’s miles meant to characteristic in. ZFS not taking half in positive with SMR is very remarkable a identified sigh. It lawful (one map or the other) wasn’t identified to WD.

WD claims to plot extensive validation attempting out on varied NAS arrays, which makes it sound love ZFS configurations can own lawful fallen thru the cracks. However this extra or less early overview is exactly what WD is predicted to plot, and data from iX Systems — a dealer WD particularly references working with on its blog — presentations that WD didn’t plot that validation process as it will possible be. From iX Systems:

On the least one in every of the WD Crimson DM-SMR gadgets (the 4TB WD40EFAX with firmware rev 82.00A82) does own a ZFS compatibility subject which may maybe well motive it to enter a spoiled affirm below heavy write loads, including resilvering…

In the spoiled affirm, the WD Crimson DM-SMR force returns IDNF errors, becomes unusable, and is handled as a force failure by ZFS. On this affirm, data on that force may maybe maybe even be misplaced. Info inner a vdev or pool may maybe maybe even be misplaced if multiple drives fail.

WD has been transport these exhausting drives since uninteresting 2018. Complaints had been stacking up the total time. What WD appears to own performed is to rob prospects would magically know that their force-managed SMR implementation had concerns with ZFS. There used to be no prominent marketing subject topic or steering published by the firm to manual americans a long way from SMR drives and in direction of CMR if they intended to make exercise of ZFS, not not up to not till now. There used to be no instruct data on the dramatic performance disagreement that may maybe maybe arise between SMR and CMR HDDs, as proven by ServeTheHome:


Image by ServeTheHome

WD claims to be listening, however states, in the very subsequent paragraph: “The DMSMR drives met all of our test requirements.”

The fully thing that advise tells us is that WD’s test requirements aren’t thorough ample. Telling me “these drives meet test requirements” when the drives are failing in discontinue-user deployments isn’t a protection, it’s an indictment. It desires to be renowned that this subject has been assumed to have an effect on all SMR drives in sure NAS arrays. WD is the fully firm promoting SMR drives into these systems, however the firmware factors iX Systems raises map that some concerns may maybe maybe maybe theoretically be prompted by (or improved by) firmware updates. This appears to be a advanced ask, on the different hand, and the vital map SMR drives plot write operations map they’ll’t match CMR force performance in sure projects. Firmware may maybe maybe maybe give a grab to things, however fully to a definite level.

I don’t disagree with Western Digital’s philosophize that SMR drives can cope with some stage of NAS workloads and configurations, however this sigh may maybe maybe maybe composed never own took space in the first space. Whenever you happen to notion to make exercise of ZFS, you’ll are desirous to steal Crimson Plus or Crimson Skilled drives — and even exhausting drives from a definite dealer altogether.

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