back to article Western Digital wonders why enterprise isn't keen on its solid-state drives

Western Digital's final fiscal 2018 quarter delivered strong results that were let down by disappointing enterprise SSD sales. In the quarter to the end of June revenues were $5.1bn, 6 per cent up on a year ago, with profits of $756m, 170 per cent higher than last year's $280m. Full-year revenues were $20.65bn, 8 per cent …

  1. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Holmes

    lower prices, higher quality

    this will nearly always help with your sales figures. 'business 101'

    icon because it's obvious

  2. FF22

    WD Warranty = Suxx

    People don't buy WD drives anymore because of how they handle warranty. When their drives fail - in larger numbers than drives from other manufacturers - and you send them back in to WD for warranty replacement, they will send you out refurb replacement drives, that will die in a short time again. And when you send also that in, they send you sub-par refurb drives again.

    Then you just give up and will never ever buy again a WD drive. Even if its an SSD, because... well... it's still the same company with the same - virtually non-existent - warranty service.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WD Warranty = Suxx

      I've had exactly the same experience with WD. Their green drives are very unreliable and the refurbs they ship as replacements are either DOA or die shortly after deployment. I've spoken to management where I work regarding not buying their consumer drives anymore, because even if they are a bit cheaper at purchase time, the cost of support erodes any savings we might have made.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WD Warranty = Suxx

      Agree 100%. WD Sux... Lost too time / too much data! No more!

    3. Updraft102

      Re: WD Warranty = Suxx

      People don't buy WD drives anymore because of how they handle warranty. When their drives fail - in larger numbers than drives from other manufacturers - and you send them back in to WD for warranty replacement, they will send you out refurb replacement drives, that will die in a short time again.

      Receiving a refurbished drive under warranty has also been my experience with Seagate (HDD) and Samsung (SSD), though so far the refurbs have remained working. The HDD is a 2.5" laptop drive, currently installed in a desktop PC where it would not be catastrophic if it suddenly failed, and it's been about two years since I got the refurb. The Samsung SSD I received has such low TBW and power cycles that it is either a nearly new drive or its stats were wiped (it has a serial number quite a bit higher than my old drive too).

      In this case, the old drive wasn't defective, per se; I had used the Class 0 self encrypting feature on a new laptop, and then I idiotically forgot to unlock the drive when I found the laptop to be a bad fit and returned it to the store. Even though I knew the password, unlocking the drive without that model of laptop did not work (I concluded that the UEFI must salt the password). I am no cryptologist, so even knowing the password, I would not be able to work out the salting method.

      I knew the data could not be recovered without unlocking it, but I had hoped Samsung would at least be able to point me to an unlocking utility that would put the drive in a factory new state (data lost but never compromised), but they said the only thing possible was to RMA it. Even though it was my own lapse of judgment that caused the issue and not a manufacturing defect, they told me it would not cost anything, and they would pay the shipping both ways (2 day air to them, 1 day air back). That was pretty impressive compared to the service I have received from other companies.

      I expected to get my own drive back, wiped by some secret Samsung magic, but that was not the case. It's been a few months now, and it still works well. I'd guess that the SSD has a much better chance of going the distance than the HDD, but so far, so good with both.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Banananas

    Supplier markup on new hardware

    Every time I've looked recently at new hardware from Dell etc. The markup when buying SSDs with a server is about double vs spinning rust. No wonder they aren't selling as well to small business clients

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Supplier markup on new hardware

      "Every time I've looked recently at new hardware from Dell etc. The markup when buying SSDs with a server is about double vs spinning rust."

      I have a Dell Premiere account and I make a point of telling the account reps that they;re losing sales bercase I can buy the exact same 2TB SSDs they're putting in their boxes for half the price from a retailer.

      Then again, my experience of Dell "service"(*) is such that I get Dell quotes because I'm required to, not because they're competitive

      (*) It's poor for Premiere customers and fucking appalling for consumers. I can't understand how _anyone_ buys their products after experiencing their "tech support" or warranty coverage.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Supplier markup on new hardware

        "It's poor for Premiere customers and fucking appalling for consumers."

        We've got Dell Gold support, and I must be honest, it's always been really good (technician on site same day, etc).

        1. AceRimmer

          Re: Supplier markup on new hardware

          I've used Dell for years and my experience has been like yours. Engineer on site within 24 hours and never had a repair refused or quibbled

          1. Unicornpiss

            Re: Supplier markup on new hardware

            "I've used Dell for years and my experience has been like yours. Engineer on site within 24 hours and never had a repair refused or quibbled."

            You've been lucky then. With the "gold" Pro Support warranty, I've occasionally had my time wasted with all sorts of pointless extended diagnostics for an obviously failed HDD or SDD when trying to get warranty service. Is it a coincidence that the warranty service is more reluctant to replace a drive when there are price or supply issues, such as the some years back flooding of major manufacturer's facilities? I think not.

            As far as the next-day service, usually it is, but sometimes we just don't hear from the tech until the day after that. While this isn't as big a deal for laptops or desktops, it's still in violation of our SLA. And occasionally we've had techs quibble over nonexistent "physical damage" to machines.

            Still, they're 100x better than HP's support services.

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Supplier markup on new hardware

              "Still, they're 100x better than HP's support services."

              Yup - and that's the HP that deliberately DISABLED sata hotplugging on their newer generations of desktop systems in order to push people who want that functionality across to more expensive workstations.

      2. Unicornpiss
        Flame

        Re: Supplier markup on new hardware

        "I have a Dell Premiere account and I make a point of telling the account reps that they;re losing sales bercase I can buy the exact same 2TB SSDs they're putting in their boxes for half the price from a retailer."

        And, you can choose whatever brand you want and not whoever the lowest bidder was that month for Dell.

      3. Jay 2

        Re: Supplier markup on new hardware

        I agree. Though in some cases there is a catch. It looks like Dell put custom firmware on their own-branded SSDs. So if you use a non-Dell SSD (even one from an approved 3rd party reseller), then the lack of that custom firmware will result in the drive showing up with a non-critical error. It works fine, but doesn't help with hardware reporting.

        1. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: Supplier markup on new hardware

          "... It looks like Dell put custom firmware on their own-branded SSDs. .."

          Better than HP. Since their Gen8 ProLiants you need both a genuine HP carrier and genuine HP HDD/SSD.

          Otherwise you get one of two issues: the first is a fairly benign warning in the logs. The second though, is to assume an overheat condition and spin every fan up to 100%.

          It sounds like the entire server is trying for lift-off.

          It's a crappy way to behave and does nothing to make me want to stick with a vendor that pulls that kind of stunt.

          Fine - warn me but don't make the thing misbehave to such an extent.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Supplier markup on new hardware

      "The markup when buying SSDs with a server is about double vs spinning rust."

      And the vendors enforce their market to some degree, by refusing to sell you empty drive sleds and shipping unuseable drive bay blanks if you don't order any overpriced drives.

      Supermicro's blanks can be turned into drive sleds, but they may be the only exception.

  5. Commswonk

    Management Speak 101

    From the article: "We've had some execution issues from a product development perspective."

    I'd love to know what the above actually means. Is it as spectacular as I hope it is, or altogether more mundane?

    Either way it seems to suggest "we make them but they don't work".

    1. FrankAlphaXII

      Re: Management Speak 101

      It simply means people don't want to buy what they're selling, but in language the lobotomized (otherwise known as an MBA) will understand.

  6. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Simple: It's WD

    The same applies to Seagate.

    What do you expect when you both systemically fuck over customers for a 7 year period? That they have memories like goldfish?

    In the wake of the 2011 floods, both companies responded by doubling drive prices (or more) slashing warranties from 3-5 years to 12 months and 3 years, with vastly poorer terms and then kept those prices up such that it took _6 years_ for HDD pricing to return to pre-flood levels, but the warranties are still rotten and drive reliability has taken a nosedive.

    Given that kind of treatment of customers it's no surprise that people are staying away in droves - and hoovering up SSDmakers isn't going to help because as soon as buyers find out, they simply jump ship to a brand not owned by WD/Seagate. This is a sales nosedive of their own making, caused by exploitation of a comfortable duopoly to maximise quarterly profits without taking long-term customer relations into effect.

    Samsung might be sending out refurb SSDs, but they come with 3/5/10 year warranties, they don't quibble about them and the failure rate is so low as to be negligible: On our fleet of ~300 desktop systems over a 6 year lifespan we've come to expect to replace 20-30% of the HDDs in them post 2011 (it used to be about 5-10%). For SSDs (which we started using for boot drives back in 2008) that number so far has been _1_ and we're now retiring boxes mainly due to motherboard/PSU failures, ancient CPUs or not being able to take enough motherboard memory for the scientific computing tasks they need to run.

    I buy multi-TB spinning rust because I have to. As soon as the cost margin between HDD and SSD drops low enough at enterprise level (around 2.5-3.0 the price) I'll switch to SSD - the reduced power consumption, greater seek speeds and proven longevity over HDD makes this a no-brainer for anyone - and the last company which will be gettiing my money will be WD or Seagate.

  7. Palladium

    WD will sell more SSDs alright, as every NAND maker are now desperate to increase production capacity as a hedge against China and their bottomless war chest who will drown the world in domestic NAND in 2019.

  8. DanceMan

    Re: are causing flash pricing to decline in a rate faster than in past quarters

    We can hope. I notice some ssd prices declining on sale items.

    The above user reports on hdd unreliability scares me. Thank you to the commenters for the detailed reports.

  9. elvisimprsntr

    Sure SSDs have faster RW performance, but the bottleneck is the network. It's about price vs. capacity, and redundancy to prevent data loss. The only application we require SSDs is in airborne equipment, for obvious reasons.

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