Consumer vs Enterprise grade harddrives
I have always wondered what would be the better choice for a small-medium business. Let's use 1TB drives for examples. And I usually see at least a 50$+ price difference for the 2 types of drives. So the question being, is paying near 50% more for an enterprise drive, worth the benefits of the enterprise drives. We are talking servers with about 8-10 Hard Drives.
In my view...
-Consumer=SATA 3GB/s and/or newer SATA 6GB/S, typically a lot more storage space, slower spindle speeds (7200 on average, even though a few like the Velociraptor hit 10K).
Enterprise=SAS, which I assume equals more saturation, less storage space, but higher spindle speeds (10K-15K on average).
If a customer is looking for a snappier system, which in turns equals more production and less time wasted, I'd say the 50% premium for say a 15K drive(s) pays for itself over time (if the business is profitable).
Of course, we could do the whole cost benefit analysis thing, but I really don't wanna relive grad. school right now.
A cost benefit analysis is something I'd like to briefly touch. The 50% premium was not for a 15K drive. It was a 1TB 7200 RPM SATA drive vs a 1TB 7200 RPM SATA Drive. The only [big] difference being their consumer vs enterprise ratings. Leading me to the question of: What am I getting for this "enterprise" grade drive?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136284 [Consumer] [$109.99]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136313 [Enterprise] [$174.99]
Roughly a 60% increase in the price.
The biggest single difference between Enterprise and consumer hard drives is that the Enterprise drives have features which lower the rate of unrecoverable data errors on the drive. In terms of reliability (i.e., do Enterprise drives fail less often or last longer?), this article suggests that there's no significant differences between consumer and enterprise drives.
This Intel PDF document is has a very good description of the differences between the two classes of drives.
Hard drives have an error recovery process. In a regular desktop drive the error recovery can take longer than the same process in a RAID environment. If a desktop drive drive is being utilized in a RAID array and tries to recover from an error, the error recovery time may exceed the RAID error recovery time and can cause the drive to drop from the array.
If you read the KEY FEATURES for the WD RE3 and RE4 drives, you'll note they both mention a RAID specific, time limited error recovery (TLER).
In a business environment, you're going to want BOTH speed and reliability in your hardware and Enterprise drives can provide that.
Here's are some links explaining the above. http://www.westerndigital.com/en/products/raid/
Would you rather ship your product by FEDEX OVERNIGHT or by Drunk Dude with a Mule?
Reliability is worth the cost!!
Buying SAS as desktop drive is simply stupid, as even 15k rpm disks can be slower than 10k velociraptors, due to firmware optimizations. SAS disks are optimized for high queue depth random I/O; while desktop systems are very low queue depth.
But i thought we were talking about "RAID edition" or "Enterprise edition" disks versus normal disks; for example the WD Green disk also has a RAID Edition "RE4-GP" series drive, which is more expensive.
If a HDD manufacturer releases both a normal and an "enterprise" edition of the same drive, which share the same manufacturing process, there is no real difference between them. The difference is on paper: you get more warranty, some firmware options are enabled by default (TLER) and some specs are different. But physically it should be the same drive; so i wouldn't pay a premium for that.
On the other hand, if you can get 2 years additional warranty for just $10-$15 extra i would do it, but certainly no $50.
"Enterprise" = mechanically and electronically more advanced in order to increase reliability.
They're designed for use in RAID setups and should NEVER be used standalone.
This is because they don't try as hard to recover bad sectors. "That's a job for the raid system."
In simple terms: Enterprise drives in standlone mode are probably more reliable than consumer ones, but if they do develop a bad sector you are significantly more likely to lose data than on a consumer drive.
If there are enterprise and consumer versions of the same drive it'd be interesting to know EXACTLY what the differences are. If it's just firmware that's one thing and the consumer version should be very reliable, but if the arm/head/electronics are tweaked then effectively it's a different device with the same ID.