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  1. #1

    Best Servers Disks

    Hardisk brands all had their ups and downs over time. So almost all brands made sometime bad drive models that failed (yes, even IBM)

    I just finished reading an article that currently for servers it seems Seagate is the best (currently).

    Some say Western, some say Maxtor, I heard everything. It seems nobody agrees or there isnt one that actually has the lowest failure rates.

    It would be nice to hear from real experience on servers scenarios (not office, or desktop). The article also said Hitachi was one of the worst and my eyes just popped out. I found reviews of people here that said Hitachi where the bests. So to conclude it seems everybody has their own preference.

    It would be nice to hear some Datacenters or people with tons of servers. I suppose recovery centers and datacenters probably have the best stats on which disks are failing the most.

  2. #2
    Depends on your application and type of server. If after raw performance, ie database or virtualization, use Fujitsu MBA 15k SAS drives, for stable SATA drives, go for Western Digital RE3. Both are deigned for the enterprise environment.
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  3. #3
    Well I dont mean specific models for certain servers. 15 K disks for database, or stable disks for file servers, etc.

    I mean generally about brands, almost all brands have fast disks or low performance disks.

    I dont want to make this a topic about which models are better for each application or service, but just a brand topic about which disks are filling the pile of crashed disks.

  4. #4
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    All disk drives fail, no matter the manufacturer. There are some manufacturer specific issues at times, like the Seagate SATA firmware issues not too long ago.

    Brands in general are unimportant. I have a personal preference to WD SATA drives and to avoid Seagate, but love the Seagate SAS drives. All manufacturer can have strong and weak product lines.
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  5. #5
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    WD SATA drives, more specifically RE3's are solid drives.

  6. #6
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    Probably not a lot of people would mention them, but we use quite a few of the Samsung F1 Raid edition drives, and have had very few failures.
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  7. #7
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    All of us have their favorite disk drives brands (like cars, clothes, mobile phones, and so on) and it's very hard to change person's opinion in this case.

    We use Seagate drives because they are fast and reliable, but I don't see any problems if people other brands like Samsung, Western Digital, Maxtor, or something else. Brand isn't the most important thing as long as you take care of disk drive health and perform daily or weekly backups

  8. #8
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    For SATA, WD RE3s. The Blacks fairly similar performance, though you have to manually enable TLER if you are running RAID.

  9. Quote Originally Posted by Core Game Servers View Post
    For SATA, WD RE3s. The Blacks fairly similar performance, though you have to manually enable TLER if you are running RAID.
    not just "black", you can also turn on TLER on blue drives, green drives and VelociRaptors. not sure about Scorpio's...

    frankly, we don't really see the justification to pay whopping 50% more for RE3 drives since just all non-RE drives can have their TLER enabled nowadays! we've seen about the same detect rate between RE3 and non-RE drives.

  10. #10
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    For SATA servers, we use only Western Digital. Out of the past 300 drives we have purchased, only 2 have failed which was during the burn in period. RMA'd to WD with no problem.

    Their drives last for years too, have a few old ATA WD's (10+ years) at home and they are still working with no problems.

    Like you said, everyone has their own personal preference as one bad experience can turn them off to a brand for years to come. Sometimes it is best to check sites that measure Mean Time Until Failure to decide what is best for you. Most SATA drives are at a million hours now and if they are still working after a million hours, that's pretty good as I am sure other components in that server would have failed by then.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    not just "black", you can also turn on TLER on blue drives, green drives and VelociRaptors. not sure about Scorpio's...

    frankly, we don't really see the justification to pay whopping 50% more for RE3 drives since just all non-RE drives can have their TLER enabled nowadays! we've seen about the same detect rate between RE3 and non-RE drives.
    Yes, you can enable TLER on just about any drive, but you're not going to get the same performance from a Blue/Green drive as an RE3/Black, especially in a server environment. That's why I specifically mentioned the Black drive. Two separate considerations.

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    Seagate is the best server hard drive, based on over 14 years working this industry.

  13. #13
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    We started with WD, never had much issues with them at all.

    Later moved to Seagate, got burnt with massive firmware issues that destroyed many customer's data.

    So we are back to WD and never plan on switching again as long as WD remains reliable and doesn't do something as stupid as Seagate did.
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  14. #14
    Ok, but this post did had the effect I asked initially. The trend seems to be:

    1. Western Digital.
    2. Seagate.

    This is of course based on preference but Im sure must of us actually do prefer a specific brand because there is a reason behind it. Just like we prefer a specific browser. On disks, there aren't to many secrets and i suppose must here pic them based on speed/reliability.

    Well, know my little 2 cents. I had terrible experience with Western Digital actually. There was a time their disks where crap, even on desktops PCs a full line was just buggy. On Seagate they had the same issue with full lines of disks. Both companies improved milestones on their disks. Some say Seagate improved so much their disks that they have the least failure rates today. On WD it seems it depends on the model you choose.

    Can we add something else besides this 2 major brands?

    I wonder what the new lines brings in the future

  15. #15
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    I prefer using Samsung disk drives on my desktop PCs, but these drives are not popular in webhosting industry. Maybe it's because Samsung isn't as old player as other companies are?

    I had 4 Samsung drives and none of the has failed, but these were used for personal purposes only. Not sure if they provide the same stability and performance when using with servers that work 24/7

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Hosting24 View Post
    I prefer using Samsung disk drives on my desktop PCs, but these drives are not popular in webhosting industry. Maybe it's because Samsung isn't as old player as other companies are?

    I had 4 Samsung drives and none of the has failed, but these were used for personal purposes only. Not sure if they provide the same stability and performance when using with servers that work 24/7
    Well, yes, the topic is about servers/datacenter enviroment only. That means 24/7 read/write disks

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeTrike View Post
    WD SATA drives, more specifically RE3's are solid drives.
    Another vote for the WD enterprise drives, they're the only drives we will use.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    not just "black", you can also turn on TLER on blue drives, green drives and VelociRaptors. not sure about Scorpio's...

    frankly, we don't really see the justification to pay whopping 50% more for RE3 drives since just all non-RE drives can have their TLER enabled nowadays! we've seen about the same detect rate between RE3 and non-RE drives.
    Hi Chong

    Is this still the case? I meant for WD black, we could manually turn on TLER?

    sounds like a GREAT idea

    except for TLER, WD RE3 also have smaller cache, which wonders us why we need to pay 50% more on it

  19. #19
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    Here's the Google study, "Failure Trends in a Large Disk Drive Population".

    http://static.googleusercontent.com/...k_failures.pdf

    Points from that:

    "Contrary to previously reported results, we found very little correlation between failure rates and either elevated temperature or activity levels."

    "The data in this study are collected from a large number of disk drives, deployed in several types of systems across all of Google’s services. More than one hundred thousand disk drives were used for all the results presented here. The disks are a combination of serial and parallel ATA consumer-grade hard disk drives, ranging in speed from 5400 to 7200 rpm, and in size from 80 to 400 GB. All units in this study were put into production in or after 2001. The population contains several models from many of the largest disk drive manufacturers and from at least nine different models. The data used for this study were collected between December 2005 and August 2006. "

  20. #20
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    We tried lot's of hards. And there no one answer in the market about best hard drive providers. One hard can work 1 - 2 months, other - 3+ years. It's not important SATA or SAS. We prefer WD at the moment.
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  21. Quote Originally Posted by Peter-SexyWing View Post
    Hi Chong

    Is this still the case? I meant for WD black, we could manually turn on TLER?

    sounds like a GREAT idea

    except for TLER, WD RE3 also have smaller cache, which wonders us why we need to pay 50% more on it
    all non-RE drives manufactured after Oct/Nov-09, the TLER function were removed/disabled by WD. thus, our hands are tied and forced to use RAID edition (RE3/RE4) or enterprise-class (velociraptors/s25's) drives in hardware arrays as long as you want TLER.

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    all non-RE drives manufactured after Oct/Nov-09, the TLER function were removed/disabled by WD. thus, our hands are tied and forced to use RAID edition (RE3/RE4) or enterprise-class (velociraptors/s25's) drives in hardware arrays as long as you want TLER.
    Have you successfully enabled TLER in Velociraptors? If so, which ones-- 300GB, 450GB, 600GB?

    I opened a support case with WD specifically regarding Velociraptors, and was flatly told that it is impossible to enable TLER on any model Velociraptor (even though they classify it as an "enterprise" disk).

    When I told the rep a lot of forums say otherwise, he escalated the case to an engineer, who reiterated what the first guy said. No way to enable TLER on Velociraptors.

    If this is false, I'd sure like to know about it. We have a couple low-load servers that need larger disks, and I was considering replacing the 300GB SAS disks with 600GB Velociraptors until WD said TLER was not do-able. (these servers use hardware RAID so TLER is essential)

  24. Quote Originally Posted by Sekweta View Post
    Have you successfully enabled TLER in Velociraptors? If so, which ones-- 300GB, 450GB, 600GB?

    I opened a support case with WD specifically regarding Velociraptors, and was flatly told that it is impossible to enable TLER on any model Velociraptor (even though they classify it as an "enterprise" disk).

    When I told the rep a lot of forums say otherwise, he escalated the case to an engineer, who reiterated what the first guy said. No way to enable TLER on Velociraptors.

    If this is false, I'd sure like to know about it. We have a couple low-load servers that need larger disks, and I was considering replacing the 300GB SAS disks with 600GB Velociraptors until WD said TLER was not do-able. (these servers use hardware RAID so TLER is essential)
    we have couple of old 300G VR (HLFS; manuf. Dec/09) drives, that we use on test bench day in and day out, and we have no issue whatsoever to turn on-off TLER at will!

    not sure about the TLER status on those new 450G/600G VR drives which we've never installed before.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    we have couple of old 300G VR (HLFS; manuf. Dec/09) drives, that we use on test bench day in and day out, and we have no issue whatsoever to turn on-off TLER at will!

    not sure about the TLER status on those new 450G/600G VR drives which we've never installed before.
    It was my understanding that *all* disks after that date had TLER manipulation removed.

    This was a shame as the blacks were essentially the same as the RE3's.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanD View Post
    It was my understanding that *all* disks after that date had TLER manipulation removed.

    This was a shame as the blacks were essentially the same as the RE3's.
    Very shameful to do that on disks that you market as "enterprise" class. I would love to experiment with 4x600GB Velociraptors in RAID 10 for a few mid-range web servers, where 15K rpm SAS disks are overkill.

    But without TLER, I'll keep sending our money to Seagate. I refuse to use 7200 SATA disks, so if we're gonna spend the money for something better, it's hard to beat the 15k SAS Seagate Cheetahs.

  27. #27
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    15k SAS Cheetahs hands down!

  28. #28
    If you have the money to spend I also recommend the seagate cheetah drives. I've had bad luck with their consumer drive line but the cheetahs are the best server drives you can buy for sas, fc and u320. If you're going with solid state drives I would recommend ocz.

  29. #29
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    SSDs are amazing but I don't think the cost is not exactly worth while as far as hosting goes, it depends on your needs though. Some providers are starting to offer SSDs in configurations now but I believe 15k SAS drives are sufficient and more cost efficient.

    I actually have 2 OCZ Vertex SSDs running in RAID-0 on my notebook right now. Blazing fast.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    not just "black", you can also turn on TLER on blue drives, green drives and VelociRaptors. not sure about Scorpio's...

    frankly, we don't really see the justification to pay whopping 50% more for RE3 drives since just all non-RE drives can have their TLER enabled nowadays! we've seen about the same detect rate between RE3 and non-RE drives.
    2 Years more warranty ? For me that is reason enough to go for the WD RE3 edition.
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  31. #31
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    Don't put too much stock in the length of warranty. If you RMA a disk, you'll get a used one back in return-- with no idea what the history of it was. Did someone drop it? Overheat it? Did it get hit by a power surge? Was it overloaded/abused 24x7? I distrust used hard drives like I distrust used cars.

    We would never put a "vendor recertified" disk into server production, and the only reason we bother to RMA anything is because what we get back is "good enough" for spare PCs or mules for experimenting with new software.

    I should mention we rarely had to RMA any of our 7200 rpm Seagate SATA disks (in the dark ages when we used SATA in servers) so we only have a handful of recertified ones.

    We've never had to RMA a 15k SAS Cheetah. (knocking wood as I write this) Those things are virtually indestructable.
    Last edited by Sekweta; 06-18-2010 at 09:16 AM.

  32. indeed, we only needed to RMA no more than 5 Cheetah SAS drives in last few years, and no doubt they are THE most reliable drives out there! considering 146G/300G 15K Cheetah SAS drives cost just ~5% higher than 10k Velociraptors nowadays, it's really a no brainer to choose Cheetah drives over VR's, especially true for hardware array which requires SAS hardware RAID card any way. SATA only RAID card costs just as much as SAS/SATA unified RAID card.

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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    ... we only needed to RMA no more than 5 Cheetah SAS drives in last few years ...
    Out of how many installed?

  34. #34
    Cheetahs are classic however in the last year or so we have been migrating to Savvios instead. The 2.5" form factor offers better performance, less heat, and better density with up to 8 drives per U. They may also offer better reliability but have not had either a Cheetah or Savvio die in a few years. In addition the 2.5" form factor is becoming the standard with the increased availability of SSD and hybrids.

    Used to love Fujitsu U320s and SAS however a few years ago they really started to drop in quality.

  35. #35
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    I've heard good things about the Savvios but don't have direct experience, since our HP ProLiants take 3.5". If we used 2.5" disks, my biggest complaint about the Savvios would be capacity. Their 15k rpm disks only go up to 146GB. Anything larger means 10k rpm.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sekweta View Post
    If we used 2.5" disks, my biggest complaint about the Savvios would be capacity.
    A nice benefit of 2.5" drives is that you can fit a lot more in a server. Supermicro makes a 2U chassis that can take 24 of them, or you can do 8 in 1U. They use less power since the platter is so much smaller, and you get a performance boost since the heads don't have to move as far. If you need to add more for capacity reasons, you also get a performance boost from having more spindles. The obvious downside is cost, but 15K drives already aren't cheap.
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  37. #37
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    The other downside is when you add drives, you increase your odds of a disk failure in that server. A good RAID system will mitigate data loss, in conjunction with good backup policies, but I prefer fewer disks to achieve the capacity needed. The exception is when bleeding edge speed is essential, where (for example) 8 spindles in RAID 10 is faster than 4 spindles in RAID 1.

  38. Quote Originally Posted by RyanD View Post
    It was my understanding that *all* disks after that date had TLER manipulation removed.

    This was a shame as the blacks were essentially the same as the RE3's.
    just tested some new 150G VR drives, manuf. Jan-07-2010, and found no problem to turn on-off TLER function. these sealed drives do come with TLER enabled at factory.

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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter-SexyWing View Post
    Hi Chong
    Does SAS 15K drive have TLER issue?
    No. They're designed for RAID.

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