The 2.5" Vs. 3.5" RAID Challenge
Whenever system administrators demand increased data security or storage subsystem performance, they immediately find that a single hard drive is simply inadequate. Multiple queries will push the drive to its performance limits, and the specter of a single drive failure leading to system breakdown and possibly data loss is simply unacceptable.
The most common way of providing good reliability and performance is to create a RAID array, where RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent (or Inexpensive) Disks. To create one, all you need is an intelligent controller and an appropriate number of hard drives. Jointly, these resources make it possible to increase performance while reducing the probability of a breakdown caused by a drive failure.
In the past RAID setups used to be quite expensive, since one had to use high-priced SCSI devices. However, cheaper controllers based on IDE (UltraATA/100) have now been around for some time, and ones using Serial ATA are also becoming available. These allow fast, cheap, and high-capacity desktop hard drives to be used for RAID arrays.
With Seagate's introduction of its 10,000 RPM 2.5" Savvio drive family, discussion about high-density storage solutions has emerged. 2.5" drives require far less energy than 3.5" drives, and common models (except for the Savvio) don't even require any cooling. We wanted to see how an array consisting of common SATA 2.5" hard drives would compare to a conventional one using 3.5" units. This shootout is particularly interesting as we compare hard drives at a similar price point of $ 120 each. Let's have a look.