WD introduces 'Red Plus' branding for non-SMR HDDs

Humza

Posts: 666   +159
Staff member
What just happened? Following controversy and multiple lawsuits over selling slower SMR disks under its Red family of NAS drives, Western Digital has announced that it's adding a new 'Red Plus' tier to the series, which will solely be occupied by CMR drives meant for small/medium businesses and ZFS users. Consequently, WD's Red lineup will now be divided into three sub-brands: 'Red' for DMSMR (Shingled) models, 'Red Plus' for CMR-based disks aimed at SMBs, and 'Red Pro' for handling extreme workloads of large enterprises.

Western Digital has been in damage control mode for the past few months after it was found selling slower SMR-based disks under its WD Red lineup of NAS HDDs. The company initially gave a mixed response to the controversy and soon followed up with a complete list of SMR drives sold across its entire HDD portfolio.

It was apparently too little too late as lawsuits started appearing earlier this month, blasting WD for silently selling inferior technology drives, allegedly. Nonetheless, the company has now decided to expand the WD Red family to differentiate models better and help users choose the right disk according to workload and application requirements.

WD's existing SMR-based drives will continue to be sold under the 'Red' sub-branding, which the manufacturer says will be chosen by the majority of NAS owners with lighter small office/home office (SOHO) workloads.

The new 'Red Plus' tier, however, will only comprise of CMR-based drives for users with workload-intensive applications such as RAID resilvering using the ZFS file system. This range will also get more capacities soon, highlighted in red. Meanwhile, the flagship 'Red Pro' lineup meant for large businesses with "the highest-intensity usage" remains unchanged.

WD now officially recommends the Red Pro or Red Plus drives for ZFS and workload-intensive applications, while it's DMSMR drives should suffice for users looking to archive content, maintain home backups, or setup file sharing in the office.

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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,077   +5,437
What a shame they just didn't pick a better way to identify them like "fast, faster, fastest" or words to that effect. Maybe it's just me but WD continues to slip off their #1 standing. Hope they get their act back together and FAST!
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 32   +38
Makes me wonder if the 2 - 4TB Red drives I purchased a couple years back were of the SMR based because I've had a helluva time utilizing RAID 1 on my server...so much in fact that I disabled RAID and simply went to using another program to run backups on the second disk.

Other then that, the disks work great for storage on my Plex server.
 

abysal

Posts: 123   +46
Makes me wonder if the 2 - 4TB Red drives I purchased a couple years back were of the SMR based because I've had a helluva time utilizing RAID 1 on my server...so much in fact that I disabled RAID and simply went to using another program to run backups on the second disk.

Other then that, the disks work great for storage on my Plex server.
I have spare 6TB WD60EFAX SMR drive that I bought back in Dec 2019. Now seeing my current ZFS production ones are CMR, and this new one is SMR... I picked up another WD60EFAX SMR to use both in my QNAP Raid enclosure (TR-002). Unfortunately I couldn't get these SMR drives to work. They would not format, and one would pop-out of the array. So much for WD Red NAS drives.

But I think it's a QNAP compatibility issue, as they work with another Raid enclosure, and the write speeds aren't awful, about 100 - 118 MB/s vs 130 or so for normal 7200rpm drives.
 

Faelan

Posts: 32   +13
I built a NAS about a month ago. My first instinct was to go with WD red since I’ve been using them for years. When I then stumbled across the whole SMR issue, I checked my old drives and they’re thankfully not SMR drives. They’re from before WD decided to screw their customers. Now, I wanted to go with 8TB drives, so it wouldn’t have been an issue since the 8TB Red drives are not SMR, but I decided to go with Seagate Ironwolf drives instead. That’s 15 years of brand loyalty from my side that WD just flushed down the drain.