Are SAS 4Kn Drives ready for Prime Time?

I started looking the other day at SAS 4Kn drives for servers. I was told they are the latest and greatest and sooner or later everything will be 4Kn. The first thing I noticed was a lack of stock. I figured it might be because 4Kn drives were just too new. Then I found an article back in Jan of 2014 saying they were rare because they were so new. So here we are over 3 years later (almost 4) and they still don't appear to be main stream at least if you base it on stock.

   Then you look at Seagate. They make a SED-FIPS and a SED model. HGST makes an ISE, SE, BDE and TCG FIPS model. That begs the question "is there a standard"?

   So between the lack of stock and the different manufactures having different versions I have to ask if it is really a sound idea going to 4Kn? Why the lack of stock and different versions?
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LockDown32OwnerAsked:
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Because businesses are very slow to upgrade their controllers and use controllers that support 4Kn
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DavidPresidentCommented:
The 4Kn drives are absolute necessity
 - higher throughput
 - much lower latency
 - significantly less overhead  (all sorts of delays and overhead for every IO, with 4K sectored drives you will, by definition have fewer I/Os

Plus the disks and SSDs themselves are already formatted internally that way.
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LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
The lack of discussion and the lack of inventory scare me a little. There is a big difference between being slow to adopt and flat out not adopting. If 4Kn has been out for 4-5 years it sure seems like it might be a spec that just didn't catch on.

   Still sounds like 512N might be a safer bet?
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Look, the 4Kn drives are what EMC, IBM, HDS, NetApp and all the big boys use in the appliances and dedicated storage systems.

 Respectfully, the only reason that there is a "lack of discussion" is that you just aren't talking to people who deal with storage every day.  You're probably taking to PC people and distributors that support low-volume VARs.
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LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
Actually David the "lack of discussion" I was referring to was here at EE LOL! You and David Johnston are the only two people that had input. I read a white paper from Dell/EMC just yesterday. It was dated mid 2016 and still stated that there are some things that are incompatible with 4Kn. About the last thing I want to do is beta test :) So you feel that 4Kn is find in Windows 2016 Servers?
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LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
What I did find out from calling Seagate is that these drives have only been on the market since mid-October. That would explain why no one has them in stock.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Look, this discussion isn't much different than if you were asking if 64-bit CPUs were ready for prime time in servers maybe 2 years ago for just some of the reasons I reported earlier.

If your controller (assuming you are not  using software-based RAID) supports native 4K sectored drive, and your O/S is; and filesystems aligned on 4K sectors; and your filesystem is aligned on 4K multiple; and your filesystem is capable of doing aligned I/O in multiples of 4K, then go for it

Otherwise, if it is just a matter of backing up and restoring a filesystem on an appropriately reconfigured filesystem, then use those drives.   (Or if starting from scratch, absolutely use them).

If however, you have older legacy stuff, and used with 2048byte NTFS, as example, and don't want to deal with a backup/reconfigure/restore, then don't use the drives
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