Western Digital Gets Sued for Shipping Slower, SMR-Based Red NAS Drives without Proper Disclosure

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Image: Western Digital

It appears that Western Digital hasn’t been forgiven yet for its recent hard drive fiasco. Hattis Law has announced that it has filed a lawsuit against the company, which is under fire for shipping Red NAS drives that utilize the slower shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technology.

“Customers are complaining that this switch has resulted in drastically slower write performance and storage failures, especially when used in RAID configurations such as in network attached storage (‘NAS’) devices,” wrote Hattis Law. “This secret downgrade, apparently done to cut costs, is particularly harmful and deceptive because Western Digital advertises and promises that WD Red hard drives are meant for NAS and RAID use.”

Hattis Law should have a pretty good case, being that Western Digital basically admitted to the error back in April on its public blog. “As a team, it was important that we listened carefully and understood your feedback about our WD Red NAS drives, specifically how we communicated which recording technologies are used,” the company wrote. “Your concerns were heard loud and clear.” Western Digital then offered the following table, which clearly shows what technologies each of its hard drive families use.

Server and storage enthusiast site ServeTheHome has published some interesting benchmarks that details just how poorly the SMR-based drives perform compared to their superior CMR/PMR (conventional/perpendicular magnetic recording) counterparts. In a 125 GB file-copy test, the WD40EFAX (SMR) took nearly 10 minutes longer to complete the job than the WD40EFRX (CMR).

Things get even crazier with the RAIDZ resilver test. The SMR drive took a whopping 230 hours to finish the task, while the CMR drive only took 17 hours.

Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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