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Guru

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations


@SamirD wrote:

Servethehome just did a nice article on the SMR drives in a RAID:

https://www.servethehome.com/wd-red-smr-vs-cmr-tested-avoid-red-smr/


Yeah, I caught their youtube video on it: https://youtu.be/8hdJTwaTl8I  Though they tested only with ZFS, I think their results apply to btrfs (and FWIW, to ext).

 

If you do want to use these drives (personally I wouldn't), then you need to be careful to not store files on the NAS while it is rebuilding or resyncing.  That combination is what creates the huge performance hit in write speeds.

 


@SamirD wrote:

 

They also have a table of SMR drives:

https://www.servethehome.com/surreptitiously-swapping-smr-into-hard-drives-must-end/wd-smr-and-cmr-i...

 


That table actually comes from WD, and is available in many other places.  Seagate also has put SMR into many of their desktop (and USB) drives.  One implication is that you should be very careful about using desktop drives in a RAID array (and also very careful on USB drive shucking).

Message 26 of 46
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Prodigy

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations

I remember when drives where more expensive and were made as robust as possible so there was no 'consumer' drive variant.  The reason these problems even exist is because the demand has been trying to put a consumer drive in what is otherwise an enterprise role (storage array).

 

Even the wd red nas drives that every datahoarder falls all over is nothing when compared to the reliability of a true enterprise drive that has design specifications calling for twice the MTBF and even carrying almost twice the warranty.  Yes, it costs nearly twice as much, but then you get what you pay for--consumer drives for cheaper in an enterprise application will have higher failure rates and other issues and that's the cost tradeoff.

 

There was another article done by servethehome on the whole 'shucking' idea that the consumer drive inside was essentially one of the touted 'red' nas drives:

https://www.servethehome.com/wd-wd100emaz-easystore-10tb-external-backup-drive-review/

 

And while many similarities between the drives were found, people's real-world experiences in the comments showed the true nature of these drives:

https://www.servethehome.com/wd-wd100emaz-easystore-10tb-external-backup-drive-review/#comment-46492...

https://www.servethehome.com/wd-wd100emaz-easystore-10tb-external-backup-drive-review/#comment-46504...

 

While it's never a good idea to decieve your customers, it's also never a good idea as a consumer to try to decieve a company.  I'm sure WD has warranteed many shucked drives that otherwise wouldn't have failed in their original intended use.  The street goes both ways.

Message 27 of 46
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Guru

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations


@SamirD wrote:

 

Even the wd red nas drives that every datahoarder falls all over is nothing when compared to the reliability of a true enterprise drive that has design specifications calling for twice the MTBF and even carrying almost twice the warranty. 

I have no issues with people buying enterprise class drives, but I do want to point out that many people don't believe they are worth the extra cost if you are simply looking for more reliability. 

 

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/enterprise-drive-reliability/ is an old post arguing that they are not. However, as the market and technology evolve, that could easily change.

 


@SamirD wrote:

it's also never a good idea as a consumer to try to deceive a company.  I'm sure WD has warranteed many shucked drives that otherwise wouldn't have failed in their original intended use.  


My understanding is that WD can identify the shucked drive by it's serial number (it also is usually labeled differently).  So getting it replaced under warranty would require putting it back into the USB shell in a way that doesn't betray the shucking.

 

That said, I agree with your principle here. 

Message 28 of 46
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Prodigy

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations

The Blackblaze experiment has really chanced from their initial 'consumer only' model.  If you look at the evolution of their storage pods, they keep adding more and more enterprise quality components to improve reliability.  In the end they will realize what enterprise users already know--if you want enterprise quality, use enterprise components.

 

Of course, many silly consumers have taken their data to indicate that enterprise quality is just a marketing trick vs a true specifications difference.  But do this long enough and the truth becomes pretty evident.  There's a reason why enterprise 300GB sas drives that are $10 are still reliable while 300GB sata drives from the same era are dead or doa.  In fact, I have no idea why nas units haven't started incorporating sas controllers as they could use the much more reliable sas drives.  There are no 'consumer' sas drives--it's all enterprise.

 

Someone on reddit pointed out that the serial number on the bare drive and the serial number on the enclosure are the exact same.  Because of this, you can actually send back the bare drive to WD and they replace it with a new one in an enclosure that you then can remove again.  Others have also had their warranty claims denied so the usual ymmv caveats and conditions when trying to build arrays on the cheap.

 

 

 

 

Message 29 of 46
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Master

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations


@SamirD wrote:

In fact, I have no idea why nas units haven't started incorporating sas controllers as they could use the much more reliable sas drives.  There are no 'consumer' sas drives--it's all enterprise.

 

The lack of a full set of SMART parameters for SAS is one big reason, I'm sure.  While enterprises typically run the drives 24/7 and replace them at the end of the warranty period, regardless of current performance, typical NAS users don't.  So full SMART is needed for proper life evaluation.

 

My main NAS is a converted RD5200, so suports SAS (though the drives in it are from my old destop RN512 and EDA500, so are SATA), and I have an external SAS chassis also connected to it that does contain SAS drives.  I do run it 24/7, but still wish I had a better set of SMART parameters.  The performance of the external SAS chassis is equal to the volumes in the main chassis, very unlike external via eSATA port multiplication, so that's another reason to like SAS.  I just wish there wasn't the SMART trade-off.

Message 30 of 46
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Prodigy

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations

I know the server guys I know can pull the smart info off sas drives.  But because sas drives are typically connected to a raid controller, you can't access them directly like sata drives.  Still, with as durable as these drives are, if they're in decent running condition and haven't been reading and writing constantly their entire lifetime, they're usually in terrific shape for the price.

 

Very cool that you have an expansion unit connected to your main nas.  That's another flexibility of sas--tremendous drive volume.  When it comes to real storage arrays, sas is always there.  That's why it dumbfounds me why nas manufacturers haven't incorporated sas into their higher end products.

Message 31 of 46
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Master

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations

My SAS drives are not on a RAID controller.  While they have some SMART data, it is far less than what is available for SATA.  I use HDSentinel to monitor them, I don't rely on the NAS capability (which also isn't available in the GUI for the expansion chassis drives).

 

Netgear did go with a SAS controller for the ReadyData  5200, which is why my converted unit supports them.  The RR4360 also supports them (how else would one control 60 drives?) as did the EDA2000 and EDA4000 expansion units (by necessity).  The RN4200V2 supported SAS in 8 of the 12 bays, but Netgear never really advertised that.  OS4.2.x may have limited that, I never used one without upgrading to OS6, where they are suipported.  They could have easilly used the same hardware as an RD5200 (which already shares 90% with it) and make it support SAS in all bays, but chose not to, likely so as to limit competition with their own ReadyData line.  The ReadyData line has been discontinued, likely due to lack of sales, so that may be a factor in making any decisions.

 

Looking inside an RR2312, it looks like it's SAS.  But I tried a SAS drive and it didn't work.  It may be a BIOS limitation rather than the controller.  I don't recall what lspci told me about the controller(s).

Message 32 of 46
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Prodigy

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations

Since sas requires hardware support, if the drive doesn't fit, I bet it's not the right controller.  I think os4 would support them fine since in dmesg you see the 'Fusion MPT SAS Host Driver' from LSI Logic being loaded.  

Message 33 of 46
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Master

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations


@SamirD wrote:

Since sas requires hardware support, if the drive doesn't fit, I bet it's not the right controller.  I think os4 would support them fine since in dmesg you see the 'Fusion MPT SAS Host Driver' from LSI Logic being loaded.  


RR2312 drive connectors and cabling are identical to SAS, which is why I say it "looks like SAS":  I installed a SAS drive, in one, but the OS didn't see it.  But it may not have an actual SAS controller, the motherboard BIOS may not support them, or OS6 may even have something that blacklists them in that unit (though I doubt the latter). 

 

OS 4 could stll blacklist SAS drives on a unit that needs the SAS controller to access SATA drives on it.  Maybe not even intentionally, but AFAIK, the RN4200V2 was the only unit that shipped with OS4 that had SAS hardware, so they may simply have never implemented it.

Message 34 of 46
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Prodigy

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations

I'm betting the backplane is sas, but it's attached to a sata controller as can be done, so that's why no sas support.

 

I think os4 clearly has sas support, but it needs the hardware.  It would be interesting to take readynas os4 and install it on some non-netgear hardware with an sas controller.

Message 35 of 46
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Master

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations


@SamirD wrote:

  It would be interesting to take readynas os4 and install it on some non-netgear hardware with an sas controller.


Easier said than done.  The hardware configuration is in an encrypted file in flash and the OS will refuse to boot if it doesn't recognize the hardware.

Message 36 of 46
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Prodigy

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations

Okay, so someone has tried it. Smiley Very Happy

 

My Intel units will allow the software to boot on anything so an old lga775 Dell can be converted in to a nas easily supposedly.  I haven't tried it myself yet.

Message 37 of 46
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Apprentice

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations

Late to the table with this discussion, but here goes:
In October 2019, I replaced the 1TB Toshiba drives in my ReadyNAS with Seagate BarraCuda 2TB drives, model ST2000DM008. This model is listed on the ReadyNAS compatibility list.

 

Recently, when replacing a drive in another device, I stumbled on the information about SMR vs. CMR technology. This prompted me to go back and check on the specs for the drives that I'd installed in the ReadyNAS. Indeed, this particular model (ST2000DM008) is listed on Seagate's specs page as using SMR recording. However, in their revisions sheet, this wasn't added until May 2020.

 

I'd be curious to know if this Seagate model was always SMR, and they only fessed up to it in May 2020 by revising the spec sheet and documentation, or if earlier instances of these drives (from October 2019 in my case) used CMR.

 

Anyone?

Model: RN31400|ReadyNAS 300 Series 4- Bay (Diskless)
Message 38 of 46
Highlighted
Prodigy

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations

I bet if you called Seagate and said you had 2x of these drives, one several years older and the new one is taking longer to rebuild a party drive or some other fake plausable scenario, you could trick them into revealing that the older drive was either cmr or smr.

Message 39 of 46
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Aspirant

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations

I am late to this discussion here, but the topic of customers getting screwed by secret SMR garbage drives really has me ticked off.  I used to be a big fan of WD drives, but after they started lying to their customers about this stuff, I would not buy another of their WD-branded pieces of junk even at half price.  SMR drives are a HUGE problem in some applications, so being able to know for sure which drives are junk is kinda important! One thing I have read is that disgustingly long sequential write speed is an indication of SMR junk.

 

I do not know the right answer for all drives, but at least for my NAS, I am now only using Seagate IronWolf drives.  Seagate has publicly stated that none of the IronWolf series of drives will ever be SMR, so I am trusting that statement when buying drives for NAS and DVR use.

 

I doubt that I will ever trust buying a WD branded drive again - they have had their chance, and they proved that they were cheats and liers on this subject.  They only started publishing the truth after they were caught.

 

Message 40 of 46
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Apprentice

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations

Well, I think that none of the major vendors have been forthcoming (until recently) about their SMR drives. According to Seagate, the BarraCuda 2TB drives, four of which are running in my ReadyNAS, have always been SMR. They only acknowledged it with a spec sheet update last April.

 

Here are some useful links provided by Bombich Software (Carbon Copy Cloner for Mac) from the major drive vendors indicating which of their product lines use SMR vs. CMR. Apparently, SMR drives don't (among many other issues) play well with Apple's newer drive layout (APFS).

Seagate

Western Digital

Toshiba

 

 

Model: RN31400|ReadyNAS 300 Series 4- Bay (Diskless)
Message 41 of 46
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Apprentice

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations

I do like the specs in the Seagate Ironwolf drives. The only problem for me would be that they're 5400-5900 until you get to their 8TB capacity. The last time I attempted to add space to my ReadyNAS, I tried using Ironwolf 2TB, and ReadyNAS wasn't at all happy about it because the existing drives were 7200rpm. That's what prompted me to fall back to the 2TB BarraCuda drives that were secretly running SMR.

 

Unless I were to rebuild the RAID from scratch, where I'd replace all four drives at once, then restore from backup, I'd be replacing them one at a time. In that situation, the RPM's must match.

Model: RN31400|ReadyNAS 300 Series 4- Bay (Diskless)
Message 42 of 46
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Prodigy

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations


@Mauser69 wrote:

I am late to this discussion here, but the topic of customers getting screwed by secret SMR garbage drives really has me ticked off.  They only started publishing the truth after they were caught.

 

Today this is considered 'smart business'.  It is exactly what they call it in the third-world as well.

 

Shady business tactics used to be illegal--whatever happened to that?

 


 

Message 43 of 46
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Prodigy

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations

To me, any real nas-capable drive will be 7200rpm because they always have been--the first drives that were used in production raids were 7200rpm, then 10000rpm, and today as high as 15000rpm.  This is still evident today by the fact that no sas drive can be purchased less than 7200rpm.

 

The slower rpms were always for consumer drives or other such rubbish that couldn't take the duty cycles.  Granted, today these drives can also run cooler, use less power, etc, while keeping very nice data transfer rates...if they aren't smr--which is the new game that is being played to undermine the value of these drives as 7200rpm replacments.

 

The problem is the division between consumer and professional drives that started decades ago are now merging again.  And if the drives aren't really that different, the prices shouldn't be either.  Well, the one way to make those prices stay different is to cheapen out the cheap drives again--hence smr.  But I think it's a bit futile as ssd costs are dropping fast enough that by the time smr drives are accepted, they'll also be gone.

Message 44 of 46
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Apprentice

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations

Well, I just replaced all four of the Seagate BarraCuda 2TB drives (SMR) with Western Digital Black (WD2003FZEX) 2TB drives (CMR). I replaced them one at a time, letting the ReadyNAS fully sync before adding the next. I then did a Defrag and Balance. So far, so good. Time Machine backups have sped up considerably. I wish I'd been aware of the SMR/CMR difference when I install the Seagate drives a year ago. Lesson learned. Perhaps Netgear should remove SMR drives from the "Approved Drives" list?

Model: RN31400|ReadyNAS 300 Series 4- Bay (Diskless)
Message 45 of 46
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Prodigy

Re: shingled magnetic recording (SMR) hard drive fiasco - inquiring on recommendations

Good to hear. Smiley Happy I don't really think the vendors can keep up with drive changes. Even synology and qnap's drive lists don't list drives that work correctly, so a lot of it is up to the user unfortunately.

Message 46 of 46
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