Sunday , August 9 2020

According to Seagate, network attached storage and SMR don’t go together

Greg Belloni, Head of Seagate Corporate Communications, contacted us today after we previously reported on SMR hard drives that were unannounced and found in unexpected places.

Belloni confirmed that Seagate uses SMR technology on some desktop hard drives, but stressed that the company did not “infiltrate” SMR hard drives into Network Attached Storage (NAS) channels.

Seagate confirms that we do not use Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) technology in any IronWolf or IronWolf Pro drive designed specifically for NAS solutions. Seagate always recommends using the right drive for the right application.

We spoke extensively with Belloni on the subject. He had no objection to allegations that SMR hard drives appeared unexpectedly in Seagate’s desktop channels, but wanted to clarify that Seagate has no SMR IronWolf or IronWolf Pro drives and has no plans to release them.

Seagate only produces CMR NAS drives. We do not have SMR drives in our IronWolf and IronWolf Pro drives, which are NAS solutions. As Jason mentioned in his email to you, we do not recommend SMR for NAS (…). I was just hoping that we could fix that to make it a bit clearer that Seagate is not producing NAS drives with SMR technology. (…) Seagate always recommends the right drive technology for the right application.

There is some leeway here. When we urged Belloni on SMR drives on the Seagate desktop channel, he told us that Seagate did not feel the need to “break out” on that channel, as the company believes SMR’s low and jerky performance profile is adequate is desktop use.

This sounds almost identical to Western Digital’s justification for surprising NAS users with SMR drives in the red line – a statement that the slower hard drives are “suitable for the application”. Belloni acknowledged the similarity, but repeated Seagate’s position on IronWolf and NAS hard drives – and pointed out that both the Exos and the archive SMR hard drives have always been clearly marked as such.

We don’t agree with Seagate that SMR drives are suitable for desktop builds – or that it’s okay to inject them without the company’s usual warnings about the technology’s performance profile.

With this in mind, we are pleased that Seagate is making serious, record-keeping statements that the entire NAS drive range remains SMR-free.

About Asmaa Sims

Asmaa, who was born and raised in Pakistan, now lives in New York and works in a technology company. He also writes blog articles about technological developments.

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