Seagate Updates 1.5 TB Drive Firmware

Users with these drives can get the new SD1A version firmware only by calling Seagate support

Howard Marks

December 6, 2008

2 Min Read
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11:00 AM -- Over the past month or so, the enthusiast blogosphere and Seagate's own support forums have been hopping with reports from users of Barracuda 7200.11 1.5 TByte drives "freezing" for up to 30 seconds at a time. These reports came from users running the drives on a variety of platforms from Windows XP to Ubuntu Linux.

Users attempting to run the drives in RAID arrays reported that their RAID controllers marked the drives as failed and dropped them from the array, leaving them without protection from a second drive going offline.

The affected drives are model number 9JU138-300 and -336 with firmware revisions SD15, SD17, or SD18. Users with these drives can get the new SD1A version firmware only by calling Seagate support and reporting that they have affected drives.

Despite certain pressure from customers looking for the densest storage available, these 1.5 TB drives haven't yet made it into SME and enterprise disk arrays, as the three-letter acronym vendors generally stick to the near-line versions of SATA drives like Seagate's ES and Western Digital's RE series.

While the mechanical parts may be similar or even the same, between workstation SATA drives and their RAID oriented near-line relatives the firmware is very different. Drives designed to run in a RAID configuration run a much shorter retry cycle than their desktop brethren. While a desktop drive should take a second or more to attempt everything in the drive designer's bag of tricks to read a block, it's faster for a RAID controller to read the other copy or parity information and reconstruct the data if the initial read fails.Unfortunately, some users have been buying near-line drives, seduced by the huge mean-time-between-failure, and using them in desktop or Tivo applications where more retries would be more appropriate.

Howard Marks is chief scientist at Networks Are Our Lives Inc., a Hoboken, N.J.-based consultancy where he's been beating storage network systems into submission and writing about it in computer magazines since 1987. He currently writes for InformationWeek, which is published by the same company as Byte and Switch.

About the Author(s)

Howard Marks

Network Computing Blogger

Howard Marks</strong>&nbsp;is founder and chief scientist at Deepstorage LLC, a storage consultancy and independent test lab based in Santa Fe, N.M. and concentrating on storage and data center networking. In more than 25 years of consulting, Marks has designed and implemented storage systems, networks, management systems and Internet strategies at organizations including American Express, J.P. Morgan, Borden Foods, U.S. Tobacco, BBDO Worldwide, Foxwoods Resort Casino and the State University of New York at Purchase. The testing at DeepStorage Labs is informed by that real world experience.</p><p>He has been a frequent contributor to <em>Network Computing</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>InformationWeek</em>&nbsp;since 1999 and a speaker at industry conferences including Comnet, PC Expo, Interop and Microsoft's TechEd since 1990. He is the author of&nbsp;<em>Networking Windows</em>&nbsp;and co-author of&nbsp;<em>Windows NT Unleashed</em>&nbsp;(Sams).</p><p>He is co-host, with Ray Lucchesi of the monthly Greybeards on Storage podcast where the voices of experience discuss the latest issues in the storage world with industry leaders.&nbsp; You can find the podcast at:

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