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back to article VelociRaptor users bitten by false error bug

Western Digital has taken ten months to issue a firmware fix to a VelociRaptor bug, and even then has not made it generally available. VelociRaptor drives are the very popular 2.5-inch SATA drives spinning at 10,000rpm and available with mounts to fit in 3.5-inch drive bays. A Register reader says the drive: "at least in models …

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Enterprise ?

Pretty fundamental bad service for what is supposed to be an enterprise product and good example of why getting tied to a single vendor is bad from a risk management point of view. That it took 10 months to come up with a fix for a fault proving fatal within 49 days is taxing credullity too. That they then failed to publish it via normal channels ? Now that is truly a victory of marketing over common sense.

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FAIL

hahahah it's the old win95 time rollover bug

49.7 days = 2^32-1 in units of 1ms. what a blast from the past.

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FAIL

FAIL!

I have installed a lot of Raptors and VelociRaptors as "low-priced server class disks" in a lot of servers. I have experienced a lot of strange failures, some disks were thrown out of RAID arrays with a generic read error, then worked perfectly after being re-added to the RAID, or after a power cycle. Now I understand a lot of things. And still WD denies the issue publicly, and sends the patch only to some customers?

I will never buy a WD disk again, but meanwile, I'd really like to have this bloody fix!

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Bronze badge
WTF?

Again?

Have they at least managed to increment the firmware version this time?

We faced a similar WD bug with their RAID edition drives, which would drop out of a RAID array when they decided to run a self test.

WD eventually fixed it, but failed to increment the version number of the firmware. Took a long time to try and convince them that:

1) DOS only firmware updates were bad (especially in globally distributed data centres)

2) Firmware version numbers had to be incremented, else we can't tell which drives we've updated...

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Unhappy

untitled

First Seagate, now WD. Is it really that hard to 1) admit that there is a firmware problem as reports from customers come in and 2) get a usable fix out to those customers in a timely and clear manner?

Not asking for miracles here, but I'd rather have reliable storage than 1 GB 2.5" and 2 GB 3.5" drives that I can't trust.

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Anonymous Coward

I guess it helps...

...if you have a lot of drives in a high-profile installation and a vendor/integrator who is on your side.

We had a problem with drive throws from RAID arrays a couple of years back. The RAID controllers would throw drives due to a timeout and the drives would show no errors in their internal logs when examined - indeed, they could be reinserted back into the array. With 1500+ drives 'suspect' and hardware acceptance on the line, we got their attention.

Turned out to be a FW error which was fixed (publicly) once they found the smoking gun.

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Unhappy

@ AC

Well, since I have only about 60 drives, most of which are Raptors and Velociraptors, I suppose that I do not qualify to get help from WD.

Maybe if I had 1000...

I hope that the bad publicity here on ElReg will make WD reconsider their policy, and start publishing bug informations and fixes.

What I don't understand is why do they keep mum on the bugs. People will just stop buying their products because they are unreliable anyway, and if the manufacturer does not acknowledge the problem and give out fixes, it will appear even more unreliable. It will appear as it is not able to solve the issues, even when it is actually able. This is really bad in terms of public relations, far more than acknowledging bugs and publishing informations and fixes in a timely manner.

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Grenade

WD assumes no liability whatsoever

The firmware also came with this:

THE INFORMATION, FIRMWARE AND TOOLS, AND ALL ASSOCIATED UPDATES AND MODIFICATIONS (THE “INFORMATION”), CONTAINED HEREIN IS PROVIDED ON AN “AS-IS” BASIS AND WD ASSUMES NO LIABILITY WHATSOEVER WITH RESPECT TO SUCH INFORMATION UNDER ANY CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE, STRICT LIABILITY OR OTHER LEGAL OR EQUITABLE THEORY, EVEN IF WD HAS BEEN ADVISED ON THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. 

WD EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL EXPRESS AND IMPLIED WARRANTIES IN CONNECTION WITH THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN, INCLUDING WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND INFRINGEMENT OF ANY PATENT, COPYRIGHT OR OTHER INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHT.

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FAIL

how long have they been making these now?

Seriously; are these rookie programmers?

Aye, mate; I haven't ever written a line of productive code. Does this look ok?

Sure, just put it in there and if it isn't, we can always go back and get it right the fourth time.

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Hold the 'raptors, I'll pay extra for SAS

I had almost fallen in love with the idea of using Velociraptors when we replace all our hardware by the end of the year, but this is scary and not worth the risk. Very shoddy lack of action from WD. We will find the extra budget to use 10K SAS drives instead which should be slightly faster anyway and they are a genuine enterprise class product and manufacturer's treat them as such.

Shame on you WD, you are costing people time, money, frustration and increasing their risks when they lose RAID1.

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Jmz
Grenade

That reminds me of a letter I faked to my boss who was suffering with his Raptors...

Dear Western Digital and Ingram Micro Customer,

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING WESTERN DIGITAL RAPTOR HARD DRIVES PART NUMBERS WD3000HLFS AND WD1500BLFS

A batch of Western Digital Raptor branded hard drives have been recalled due to a serious hardware fault. The fault occurs when these hard drives are installed into some computer systems manufactured by HP, IBM and Dell. At first the hard drives get intermittently misreported by the BIOS, which can lead to an unbootable system. Over time the hard drives store an excessive amount of residual heat which can build up and cause thermal ratcheting, leading to a failure under constant kinetic strain of the “Platter Internal Stability System”.

Any hard drives you might have need to be returned to us as soon as possible so Western Digital can extract the Platter Internal Stability System hardware, look for errors and update the firmware to avoid Severe Heat Induced Tremors.

Please call us on 0844 800 3838 so we can give you a Consignment User Number Tag with which to return your unit(s).

Yours Sincerely,

Antione Balsup

Product Information Support Specialist

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Thank you El Reg for helping me make a decision

Because of my recent upgrade to i7 hardware I have accepted that having a 10,000+ RPM system drive actually makes sense, and after negotiating with an on-line supplier I was literally a day or two away from ordering some VelociRaptors.

I had some previous very bad experiences with WD drives, (after using them exclusively for some years), and it took quite a few gulps before I made the decision. Now this!

I am going to bite the bullet and get some SCSI controllers and drives - probably Cheetahs. Hang the cost. A system drive is too important to leave to idiot "market leaders" who think company policy is more important than customers.

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FAIL

Update 7th October

Just called tech support and they know about the issue but have no fix yet

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FAIL

Which means?

Which means what?

That they don't want to give it away, or that, as someone said on some forums, the fix just seemed to brick the drive completely? (google for this issue, and you'll find a lot of infos, and the (supposed) fix too).

I repeat, no more WD disks for me.

Now the problem is how to fix or replace the velociraptors that I have already installed.

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