Lack of SMR disclosures in the HDD business

Posted by Paul Braren on Apr 29 2020 (updated on May 28 2020) in
  • NAS
  • Storage
  • TinkerTry makes no claims to be a news site, but I do write a bit about topics that affect home lab enthusiasts including storage, with spinning drives for things like backups certainly a recurring theme here.

    So much of YouTube has a whole lot of flashy thumbnails these days intended to draw your eyeballs in, hoping you'll thumbs-up and subscribe, helping the algorithm to move the flashiest videos above the noise. Such clips tend to be an ephemeral, a long-form tweet of sorts, spreading quickly like a virus wildfire, but forgotten just as fast.


    Then there's videos that stand out for the words, leaving an indelible impression, a just reward for enjoying good old-fashion journalism. That's right, the power of words. Pure, logical, with the passion toned down just the right amount to get through to IT Professionals and tech enthusiasts effectively, without the overblown hyperbole.

    I cannot possibly explain this whole hard disk drive Shingled Magnetic Recording issue any better than Patrick Kennedy and Chris Mellor already have.

    First, have a careful watch, listen, then ponder what Patrick has said here, and how he went about saying it.

    ServeTheHomeVideo - Apr 26 2020 - Why We Need SMR Listed in Hard Drive Specs
    ServeTheHomeVideo - May 28 2020 - Testing WD Red 4TB SMR vs CMR HDDs in a ZFS NAS Array - Skip SMR

    So,, it seems the more economical drives are being marketed selectively, targeting the most vulnerable buyers, those most likely to bump into trouble when their simple NAS ejects a lower-performing drive from their set-it-and-forget-it array. A drive listed as for use in a NAS, mind you. Seriously?

    Now that you've watched, there's also the article version of what you just watched. It's such a gem of craftsmanship, notice the careful balance of:

    1. Wisdom - Patrick has clearly earned his stripes, in the heart of Silicon Valley.
    2. Grace - He chose to take the high road, while still acknowledging something fishy seems to have gone down here.
    3. Reason - Carefully laid down arguments, supporting statements, powerful conclusions, and a call to action.

    • Surreptitiously Swapping SMR into Hard Drive Lines Must Stop
      Apr 26 2020 by Patrick Kennedy at STH

      You can read the full statement here. One very strange note on this one is that it is authored “by Western Digital.” That is a bit surprising as that kind of customer care statement would normally have an executive sponsor attached. This is the official company position, however, no executive seemed to want to take ownership of it which seemed a bit strange.

    See also Chris Mellor's article that started it all, followed by a long list of articles that seem to indicate some progress already!



    There's a podcast about storage that I've listened to for years, see Chris Evans and Martin Glassborow on the excellent Storage Unpacked podcast, with Chris Mellor making many appearances.

    Apr 30 2020 Update

    Appended Storage Unpacked to the article above.

    See also at TinkerTry

    All articles about Storage.


    See also

    Progress already? Have a look at these recent article:






    This is a unique piece with a fun visual on how SMR drives work, followed by some IBM Server hardware with lots of spinning drives in action.

    My PlayHouse - Oct 01 2019 - Host-Managed Shingled Magnetic Recording {SMR} Drives - 880