Using Consumer HDD's in a Server Environment?


I just want to test the waters with this topic. It seems that the hard drives available on servers are much more costly, even under the same specifications.

What if I used one of these internal notebook hdd's 7.2k rpm 2.5" in a server:

I haven't actually worked on a server so seeing an actual hot plug hdd has not occured. This is a speculation before I make a purchase. Now SATA drives are naturally hot pluggable provided it is set to AHCI in the Bios from what I have read. Haven't gotten a chance to read about SAS drives.

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  1. Best answer
    what's the work load of the server?
    We don't use any consumer level hdd in your servers
    because they're not designed to handle the workload day in and day out, 24/7.

    At home, I have web server and media server on consumer level hard drives. Haven't had a failure yet in the about 4-5 years.

    SATA 3 GB/s are suppose to work in SAS backplane just fine. SAS drives are more high performance and are needed when you need more IOPS. The IOPS of a SAS drive are typically double that of SATA drives.

    So, to answer your question, test the IOPS on your existing server first to see if it will be okay with the IOPS of that SATA drive you're using. I forget what the IOPS of a typical SATA drive is, but it's pretty low maybe around 70-80 IOPS. A 15K RPM SAS can get close to 200 IOPS.
  2. masterasia said:
    At home, I have web server and media server on consumer level hard drives. Haven't had a failure yet in the about 4-5 years.

    I'm just wondering, but in your home server, do you say hot plug the hard drives, is there any special encasing of the hard drive? such as a tray or kit? I'm curious because you said you use consumer ones. Or is it just a matter of taking the hdd out of the box and inserting it into the dard drive bay? No screws?
  3. One more thing, when you say consumer hard drives are not designed to run day and night, with intensive read/writes...doesn't HP and Dell use WD, Seagate, and the works on their servers when they distribute them? I haven't bought a server yet, so maybe you can enlighten me on who the manufacturers are for their drives?

    I would think HD Tach and HD Tune Pro results would be the same on a hdd from Newegg, versus a one from Dell/HP.
  4. What is the up time on this server? Consumer drives are sometime neglected when it comes to manufacturing but in any case the driver better be well cared for. Keep a close eye on the smart data and keep backups of those drives. Poor quality head pre amp and bad media is the leading cause of failure of most drives these days.

    How much load will you be putting on this drive? Will it be online for many hours with little actual load then you should be ok for at least the first year or so but keep it cool.
  5. Best answer selected by invulnarable27.
  6. Far more important than the choice of Enterprise vs. consumer drives is having a sound strategy for protecting your data. That means regular backups with rotating cycles, and if downtime is costly then redundant RAID to protect against drive failures (any drive can die, even Enterprise ones). And it's equally important to test and document your recovery procedures.

    It's much better to use consumer drives with those issues taken care of than to use Enterprise drives without.
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