Beware of Shingled media recording (SMR) disk drives

jack_christie

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Sometimes not labeled clearly.

SMR drives


Shingled media recording (SMR) disk drives take advantage of disk write tracks being wider than read tracks to partially overlap write tracks and so enable more tracks to be written to a disk platter. This means more data can be stored on a shingled disk than an ordinary drive.


However, SMR drives are not intended for random write IO use cases because the write performance is much slower than with a non-SMR drive. Therefore they are not recommended for NAS use cases featuring significant random write workloads.
https://blocksandfiles.com/2020/04/14/wd-red-nas-drives-shingled-magnetic-recording/

https://www.reddit.com/r/DataHoarder/comments/g455zk
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/06/09/hgst_packs_shingles_to_make_10tb_drive/
 

Redliner

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It's been a while since I last read an article and had NO IDEA what the fuck was going on.
 

Matt2000

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Will keep an eye on this when I come to buying new disks for my server, currently have older WD Red. I could imagine these for WD Green or Purple but it doesn't seem right for Red. :hmm:
 

leviathan

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Well, this is well-timed... I was just thinking of upgrading my 2-bay NAS to a 4-bay by adding two more 4 TB WD Reds and switching to RAID5. Checked the exact model numbers: both of mine are WD40EFRX, which should be the previous (non-SMR) generation, the new SMR ones being WD**EFAX. This means I either look for another pair of exact same previous-gen drives, or just swap them for larger (6 or 8 TB) non-SMR units and maybe even keep the enclosure the way it is for a while longer... decisions, decisions.
 

argatoga

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Matt2000

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Seagate has said none of their Ironwolf drives use SMR, so I might look into that when the next drive dies.
Now there's something that I never thought I'd hear any time soon, I still avoid Seagate like the plague they always have been and we're still chasing their dying Barracuda disks at work. Admittedly their Ironwold drives should be damn good.

Red Pros do seem to be a good step up from regular Red, maybe I'll bite the bullet and get those next time. Just got a 2 camera CCTV system in and I bought it with a 1TB disk before checking the prices for diskless systems, I could've actually saved money by buying diskless and putting a 1TB WD Purple in, kicking myself a bit now but hopefully the presumably Chinese disk inside doesn't shit the bed on me too soon...
 

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I'm looking for a new disk to go in my server so this has become relevant again. WD now have the WD Red Plus as CMR disks, quite hard to find it seems and you pay a premium.

wd-red-family.png


I'm tempted to go for WD Gold but they are known to be loud, this wouldn't bother me if the server had a home out of the way but it sits on the floor next to me and that noise could get irritating. An 8TB WD Gold is currently the same price as the 6TB Red Plus listed above though and the performance is much better. Annoying.

I currently have one Toshiba N300 8TB as a backup disk and am just about to order another, maybe I should just put these in the server? They are rather loud but they are 7200rpm and are cheaper than the WD Gold.
 
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argatoga

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What is your setup? If you just want a back up disk (no RAID) then SMR isn't an issue.
 

Matt2000

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What is your setup? If you just want a back up disk (no RAID) then SMR isn't an issue.
MS storage space, configured as parity with SSD and HDD tiers (2x128GB SSDs, 6x3TB WD Red).

No hardware RAID because I like the extra expansion options and have multiple controllers installed. The write speed suffers with this config and the 5400rpm disks as it is, I wouldn't want to add disks that slow down the write performance even more. It would be nice to add a 7200rpm or two to bring it up a bit as well as providing more capacity.

I have a 5.25" SATA bay above an LTO4 drive for direct backup to HDDs. The new N300 has 256MB cache as opposed to the older one I have with 128MB, very impressive performance at around 200MB/s when I was writing 5TB of data to it. Louder than the WD Reds which are almost silent.
 
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