What the difference between Server Class SATA HD (nearline)  and Cheap Costumer SATA HD? and the GREEN series alternative.

Posted on 2010-01-01
Last Modified: 2013-11-14
I always heard about that the SATA Nearline HDs are better because they are made for servers, its have longer MTBF and a lot of bla bla bla.

I am really skeptical, i have in my test environment a 120gb SATA that is more than 6 years online in 24x7

I never put in production a cheap class SATA HD, but i cant see real concrete advantages in Nearline SATA HDs

So, a want to know the technical explanations about the Nearline SATA HDs, until now, for me is more than a market label that a real product build

If possible, its enjoyable some analyses about it

If we think in new GREEN Sata HDs, the 5900 RPM ones, the concept in some way follow the NEARLINE series, with more focus in power consumption.

The less RPM can be translated in more durability?

By the price of TB capacity, i am really thinking about put a RAID 1 or 10 array of Green SATA HDs in cases that the constantly access are little comparable with the need of storage data .

I am always open to suggestions.

Thank you    
Question by:DUX_NEKRON
    LVL 46

    Accepted Solution

    First, your sample size is one disk, so this is less than significant.

    Server class (or enterprise class) disks have following characteristics
     * Duty cycle 24x7x365 vs typical 2400 hrs/year
     * ECC corrects typically 100x better
     * Enhanced firmware that does things like re-read bad-blocks automatically and try to correct them.
     * Greater burn-in (fewer DOA units), better components (better AFR)

    The Seagate, WD, and Fujitsu and other drive vendors web sites use enterprise and sever class drives interchangeably, just look at the marketing and specs, and they will mention which drives they make are suitable for servers.

    RPMs have nothing to do with durability, in as of itself.

    The NEARLINE term is a bit fuzzy, as back when SATA disks came out, the big joke was that NONE of them are suitable to be put online 24x7, so that is why the industry came up with NEARLINE.  It was meant as a joke/insult to their suitability for use.  Originally the pros saw them as being suitable as cheap replacement as offline archive.


    Author Closing Comment

    Thanks dlethe, you give a good reply and another important concept: Annualized Failure Rate (AFR) now when i ll choose a HD, i ll look for this important detail.

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