WD Red Plus Launched with CMR

alex_stief

Active Member
May 31, 2016
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Yeah, I'll need a few years to forget how they handled the whole situation.
How high is the price premium for their "plus" models? It's not like those SMR red drives were particularly cheap.
 

EffrafaxOfWug

Radioactive Member
Feb 12, 2015
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Are times at WD really that bad that they thought stiffing their customers like this was the right way to go? They're on my shit-list for at least five years now, hopefully by which time I'll have been able to afford to migrate completely to flash.

How high is the price premium for their "plus" models? It's not like those SMR red drives were particularly cheap.
Last time I looked at the UK prices (just when the story started breaking), the SMR drives were even priced slightly higher than the CMR drives; once word got out almost all of the EFRX/CMR drives sold out in days. Based on previous shenanigans with the green vs. red and red vs. red pro I'd expect at least a 10% markup on the new CMR drives since WD seemingly have no interest in price drops on the SMR kit.
 

cesmith9999

Well-Known Member
Mar 26, 2013
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My feelings on this are the same when Seagate had the big failures with their 1.5 TB disks. That were confirmed with the Backblaze stats from 10 years ago. it took me about 5 years to even think of buying Seagate again... and seeing the current stats from Backblaze, Seagate drives are not that bad any more.

This feels like our trust as a whole has been broken. It will take a while for that trust to be gained back.

Like @Patrick said. it would have been better for them to make a WD Orange - lite NAS (2 bay) drive with SMR that these fell into rather than try to last minute react to a new false sense of security by putting lipstick on a pig...

Chris
 
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ttabbal

Active Member
Mar 10, 2016
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I think they would be better off killing the brand. I know it would suck for them, but they have tainted it now and people won't trust it. Creating a new, premium version of it that is really just the same thing we always had with a new name and a price increase is even worse!

Ask IBM how negative branding works WD... We still mock the "Deathstar" HDDs. And they don't even make HDDs anymore!

And SMR should be significantly cheaper than CMR as the performance is significantly lower. We pay a premium for NVME for performance. If they can't be cheaper, they have no useful market. For the things I do with HDDs, there are some possible uses for SMR. But if I can get better performing CMR drives for the same money, I don't have to segment my storage again. Keeping the setup simpler is worth something too.
 

Deslok

Well-Known Member
Jul 15, 2015
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What I still fail to figure out, is where the huge advantage for SMR drives is at this point. Assuming the 1.5 capacity increase SMR was supposed to offer we should be seeing 24TB(the largest drive on newegg today is a 16tb nas drive) drives not these 1-4tb capacites(that are just as if not more expensive) we can already reach with CMR in 2.5 inch capacities(at least up to 2tb) no less.
 

PigLover

Moderator
Jan 26, 2011
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WD appears to be doing now what they should have done from the beginning. Clearly disclosing which drives use SMR vs CMR. Clearly stating that SMR drives should be used only in low-demand use cases. Clearly stating that SMR drives should not be used with ZFS ever. Doing a brand segmentation that separates the SMR drives. These are all good things and if they had done them from the day they added SMR to the lineup they would have been just fine, their reputation would be in tact.

BUT...brand recovery after getting caught in a slight of hand takes more than just doing what you should always have done. It starts with a full admission and making restitution to those that they have harmed. It also involves making commitments not to repeat the mistakes that harmed the brand. WD has not really done this - and they continue to act as if there is no issue. This isn't likely to work out well for them...

Also disappointing is how they have positioned their newly segmented product line. WD spent quite a lot of time and energy building the "Red" brand for NAS users. Recycling the "red" name for the SMR drives and creating a new "Red Plus" segment to serve the market that they built around "Red" seems like trying to use that brand equity to sell a product not suitable for that brand. Rather than create "Red Plus" to house the real NAS drives they really should have created a "Red SMR" brand to house the new lower end drives and leave "Red" as it was.

In any case - I see a future Harvard case study on "how to kill a great brand".
 

BoredSysadmin

Active Member
Mar 2, 2019
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WD appears to be doing now what they should have done from the beginning. Clearly disclosing which drives use SMR vs CMR. Clearly stating that SMR drives should be used only in low-demand use cases. Clearly stating that SMR drives should not be used with ZFS ever. Doing a brand segmentation that separates the SMR drives. These are all good things and if they had done them from the day they added SMR to the lineup they would have been just fine, their reputation would be in tact.

BUT...brand recovery after getting caught in a slight of hand takes more than just doing what you should always have done. It starts with a full admission and making restitution to those that they have harmed. It also involves making commitments not to repeat the mistakes that harmed the brand. WD has not really done this - and they continue to act as if there is no issue. This isn't likely to work out well for them...

Also disappointing is how they have positioned their newly segmented product line. WD spent quite a lot of time and energy building the "Red" brand for NAS users. Recycling the "red" name for the SMR drives and creating a new "Red Plus" segment to serve the market that they built around "Red" seems like trying to use that brand equity to sell a product not suitable for that brand. Rather than create "Red Plus" to house the real NAS drives they really should have created a "Red SMR" brand to house the new lower end drives and leave "Red" as it was.

In any case - I see a future Harvard case study on "how to kill a great brand".
One might say that WD's most recent product positioning marketing efforts regarding the Red products line are as useful putting lipstick on a pig as far as brand recovery goes.;)
 

MiniKnight

Well-Known Member
Mar 30, 2012
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NYC
I'm sure they're not happy with you @Patrick but what you're pointing out is spot on. If they made a new line to denote SMR instead of using Red classic that would help in the future. Using the same is screwing over people who don't know better.
 

T_Minus

Build. Break. Fix. Repeat
Feb 15, 2015
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Is their a part # or serial # lookup to see what drives we may have installed in various places are actually?
I don't see my old 2016-era 5TB on the lists.
 

zir_blazer

Active Member
Dec 5, 2016
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Can someone explain me what is the rationale in that SMR, which is supposed to be slow but high density, is used for the bottom of the barrel low capacity HD models instead of for the high capacity archive ones? I mean, just see THIS photo: https://www.servethehome.com/what-wd-red-plus-means-for-the-industry/wd-blog-2020-06-23-table/

6 TB SMR models vs 14 TB CMR models? It makes NO SENSE. It should be the other way around. SMR should have been used to introduce slower but higher density HDs at competitive prices where the GB/U$D ratio outmaneuvered SSDs performance and latency advantages. Instead, they used SMR to just drop costs with absolutely no advantage for the consumer. Was WD so ridiculous autodestructive that instead of attemping to give more incentives to keep buying HDs, they instead gives an ethical pretext to go buy more expensive SSDs just so that I can raise them the middle finger?

I was never fond of WD to begin with. Actually, I hate them since the plant flooding incident in 2011, as it gave both WD, the other HD manufacturers, the middlemans, and why not, the entire HD market, the excuse to spike the HD prices threefold, reduce the warranties and overall HD quality control and reliability. Just the very next year, WD buyed HGST and Seagate did the same with Samsung HD division, with the global HD industry becoming a duopoly, then both posted record profits. Gonna love how the markets and speculation works, right? In the face of something that should be a sad catastrophe with no winners, they just came out stronger. I recall a similar incident with DRAM prices with the Hynix plant fire...
Now I just want to see these corporations with excessive greediness to burn themselves to the ground, albeit there is no guarantee than the next ones that will occupy their spots do better than them. At least I want new names to hate instead of always the same ones. And yes, I'm always angry and I always rant.
 

EffrafaxOfWug

Radioactive Member
Feb 12, 2015
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It doesn't really make any sense, no.

The closest thing I can think of, when trying on a beancounter hat instead of a technical hat, is that I suspect the lower-capacity drives have both lower sales and lower margins, so when SMR hove in to view and promised to save $£€0.02 on the BoM of the drives, some clueless middle manager gave it the green light. The writing's been on the wall for "small" capacity HDDs for some time now, being replaced in almost all new deployments by SSDs, and even large capacity HDDs have seen a serious decline in sales over the last decade so I suspect it was just seen as a way to make drives cheaper whilst offering the "same" performance/capacity.

I suspect there would have been plenty of techies in WD saying that it would tank their reputation when it was found out, as I believe it's already been established that WD knew about the performance problems before this whole thing blew up in their faces.

I wouldn't worry about being angry - I am, and I probably had a higher opinion of WD than you did prior to this. Sure, I was disappointed with green drives being nerfed (no TLER and the aggressive head-parking issue) but I considered the reds an acceptable compromise. Nuking the reds has been the final straw for me though (and I'm not even a ZFS user) so I'll be sticking with Toshiba's until they either go to the wall as well or I can afford SSDs for everything.