Reports that Seagate is having "random freeze" problems on its new 1.5 TB drives may be more serious than the company has admitted: 1 TB Seagate drives may be affected as well.
Seagate on the case
Seagate spokesman Mike Hall wrote:
Seagate is investigating an issue where a small number of Barracuda 7200.11 (1.5TB SATA) hard drives randomly pause or hang for up to several seconds during certain write operations. This does not result in data loss nor does it impact the reliability of the drive but is an inconvenience to the user that we are working to resolve with an upgradeable firmware.
Not great but OK if true. But then I got a note from a senior engineer at a cloud storage company:
What seagate doesn't seem to be admitting is that their 7200.11 1.0 TB drives have that same problem also. We've had to remove from service and rebuild 2 expansion servers with overnighted Samsung drives in the last 48 hours . . . .
Pulling servers and replacing all the drives is more than an "inconvenience." It is a major operational problem.
It can kill your desktop RAID
A Tech Report commenter noted that this problem can kill a desktop RAID. How?
. . . the problem may cause a RAID system to think the drive has died. The RAID system automatically removes the drive and continues to run degraded (as designed). 20 minutes later when another drive exhibits the problem the RAID system drops the second drive and dies.
Your data is in there somewhere, but good luck ever seeing it again. Yet another reason to avoid desktop RAID unless you a) know what you are doing and b) absolutely need it.
The Storage Bits take
Other than airfreighting Samsung or Western Digital drives, what can you do? First, check for firmware revisions that Seagate has admitted have problems: SD15, SD17, or SD18. If you don't have them you should be OK.
If you do, what then? Cross your fingers and hope for the best. If they are in a critical RAID system you should make sure your backups are current and complete.
You may need them.
Comments welcome, of course.