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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.