Harddrive Usage

brdrescher
brdrescher used Ask the Experts™
on
I was told by Western Digital that their Velociraptor Drives were considered enterprise drives and could be used in a raid 1 config for my operating system.  I was told by an expert here that they should not be used.  I would welcome some conversation.
Comment
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
DavidPresident
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
WDCs own website shows the raptors as desktop/workstation, not enterprise.  But read the specs for yourself.
http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/library/SpecSheet/ENG/2879-701282.pdf

You'll note that the data sheet doesn't mention 24x7x365, or even suitability for RAID use.
But look at an enterprise drive, and you see they go out of their way to mention both the 24x7x365 and how those disks have TLER which is a firmware feature designed to make them play nice with RAID controllers.

The problem is this drive firmware is simply not architected for RAID use. It can lock up longer than a RAID controller is willing to wait during error recovery.

(So ask yourself why the bozo who answered the phone is changing the operational specs and intended use in such a way that is different from the written documentation, let alone engineering product manuals).

If these were designed for server use, then why don't the raptors have all the nice firmware features that all the other WDC server class drives have???

Author

Commented:
They are the Gen 3's.  Which the rep did say are now considered enterprise.
They are already purchased so I hope I don't regret it.  I appreciate your feedback.

http://wdc.custhelp.com/ci/fattach/get/344761/0/session/L2F2LzEvdGltZS8xMzc3MjEyODQwL3NpZC9FTm5IcHJ5bA==/filename/Velociraptor+%282012%29+Specifications.pdf

Author

Commented:
[WD response]
After I received your reply, I decided to look into the issue to see what changes have been made to the newer generation of the Velociraptor drives. The change from Enterprise to Workstation was really driven by the utilization of Advanced Format to drive higher areal density and align capacity points with traditional client-type capacity points. AF is an issue in older servers that still support 512n-sector I/O, so unilateral support in Enterprise is not possible. Workstations typically utilize the latest OS and applications that are AF-friendly. It’s important to note that the fundamental design of VelociRaptor remains unchanged – still has TLER, RAFF, other enterprise-like robustness - and maintains many of the same specs as the previous generation.
The change from Enterprise also allows us to clarify our Enterprise positioning. VelociRaptor confused many of our enterprise customers. With this move, our 2.5" 10K SAS becomes our focused Tier 1 Enterprise product, consistent with the positioning of other suppliers
DavidPresident
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
You will be hard-pressed to find a RAID controller that supports AF drives.  (Well, supports in the sense that it will not run unbearably slow and has been qualified).  Since you are stuck with these drives, you need to run a non-RAID controller and use your O/S to do the mirroring.
President
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
P.S.  the data sheets do not reflect this functionality.  If the disks do have these features, then why are the marketeers not advertising all these bells and whistles?

I would ask them to send you a detailed official spec or product manual for this particular part number to "insure to yourself that your data won't be at risk so you won't have to return those drives".

How many times do sales and marketing fail to advertise desirable features of a product that people pay a premium to obtain??

I'd really push for something official because this conflicts with everything else on the WD site.

Author

Commented:
I agree. In fact marketing has a tendency to embellish if anything. I have requested a spec sheet to verify the statement. I'm learning more about hardware today so thank you. To be continued...

Author

Commented:
Also could you recommend a backup software to use for a bare metal backup.
DavidPresident
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Any particular operating system?   But no matter what, you can create a bootable usb stick with linux on it, then use one of the freebie partition cloning packages such as partition magic to do this..

Author

Commented:
Windows SBS 2011. I know it may sound odd but since graduating with a bachelor of computer science in 99. I've never had to do a bare metal backup. If workstation drives failed I would just replace drives and reload os and the 3 or 4 programs they ran. I've never had a server fail and I've always wanted to do it just to have done it but I never wanted to take the chance. Would you be willing guide me through the process. I have decommissioned sbs2003 server I could experiment with.
DavidPresident
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Better to ask a question specific to backing up in one of the MSFT threads.  I don't have anything written up that walks somebody through such things, but I expect people who hang out in such threads have something they have already written to help you.

Author

Commented:
If you go back to the archives and look at the spec sheets on the original Raptors.  They were marketed as enterprise and do include the specifications consistent with western digitals response.  I did use the boards raid functionality to create the raid 1 per your recommendation and have consistent reads around 150MB per second.  I then used (4X)WD 2TB enterprise drives with an Intel RS2WC040 raid card and created a raid 10. Getting Read speeds around 250MB per second.  In Windows server SBS 2011 should I convert that virtual storage drive to GPT disk or just create a new simple volume. I know we've gone back and forth a lot but I will award you the points in case you were wondering.
DavidPresident
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
thanks for the follow-up.

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial