Tuesday 20 January 2009

Seagate SATA drives and a firmware update

Seagate, it seems, has been experiencing some issues with their Barracuda SATA line of hard drives from a particular manufacturing facility.

We have experienced what seems to us to be an inordinately high number of drive failures on the ES.2 series. Though, in our case the drives die midstream and generally not during a boot of the server.

Previous posts:
Seagate's articles on the matter:
The second article indicates that the drives that we have in production will not have a firmware update yet.

When we have had a dead drive in the past that has spun up with no internal sounds indicating drive heads being flung about within, we have had some success with switching out the daughter cards that contain the electronics.

In this case, we have not had any drive failures related to the firmware situation, so we cannot test to see if this does indeed enable us to gain access to the drive's contents. We have seen some indications that we may not be able to do so.

A small bonus for us is the ability to obtain an RMA from our supplier for one full year after the original purchase and have a replacement drive the following day. The drawback is that we have consistently had the defective drives replaced with identical ones.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.


Anonymous said...

Have you tried to get the updated firmware from Seagate?

I have an just get a ping back to the knowledgebase article no download link.

Also they state that they do not believe the drives present a problem but ofer an updated firmware, what does that mean. Either there is a problem or there is not.

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...

We have an open case right now. We have not heard back yet, though their support office for North America was hit by an ice storm so there will be delays.

It means that they are being proactive about making sure any possibility of a problem is mitigated.

It would be interesting to see if the number of "failed" drives goes beyond the 2-4% drive failure mark we have seen over the years.