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post #1 of 75 Old 01-26-2013, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
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This is not meant to be a RED vs GREEN vs BLUE vs SSD thread so please do not turn it into one.

While doing a custom server build we have run into a potential issue that has been confirmed by Western Digital via a phone call from one of our employees yesterday. Apparently there is a maximum of 5 RED drives allowed at one time when using WD RED drives. We have done extensive testing and were not able to connect more than 5 drives via motherboard. Connect a 6th, 7th or 8th hard drive (Green) and no issues. Connect 8 Green drives and no issues. Connect all the RED drives on other machines (but none with more than 5) and no issues.

I don't know how widely this has been reported but this is potentially a very big problem. We are early into the troubleshooting phase but if anyone has run into this situation or knows how to bypass this I would be grateful for any help. I would think this has something to do with WD's proprietary "NASware" firmware. Also if anyone has had to update firmware, etc please let me know.

Thanks.

Update: I personally just spent 30 minutes on the phone with WD (who were extremely nice and professional btw) who said they are going to have to call me back as they were not sure if this is a known issue and are going to have to escalate my case to find an answer.

http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/library/SpecSheet/ENG/2879-771442.pdf



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post #2 of 75 Old 01-26-2013, 06:37 PM
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I have been progressively updating my 8-bay NAS to WD Red. I don't have more than 5 yet. Please keep us updated.

Does this only apply to motherboard installation? Is it unique to a certain manufacturer of mobo?


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post #3 of 75 Old 01-26-2013, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdanforth View Post

I have been progressively updating my 8-bay NAS to WD Red. I don't have more than 5 yet. Please keep us updated.

Does this only apply to motherboard installation? Is it unique to a certain manufacturer of mobo?

I am not sure which motherboard(s) they were using in the shop. They provided all this information as well as all the serial numbers of all the WD 3TB RED drives to WD when they called yesterday.

I haven't heard back from them yet. They told me they would call tonight. Stay tuned...


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post #4 of 75 Old 01-26-2013, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Just received a call from WD.

So apparently there is a maximum of 5 when used in hardware RAID array.

I am the first person ever to use more than 5 outside of hardware RAID that has ever called WD for this issue. They gave me a case number and have asked me to call back on Monday. I will have our main builder call on Monday for a "Tier 2" level support call.

I did ask them if anyone has called for any reason that had more than 5 RED drives connected via motherboard and he said that he (or others who were helping him troubleshoot this issue) and he said he didn't think so.

So stay tuned.


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post #5 of 75 Old 01-26-2013, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is a screenshot my builder sent me yesterday.

Green Drives:


Red Drives:


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post #6 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 03:31 AM
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i expect to see something wrong in the screenshot. cant pick it out though. can you point it out.

note: the post above is my opinion. as such, when reading any recommendations from me, please do you research and seek out other recommendations and make up your own mind on your next course of action. i mean, most reasonable adults should know that, but it seems this should be stated anyways.
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post #7 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 03:54 AM
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Very interesting, assassin. Do keep us updated. The forums over at ServeTheHome also had a trusted user come up with some more interesting WD Red observations : http://forums.servethehome.com/showthread.php?725-sotech-on-WD-Red-series-drives&p=5384&viewfull=1#post5384 : (which, I have to admit, I haven't been able to reproduce -- But, my WD Reds are used in a media storage NAS, so the stress isn't much).

The reason the supposed 'limitation of 5' isn't widely known is that all the 'qualified' NAS units on the WD Red website use software RAID. Well, looks like those wanting to use hardware RAID are out of luck. I will be following this thread to check up on what WD has to say about this smile.gif

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post #8 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 04:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aliaskary77 View Post

i expect to see something wrong in the screenshot. cant pick it out though. can you point it out.

That 6th red drive won't initialize no matter what he does. He can see it but that's it. Add a green and there is no problem.


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post #9 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 04:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jakmal View Post

Very interesting, assassin. Do keep us updated. The forums over at ServeTheHome also had a trusted user come up with some more interesting WD Red observations : http://forums.servethehome.com/showthread.php?725-sotech-on-WD-Red-series-drives&p=5384&viewfull=1#post5384 : (which, I have to admit, I haven't been able to reproduce -- But, my WD Reds are used in a media storage NAS, so the stress isn't much).

The reason the supposed 'limitation of 5' isn't widely known is that all the 'qualified' NAS units on the WD Red website use software RAID. Well, looks like those wanting to use hardware RAID are out of luck. I will be following this thread to check up on what WD has to say about this smile.gif

Interesting link. If the problem we are facing is indeed true then I think the reason behind this limitation is that wd is possibly trying to protect its enterprise hard drive market.


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post #10 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 06:38 AM
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This is just an odd issue. I never seen such a thing.

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post #11 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Interesting link. If the problem we are facing is indeed true then I think the reason behind this limitation is that wd is possibly trying to protect its enterprise hard drive market.

If that was true I would have thought WD support would have known about that limitation if it was intentional one.

Why frustrated you (or end users) for no reason or not make it public.

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post #12 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by assassin View Post

This is not meant to be a RED vs GREEN vs BLUE vs SSD thread so please do not turn it into one.

How about a Seagate 3TB for the win thread ???

That's how you you win. It's a HDD designed only for winners.

I have 8 installed biggrin.gif without any firmware bugs. They read and write so fast they put a smile on my face and the cost per GB is unbeatable.




Seagate 3TB = WIN.


I read an good online guide about HDD buying recently.

Here is CLIFF NOTES:
Quote:
Step #1: Buy Seagate 3TB HDD's for less $$
Step #2: Enjoy Superior performance.
Step #3: Profit

Optional: Step # 4. Repeat steps 1-3

I have yet to buy a RED drive but my feeling was they are more reliable and a better option with increased performance and reliability over green. Since I have zero now... it's will be a while before I must worry about having more than 5. I'd still buy or try one if the price was right.

But for now... I'd rather win.


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post #13 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

How about a Seagate 3TB for the win thread ???

I'd be careful what you tout as being the panacea.

From the link that jakmal posted from the power user "odditory" which he is currently actually testing (unlike some here who just post gibberish with no actual data or science behind it)...
Quote:
Bottom line, all the data is telling me that Seagate and WDC are very likely both gaming their offerings to fit an agenda rather than bang-for-buck, at least more so than the now deceased competition were doing it. The data is also telling me they seem to each do it in their own way: WDC clocks down their hardware while Seagate clocks down their spec sheets (understating). And then there's the whole conspiracy theory that's sprung up whereby some people feel Seagate intentionally baked excessive load/unload cycling behavior into the firmware on the 1TB/platter models so they die faster. That's also something I've been doing my own testing on since the hysteria usually gets it wrong.r

There seems to be a lot of gaming going on here with the end user and consumer being the loser. So not sure anyone is "winning"


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post #14 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Interesting link. If the problem we are facing is indeed true then I think the reason behind this limitation is that wd is possibly trying to protect its enterprise hard drive market.

That's ****ing b*******.

I have four of the Red 2TB units in my Synology 1812+ 8-bay. The others are 1TB greens that I had leftover from a smaller NAS. I suppose I best be rethinking my strategy!


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post #15 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 02:28 PM
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I suppose this isn't an issue for software RAID solutions? (FlexRAID)
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post #16 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 02:44 PM - Thread Starter
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I suppose this isn't an issue for software RAID solutions? (FlexRAID)

Yes, because to use any software raid you have to first be able to install, recognize and use hard drives in the OS.


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post #17 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

That 6th red drive won't initialize no matter what he does. He can see it but that's it. Add a green and there is no problem.

Will the 6th drive initialize if you took one of the others out, this will rule out a failed drive.

If your shop has an external RAID capable controller (eg Areca or LSI), does this behavior showup either in hardware RAID mode or JBOD mode ?
If it is OK in RAID mode but not in JBOD it could be the motherboard or Windows itself, if neither works there is something strange at work.

I suggest you do this test will the drives laid out flat on a bench to avoid the vibration from one drive coupling to the next.
(I am wondering if the vibration sensors (if any) in the Reds are going off)
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post #18 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tong Chia View Post

Will the 6th drive initialize if you took one of the others out, this will rule out a failed drive.

If your shop has an external RAID capable controller (eg Areca or LSI), does this behavior showup either in hardware RAID mode or JBOD mode ?
If it is OK in RAID mode but not in JBOD it could be the motherboard or Windows itself, if neither works there is something strange at work.

I suggest you do this test will the drives laid out flat on a bench to avoid the vibration from one drive coupling to the next.
(I am wondering if the vibration sensors (if any) in the Reds are going off)

We test all drives that come in and all the drives tested are working without issues when used outside of the 5+ scenario.

The vibration sensor idea is an interesting one. I guess anything is possible.

I forwarded the case number to Mike, our main builder, and he is going to contact them on Monday to troubleshoot. I will keep everyone updated.


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post #19 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by assassin View Post

We test all drives that come in and all the drives tested are working without issues when used outside of the 5+ scenario.

The vibration sensor idea is an interesting one. I guess anything is possible.

I forwarded the case number to Mike, our main builder, and he is going to contact them on Monday to troubleshoot. I will keep everyone updated.

WD could have cranked up the senstivity on the vibration sensors to make sure we can't use more than 5 in one enclosure. This is hinted in their spec sheet.

One way to get around the limitation is to have the drives split into different enclosures with less than 5 drives each as a test, the results will give you more to discuss with WD
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post #20 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 03:39 PM
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I don't get how this could happen

The OS level disk management shouldn't treat HDDs differently, or be able to implement a counter outside the physical number of sata lanes available on the motherboard

Somehow WD sneaked in a Red drive "counter" ???

I would try adding the disk preformatted to GPT with a single file already written to it, but I'm not selling it afterwards so that may not be an option for you smile.gif
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post #21 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't get how this could happen

The OS level disk management shouldn't treat HDDs differently, or be able to implement a counter outside the physical number of sata lanes available on the motherboard

Somehow WD sneaked in a Red drive "counter" ???

I would try adding the disk preformatted to GPT with a single file already written to it, but I'm not selling it afterwards so that may not be an option for you smile.gif

I completely agree. I actually doubted Mike at first until I called WD myself. It just makes no sense to me but something is definitely strange here.

I really hope it is some sort of error on our part.


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post #22 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 04:11 PM
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Yes, because to use any software raid you have to first be able to install, recognize and use hard drives in the OS.

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post #23 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
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So then why wouldn't this be and issue with something like FlexRaid?

Or did I just completely miss what you were saying?


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post #24 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 04:18 PM
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So then why wouldn't this be and issue with something like FlexRaid?

Or did I just completely miss what you were saying?

I don't know, I misread or misunderstood the issue somehow. Thought this applied to hardware RAID only. I understand the problem now.
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post #25 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
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BTW if anyone has been able to run more than 5 of these in the same enclosure or same motherboard please post and let me know. Or send me a PM if you don't want to post publicly.


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post #26 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 04:47 PM
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I don't believe the conspiracy theory on the Seagate . My Seagates have fewer on off cycles than my WDs do.

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post #27 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I don't believe the conspiracy theory on the Seagate . My Seagates have fewer on off cycles than my WDs do.

Is this the drive you got?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148844
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post #28 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 05:13 PM
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Yup. That's it. Barracuda 7200.14

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post #29 of 75 Old 01-27-2013, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Yup. That's it. Barracuda 7200.14

There is nothing wrong with buying a Seagate. I just recommend that a close friend buy 2 for an upcoming build that he and I are going to do.

But as I stated this isn't a thread to start comparing which is a better drive. I respectfully asked for this in the very first sentence of the thread but it got ignored apparently. I am trying to get some help and help others that may run into this particular issue in the future. There are plenty of best hard drive threads out there if you want to discuss it there.

Thanks.


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post #30 of 75 Old 01-28-2013, 03:35 AM
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I bet is that this is intentional for the reason you are stating. Every big IT vendor that I have dealt with does this at one time or another.

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