Western Digital faces class-action suits over SMR hard drives

Hattis & Lukacs, a US law firm specialising in class-action and consumer law, has revealed it has initiated solicitation of plaintiffs for a prospective class-action lawsuit against Western Digital.

According to the firm, WD failed to divulge in its marketing collaterals and product specifications that many of its hard drives use the Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) technology, which has been found to slow down hard drive performance. 

SMR entails overlapping recording tracks on a hard drive in a bid to slash manufacturing costs and ramp up hard drive capacity.

Urging all buyers of the affected products, which includes a range of WD Blue and Black drives, to submit their names, Hattis & Lukacs alleged that the former’s customers have been complaining of “drastically slower write performance and storage failures”, particularly when deployed in RAID configurations. Hattis & Lukacs has earlier won settlements against McAfee and TracFone.

WD apology

It has also emerged that another firm, Top Class Actions, has set in motion a lawsuit against WD in Canada, signalling that the company could potentially face a large number of similar class actions worldwide.

WD, which switched from the standard Conventional Magnetic Recording (CMR) technology to SRM for some of its offerings, has issued an apology to its customers. In a conciliatory move, the company has made public the names of all its hard drives that used SMR without prior disclosure.

The development comes in the wake of recent reports that showed SMR drives clocking slower speeds in executing various workloads, as compared to CMR ones. For instance, it takes between 13 and 16 times longer to execute the rebuild of a failed array for a four-drive RAID array driven by WD Red NAS HDDs with SMR. This shows that SMR drives can render data at risk for far longer than their CMR counterparts, a vital aspect considering that WD markets the WD Red NAS drives for RAID arrays. 

Tom’s Hardware had reached out to WD to inquire about reports that the storage equipment manufacturer was replacing SMR drives with CMR ones for some affected customers, with the company confirming the reports, saying that it responds to “product replacement requests” on a “case-by-case basis”.

In a related development, Toshiba and Seagate, which are also believed to have not disclosed their SMR adoption practices to customers, have now made public a comprehensive list of impacted drives.

Via: TomsHardware

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