NAS-ty surprises with WD Red drives

I had a WD Red Plus NAS drive fail automated smart tests on my Synology NAS recently. I sent it in as part of their RMA process with 2 months left in the 3-year limited warranty, and got another one sent back to me after about 3 weeks. Besides the delay due to logistics, the RMA experience was smooth and Tim T. went above and beyond walking me through the process, even providing a shipping label.

The new drive has been added to the storage pool and has synced up successfully. However, on top of the discovery that I have SMR drives instead of CMR drives (resulting in slower rewrites), I read an article today that has me seeing Red:

[…] Western Digital drives using Western Digital Device Analytics (WDDA) are getting a “warning” stamp in Synology DSM once their power-on hours count hits the three-year mark. WDDA is similar to SMART monitoring and rival offerings, like Seagate’s IronWolf, and is supposed to provide analytics and actionable items.

Western Digital sparks panic, anger for age-shaming HDDs — Ars Technica (emphasis mine) (that pun in the subtitle was too good not to borrow)

While I don’t have this problem with either of my two WD Red NAS drives, if it crops up in the next couple months it looks like I’ll need to SSH into the NAS and disable the warning—otherwise you can’t repair a storage pool.

It’s a bummer and I’ll need to be cautious when purchasing WD drives in the future, in addition to my avoidance of Seagate drives. That leaves Hitachi—although I think WD acquired their storage arm.

Are SSDs cheap enough yet?