Since the birth of the computer, the hard disk drive has been an essential part of this machine. However, not many people know about this part well, especially people that are not working in the IT field. Therefore, in today’s article, we would like to tell you more about the types of this product and how to choose the right hard disk drive for your servers. Let’s get started!
Types Of Hards Disk Drive
A hard disk drive is defined as an electro-mechanical data-saving device. It is applied to store digital data due to magnetic storage features. This tool is created from four major components:
- The platters: functions as a disk to store the data
- The spindle: the unit that keeps the platter in the precise position and rotates if needed
- The Read/Write arm: helps users adjust the read/write head to move to a proper position following how data should get written/read
- The actuator part: controls the read/write arm with the guide from the circuit management board and is involved in the data transferring process of the platters
The Sorts Of Drive
Hard drivers are divided into four main types:
– Parallel advanced technology attachment (PATA)
– Serial ATA
– Small computer system interface (SCSI)
– Solid-state drive (SSD)
– Serial attached SCSI (SAS)
Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment (PATA)
PATA is one of the hard drives that was born earliest, and it was defined as the interface unit used to connect the computer with the hard drive. We would call them hard drive connector types. These units can utilize up to 40 or 80 wire ribbon cables and at the same time transfer parallel information in 16-bit pockets.
Serial ATA (SATA)
SATA is an updated version of PATA following its better performance. Compared to PATA, this unit can transfer more data (up to 150-300 megabytes per second). Furthermore, it consumes less power (only 250mV) as opposed to PATA (5V).
If you pay a bit more attention, you will see the SATA cables are much thinner and more flexible than the PATA ones. And this feature is different from producer to producer. Also, we always consult our customers to spend more money on server-grade drives as they provide a higher cycle of duty.
Most SATA drives can be applied around 10-20 percent of the time. On the contrary, the server hard drives can work much heavier. The percentage 100% of the time used for a server drive is impossible!
Small Computer System Interface (SCSI)
These products are applied to connect various peripheral devices like printers, scanners, hard drivers, etc. The great feature of this unit is users can use it to connect internally and externally for their devices.
The Solid-state Drive (SSD)
We would say this is one of the latest hard drive types as it doesn’t possess the moving parts. You can find this unit popular in modern laptops and mobile phones. If you pay attention, you can find some updates in these items’ structures as the flash memory chips are being used instead of storing data. Therefore, manufacturers create an additional device to make this unit compatible with different devices.
Serial Attached SCSI (SAS)
This special hard disk drive type provides very high speed (up to 15000 Round Per Minute). This unit is applied to store data only.
The five sorts of hard disk drives might make users confused. To be clearer, PATA is mostly used for home computers and industrial systems, which requires reliability and stable performance. Meanwhile, SAS is more adaptable to the SCSI servers.
SAS and SATA unit in one system
So between SAS and SATA, which one is better? Generally, a SAS interface offers a larger bandwidth than a SATA one. But since the birth of SATA III, this factor has changed. The third generation of SATA provides a maximum bandwidth of 6 GB/s.
Nowadays, this number has increased up to 12 GB/s. When it comes to connection, the SAS unit strictly requires a proper controller. Also, the SAS controller can be adaptable with SATA drives.
This unit satisfies both reading and writing commands. Meanwhile, the SATA drive can do either one of the functions.
Get back to our question above, if you are looking for a drive to store the data, SATA drives are good options. Otherwise, SAS will help your subsystem work faster.
The Raid Types
Well, following different types of hard disk drives is various sort of raid level. This definition can be understood as the data storage combination of multiple physical disk drives together into one unit. There are a few raid levels that adaptable with various situations, details as following:
– Level 0: Stripping situation
– Level 1: Mirroring situation
– Level 5: Striping with parity
– Level 6: Striping with double parity
– Level 10: The combination of mirroring and stripping
The Raid level 6 is combined with at least four hard drives. It helps store data of one drive in the different one, and it allows to prevent 2 drive failures at the same time. The good side of parity data is it allows the recovery of lost data. Therefore, it makes the data security of this level.
How To Choose The Right Hard Disk Drive For Your Servers- Detailed Guide
A hard disk drive is called a good one based on many factors. It can be its structure, the brand, the type of server you are using, or manufacturing techniques. In this part, we will walk you through the main conditions that help you to choose the best hard drive for server. Let’s read in detail!
Сhoose The Correct Interface
When it comes to interface, users can either choose PATA or SATA types. Each one has its typical features. From our experience, you should select a PATA drive while updating a system with a SATA shortage. Meanwhile, when you choose to use SATA interfaces, it will provide a faster time seeking and a larger data buffer.
One of the great features is both the SATA and PATA interfaces offer a wide range of hard drives for customers to choose from. These drives are different from each other in appearance, power connection, and data.
Two Seagate hard drives (PATA and SATA interfaces)
From our experience, choose the suitable style of the hard drive depending on what you are looking for in a system.
Buy The Right Capacity Drive
Many users tend to buy the hard disk drive with the largest capacity possible. Besides giving a large amount of space to storage, it brings users some problems too. The bigger the drive capacity is, the more gigabytes they will require and the lower the working mechanism it will have.
We could say the midsize drives perform much better. Thus, except you are needing a huge space to store files, buy the midsize disk drive! It will be cheaper somehow and work faster than the bigger one.
Get A Model With Large Cache If It Doesn’t Cost Much More
A hard drive for server applies buffer memory to strengthen its performance. A normal drive generally offers a 2-megabyte cache, while mainstream units offer an 8-megabyte cache. And the maximum cache is compatible with the high-performance 16 megabytes only.
In our opinion, users should buy a drive model with a larger cache instead of purchasing many drives with different small ones. Remember that the larger the cache is, the faster its presentation will be!
Pay Attention To Power Consumption And Noise Level
The additional features that consumers can use to differentiate the various drives from each other are noise level and power consumption. Generally, these indicators are written on the technical specifications paper given by manufacturers. If a driver uses more power, it will create more heat, which also increases the noise level. Thus, it’s better to utilize a drive that is energy-efficient and quiet.
Avoid Regular Consumer-Based HDDs
This might be an additional feature that we would like to advise drive buyers, as many of them might put on the drive ideal conditions. Spending a bit of time to know about these products before purchasing will get you to pick up the best one. For example, a regular hard disk drive possesses a high rate of non-recoverable error. Also, it doesn’t support Raid-controller orders. A server hard drive has more benefits than the regular one, details as below:
– It provides additional vibration control.
– The spindle shaft withstands shock better and vibrations.
– Good self-diagnostics software gives notifications timely.
A part of buyers will pay attention to the drive sizes as it defines the capacity of the server and energy consumption.
There are two sizes of these products available on the market: 3,5 inches (LFF) and 2,5 inches (SFF).
The 3,5 inches units are used popularly as it helps store a big amount of data. The drawback of this size is it requires a bigger power than the smaller ones. The good news is this one has a very good ratio of GB, and users can buy them at an affordable price following the capacity of storage.
The 2,5 inches drives are mostly used for laptops. Although possessing smaller sizes, they require less power than their bigger peers. Its capacity is approximately 2TB. So it is just fine for you to store a certain amount of information.
Choosing The Brand
Last but not least, we always recommend our readers to check whether the manufacturer is reputable before buying any product. A well-known producer or seller will provide you high-quality items with their best customer service. Some manufacturers use third parties for their drives like HP, DELL, and IBM. They only purchase products from other suppliers and put logos on them, which brings them many advantages:
– Firmware provides a wide range of features of different server models
– Additional quality control with the tests of stress decline the risk of containing hidden defects within the products.
– Manufacturers offer good warranty time and customer service from vendors.
Many users have to buy a native hard drive at an expensive price, which is even higher than the cost of one produced by non-native manufacturers but with a logo on them. From our experience, several non-native items operate with no difficulties on:
– HP servers: at least from the 6th generation
– IBM servers: at least with the M2 generation
– Dell servers: From the 10th generations
And lastly, if you ask us which brand is the most reputable one? The answer is Hitachi drives are the most reliable, followed by Western Digital. And Seagate holds third place!
Factors That Users Don’t Need To Pay Attention
Below we will list the factors that you can leave behind while shopping for server hard drives:
Length Of Warranty
Most customers pay attention to the warranty while purchasing goods, especially technical products. The more expensive, the longer the guaranteed time is. But things are not the same on the drive market! Samsung gives their drive a standard warranty time of one year. Meanwhile, manufacturers of mainstream drives offer around three years. In our experience, about four years is a regular time for a drive replacement.
MTBF is an abbreviation for Mean Time Between Failures. In other words, it is a technical measure of products’ reliability. It means how long you will use the product.
All modern drives have possessed a very high MTBF rating. However, it might be a bit unreasonable for some products to work for decades without any repairs.
We also have observed that consumers mostly replace their drives because they are getting full. And users are advised to ignore this rating when purchasing a hard drive and pay more attention to other indicators.
MTTR is short for Mean Time To Repair. Like MTBF, this is also a technical measure to count the using time of the drives before getting fixed for the first time.
The point is server hard drives are not that expensive. When you need to change them, do it! Make sure you save all data before doing so, as no agent is allowed to transfer information from dead drives. And last but not least, don’t focus on the MTTR indicator while shopping for this item!
This rating stands for the ability of the drive to withstand being dropped on hard surfaces. It is measured in gravities (G). Generally, a laptop drive has a higher shock rating than a regular computer’s one. These units can be broken when you try to break them with a strong enough force. Thus, the shocking rate should not be the major condition for you to consider before selecting suitable servers hard drives for your desktops.
The Bottom Line!
Well, things might sound a bit complicated when it comes to choosing a suitable hard disk drive for your servers, especially to newbies in the Information Technology field. Also, different buyers have their own opinions while purchasing a product. Therefore, this article doesn’t aim to force you to select a specific drive but tends to give you the best advice. And we hope this article was helpful to you. Have a great time shopping!