Reliable HDD for 24/7 home server


I have a "small" home server running 24/7 with Linux (Slackware). I am currently using 3 Seagate Barracuda LP HDD's and 3 WesternDigital Caviar Green HDD's but in the last few months, I experienced 3 drive failures (1 WD completely dead, 1 Seagate that clicked constantly, and 1 Seagate that had tons of bad sectors...).

All drives are less than 10months old except one of them that is approximately 2 years old. I processed the failed drives through the manufacturer's RMA but I am getting worried with the quality and reliability of these consumer grade hard drives for 24/7 operation and I am wondering what this community has to recommend? Some people recommended to simply replace the drives with similar drives, considering their low prices these days, while others recommended to slowly migrate to enterprise class drives such as the Constellation ES from Seagate or the WD-RE2/3/4 from WD...

Is it worth the price? Really more reliable? Except the extended stock warranty of 5 Years, will I really see a benefit?

Right now I am using RAID1 Linux software arrays to protect my data and it served me very well... I just fear some day both drives of the same array will fail at the same time, then I will be screwed...

Any input very appreciated!

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  1. Your problem seems to be that you think RAID 1 is a backup solution. It isn't. All hard drives fail eventually. RAID is for redundancy, i.e. a drive fails but the array and computer continue to function until a replacement can be swapped in. RAID can't protect you from viruses, corrupt data, and the like. For this, you need a good backup plan.

    I suggest you get some decent backup software. If you decouple your RAID 1, you'll have an extra drive to save backups to. I like to save a couple copies of my backups on different drives, just in case.
  2. I understand the concept of RAID1 vs backups. I am doing a monthly incremental backup using rsnapshot to a bay mounted HDD usually offline (unpowered) and only powered up on demand. RAID is only for redundency and availability.

    I am not really woried about viruses because I am behind an enterprise class firewall, the server has no access tho the internet and is only operated from within the local network. It also runs under a specific user (not root) and is running linux.

    The biggest threat is me... Thats why I backup to a totally independent drive. All is automated with rsnapshot on a recurrent basis (cron jobs). I get an email if the backup failed or did not complete.

    "All hard drives fail eventually."

    I agree. Thats what I am experiencing, but after 3 months of operation, a drive shouldnt fail... It happened twice so far. Thats why I am seeking advice on replacement drives...
  3. Unfortunately HDD vendors seem to have their periods of good and bad quality control. I have always had good experiences with WD drives, but it does seem that they have had a recent rash of bad drives in the green series.

    I beleive both their black series and RE series drives carry a 5 year warranty. The blue and green series are 3 years.
  4. Yeah I might avoid the green drives alltogether in the future... I would go for enterprise grade if they were a bit cheaper but they are like 4 times the price of consumer grade drives for the same caracteristics...

    As for the warranty, 3 years seems OK to me, in my case anyways. What I am really looking for is reduced failure rates so I dont have to swap a drive every other month and risk my data.....

    Roughly, what is the difference between the black series and the RE series for WD?
  5. As far as I know, the RE series uses TLER (for RAID specific drives), RAFF, and uses a thermal extended burn test.

    I just use the black series or the blue series if it is used for storage. The only difference in these is the 5400rpm vs 7200 rpm.
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