Seagate Has A Problem

At Bloglines, we have 3 classes of machines in our cluster. We’ve got web boxes, which are pretty lightweight. We’ve got storage class machines, which as you can guess have big drives and medium speed processors. And we have database class machines, which have fast processors, fast disk, and lots of ECC memory.
Fast disk, in general, means some form of SCSI. The database machines use Ultra SCSI drives, specifically Seagate Cheetah Ultra320s in a RAID configuration. Unfortunately, we’ve experienced something like a 40% failure rate on these drives. Because of the RAIDs, this hasn’t resulted in any loss of data or downtime, but it’s still extremely unacceptable.
The drives have a 5 year warranty, so we’ve been shipping them back to Seagate. In return, we receive ‘repaired’ drives from Seagate. Recently, one of those repaired drives failed within one minute when installed in a machine. My suspicion is that part of the problem is that Seagate isn’t doing much of a job to fix drives that are sent back for repair.
Speaking of which, when sending a drive back to Seagate for replacement, you can call them up and ask for the ‘advance replacement option’. This means that they send out a ‘new’ drive before they receive your old drive. This speeds up the replacement process. Before today, we were able to get a customer support rep on the phone directly and specify the advance replacement option immediately. But now, apparently Seagate is outsourcing their first-tier customer support, so now when you call them up, they ask for your details and then say someone will be in touch within 24 hours. Which, if calling on a Friday, probably means Monday.
We’ll never purchase Seagate Ultra SCSI drives again. The risk is too high.

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