Chickens coming home to roost
(Disclosure: I'm the one who brought this mess to Chris' attention along with various tech mailing lists and notified ixSystems about the F/W bugs. Chris verified the issue, got admissions from WDC & SGT which they'd refused to give to consumers plus a voluntary statement from Toshiba about their use of SMR in consumer products - I'd assumed Tosh had been more ethical in disclosure up to that point)
ixSystems have withdrawn their recommendation for the SMR drives - and they verified my report of FW bugs in RED SMRs.
The reason they gave that recommendation was that WD RED CMR drives have been hellaciously reliable. My old REDs have run 8-9 years 24*7 without missing a beat whilst other drives tended to only last 5-6 years. WD built a reputation and trashed it in a matter of 18 months.
As for the Class Action - this COULD be a submarined way of WD heading off consumer protection "death of one million paper cuts" in US courts. By certifying a class in USA courts it means anyone filing in lower courts (small claims) is likely to find their claim pulled into the class action.
Don't forget: WD, Seagate and Toshiba have been explicitly marketing SMR drives as suitable for home and SOHO use. That means the "Get out of jail free" card that was used against misleading advertising litigation in the past ("these are business devices and businesses must do their homework") is ripped up and thrown away. WD compounded the crime by selling the things explicitly as suitable for RAID use when what they meant was "Mirroring", then gaslighting consumers who complained (as did Seagate) and then issued press statements gaslighting the public (Say kids, Can you say "Exemplary Damages"? I knew you could.)
In this case the class action is targetting WD. I doubt it will be the only one and I'm doubtful consumer protection agencies around the world will sit on their hands - particularly when they look at the combined actions of the three companies
If the rollout of DM-SMR in consumer drives had been "coincidental", then at least one of the makers would have disclosed it on the spec sheets and/or would have released SMRs at a considerably lower price point than their CMR product and/or would have pointed out what the others were doing.
If it looks like a cartel behaviour duck , quacks like a cartel behaviour duck and walks like a cartel behaviour duck, it's highly unlikely to be a coyote.
Icon, because Micron have parked SSD tanks on HDD maker lawns.
You can buy their 5210 ION "cold storage" (meaning 0.2-0.8DWPD, something akin to archival SMR HDDs, not "powered off") SSDs for twice the price of Enterprise HDDs of the same capacity (or about 3 times the price of a RED/IronWolf/N300 - and the quoted endurance of 180TB/year for RED or IronWolf or N300 NAS drives is a lot LESS than 0.2-0.8DWPD)
Not bad for an ENTERPRISE drive that draws ~2W, has power failure protection and a 5 year warranty (the HDDS referenced above are all 3 year warranty)
RIght now on Insight, UK IONs are listed at £308/4TB($380), £580/8TB($680) +tax - and the way SSDs are still falling in price they'll rpobably hit parity with the Enterprise SMR drives by the end of 2020