Forums

OT: Disk choices

Started by D Yuniskis November 16, 2010
Hi,

Two of the projects I am working on require
metric buttloads of secondary storage.  Some for
online use, even more for offline/archival
purposes.

I've been using external USB drives so far.
Buying more of these just doesn't *feel* right
(why am I buying cases, controllers, power
supplies etc. when I just need the *drives*?)

So, I'm in the market for some 1-2T drives,
SATA no doubt.  I don't need speed demons.
Rather, I would like something that is going
to be reliable, and probably run cool (this
makes choice of enclosure less of an issue).

But, I've not bought "components" like this in
quite some time.  So, I'm looking for the
25c tour re: current technology as well as
recommendations (pro/con) re: vendors, models,
etc.

(sigh)  I realize this is going to be one of those
highly SUBJECTIVE issues with varying opinions and
personal experiences.  As such, I don't expect a
"right" answer -- just trying to get a feel for
where I should be looking.  (e.g., if everyone
started moaning about Blinkenlite XJT200's I would
probably go looking to see why it was such a *dog*!)

Thanks,
--don
D Yuniskis wrote:
> So, I'm in the market for some 1-2T drives,
There's effectively only three manufacturers. According to my friend in the video industry, the PVR is one of the main driving forces behind capacity and reliability, since many PVRs record continuously, sometimes two channels, while sometimes playing as well - very hard on drives. His opinion is that the manufacturers are leap- frogging one another every month or three, so which is best depends on where you buy in the cycle. That said, I like WD, and wouldn't have bought Seagate again after a bad support/warrantee experience, except last time, a laptop drive, was so much cheaper that I went with them. I don't know where Hitachi are wrt these two. If you want reliability, buy server-grade drives. They cost ~20% more, but have an MTBF a couple of orders of magnitude higher. Clifford Heath.
On Nov 16, 6:59=A0pm, D Yuniskis <not.going.to...@seen.com> wrote:

> Two of the projects I am working on require > metric buttloads of secondary storage. =A0Some for > online use, even more for offline/archival > purposes.
The short answer to this is: you don't rely on "a" drive, you buy at least two redundant storage arrays from different manufacturers. I had years of good service out of Seagate drives. Then I bought a 1.5TB drive that failed within weeks, and after Googling the model# found out that there were hundreds of others with the same issue, and a product recall from Seagate. Model A,B,C,D,E,F can be fine. Model G has a firmware bug, or someone forgot to do a Monte Carlo on the resistor values in it, and it becomes unreliable. Past history does NOT guarantee future performance.
Hi Clifford,

Clifford Heath wrote:
> D Yuniskis wrote: >> So, I'm in the market for some 1-2T drives, > > There's effectively only three manufacturers.
WD, Seacrate and the Deathstars?
> According to my friend in the video industry, > the PVR is one of the main driving forces behind > capacity and reliability, since many PVRs record > continuously, sometimes two channels, while > sometimes playing as well - very hard on drives.
I'll admit to being out-of-the-(consumer-)loop but I thought most PVR's used ~80G drives? (at least the ones I have torn apart)
> His opinion is that the manufacturers are leap- > frogging one another every month or three, so > which is best depends on where you buy in the > cycle.
I'm not really concerned about "best" as an absolute. Rather, trying to avoid *dogs*.
> That said, I like WD, and wouldn't have bought > Seagate again after a bad support/warrantee > experience, except last time, a laptop drive, > was so much cheaper that I went with them.
I have an assortment of WD and Seagate drives. I will admit that the criteria for buying each have been inconsistent. The last two external Seagates that I purchased "had issues" -- very long access times, "clicking", etc. So, they went right back to the store ("No, I don't care how good the warranty is... I don't want to go through the trouble of having to replace them *later*!") OTOH, I have a pair of 1.5T Seagates that have worked well. As have the WD's. [I really should consolidate all these but each system has its own hardware requirements, etc.] The only failed drives I have encountered have been Deathstars -- all in laptops (a bit more brutal of an environment?). And, to be fair, I have no idea if the laptops that have NOT had failed drives weren't ALSO deathstars (i.e., maybe Hitachi has a bigger share of the laptop market?).
> I don't know where Hitachi are wrt these two. > > If you want reliability, buy server-grade drives. > They cost ~20% more, but have an MTBF a couple > of orders of magnitude higher.
I guess I'm asking what sort of reliability people have experienced with these larger drives. None of my workstations have TB drives -- I think each of them have ~500G (typically spread over several spindles). The SB1000 I think only has ~40G internally. Even my arrays use small-ish drives :-/ Having that much on a single spindle is a mixture of scary and insane! :>
larwe wrote:
> On Nov 16, 6:59 pm, D Yuniskis <not.going.to...@seen.com> wrote: > >> Two of the projects I am working on require >> metric buttloads of secondary storage. Some for >> online use, even more for offline/archival >> purposes. > > The short answer to this is: you don't rely on "a" drive, you buy at > least two redundant storage arrays from different manufacturers. I had
Actually, I have found that to be unnecessary. I've converted all my arrays to JBOD's as the reliability of drives *seems* to be good enough (kept cool and not spinning needlessly) to not require that redundancy. I retired a 4T array a while back because it was just too much power/noise for too little "added reliability" -- 24 160G drives in a 3U case (I had it configured as a 3T RAID50 -- "reliability + speed"; as a RAID0/1 it was a bottomless pipe :> ). I've found that it is less work to just alternate drives. If *a* drive fails, you lose the most recent "whatever". But, the "whatever" before that is still available. This also gives you some protection against foot-shooting! [I don't keep drives spinning unless they are in use]
> years of good service out of Seagate drives. Then I bought a 1.5TB > drive that failed within weeks, and after Googling the model# found > out that there were hundreds of others with the same issue, and a > product recall from Seagate. > > Model A,B,C,D,E,F can be fine. Model G has a firmware bug, or someone > forgot to do a Monte Carlo on the resistor values in it, and it > becomes unreliable. Past history does NOT guarantee future > performance.
Clifford Heath wrote:

> That said, I like WD, and wouldn't have bought > Seagate again after a bad support/warrantee > experience, except last time, a laptop drive, > was so much cheaper that I went with them. > I don't know where Hitachi are wrt these two. > > If you want reliability, buy server-grade drives. > They cost ~20% more, but have an MTBF a couple > of orders of magnitude higher.
What he said. Exactly. I've been known to buy Seagate for temporary bulk storage, but won't trust anything but WD in my servers. YMMV.
Hi Jim,

Jim Stewart wrote:
> Clifford Heath wrote: > >> That said, I like WD, and wouldn't have bought >> Seagate again after a bad support/warrantee >> experience, except last time, a laptop drive, >> was so much cheaper that I went with them. >> I don't know where Hitachi are wrt these two. >> >> If you want reliability, buy server-grade drives. >> They cost ~20% more, but have an MTBF a couple >> of orders of magnitude higher. > > What he said. Exactly. > > I've been known to buy Seagate for temporary > bulk storage, but won't trust anything but WD > in my servers. YMMV.
Hmmm... I've got an assortment of drives in my servers (Compaq/Fujitsu, Maxtor/Seagate, WD, IBM/Hitachi, etc.) and have had good luck with all of them. Though none are SATA/PATA drives (FC, SCA, SCSI, etc.). Older and smaller than what you would find today -- but I think that probably works *against* them (power dissipation being higher/hotter). And, of course, the environment in the server boxes is much more conducive to long(er) life... OTOH, these external USB/FW drives look like bedwarmers! So, what's the deal with WD's "color scheme" (blue, black, green, pink-polka-dotted, etc.)?
On 2010-11-17, Clifford Heath <no@spam.please.net> wrote:
> D Yuniskis wrote: >> So, I'm in the market for some 1-2T drives, > > There's effectively only three manufacturers. > According to my friend in the video industry, > the PVR is one of the main driving forces behind > capacity and reliability, since many PVRs record > continuously, sometimes two channels, while > sometimes playing as well - very hard on drives. > His opinion is that the manufacturers are leap- > frogging one another every month or three, so > which is best depends on where you buy in the > cycle.
That was my first thought. I assume we're talking about consumer grade drives rather than enterprise units. I've installed a few Hitachi Cinemastar drives here, mainly for their acoustic properties and quoted reliabilty - the MTBF is in excess of 100 years but I'm not 100% sure I actually believe that. Performance is reasonable on balance - it seems with AV drives you lose a little in terms of access time but you gain in terms of true sustained transfer rates - you can read and write tens of gigbytes without them so much as burping. The drives I've installed here are 500GB units but no doubt they have bigger models in their range. -- Andrew Smallshaw andrews@sdf.lonestar.org
On Nov 16, 11:59=A0pm, D Yuniskis <not.going.to...@seen.com> wrote:
> Hi, > > Two of the projects I am working on require > metric buttloads of secondary storage. =A0Some for > online use, even more for offline/archival > purposes. > > I've been using external USB drives so far. > Buying more of these just doesn't *feel* right > (why am I buying cases, controllers, power > supplies etc. when I just need the *drives*?) > > So, I'm in the market for some 1-2T drives, > SATA no doubt. =A0I don't need speed demons. > Rather, I would like something that is going > to be reliable, and probably run cool (this > makes choice of enclosure less of an issue). > > But, I've not bought "components" like this in > quite some time. =A0So, I'm looking for the > 25c tour re: current technology as well as > recommendations (pro/con) re: vendors, models, > etc. > > (sigh) =A0I realize this is going to be one of those > highly SUBJECTIVE issues with varying opinions and > personal experiences. =A0As such, I don't expect a > "right" answer -- just trying to get a feel for > where I should be looking. =A0(e.g., if everyone > started moaning about Blinkenlite XJT200's I would > probably go looking to see why it was such a *dog*!) > > Thanks, > --don
Rather than take a statistically useless poll from usenet can I suggest you type "google drive reliability" into google. You will be surprised at how open google, the biggest user of drives in the world, are. I was in the drive test business a while back (as in testing circa a million drives a year). It all boils down to :- Enterprise drives are not inherently more reliable, they just tend to get cooled better and use lower magnetic densities on otherwise identical mechanicals. The failure rate is not a bathtub. After infant mortality the probability of failure is constant. The older it is the more times you have rolled the dice. Colin
Hi Colin,

colin_toogood@yahoo.com wrote:
> On Nov 16, 11:59 pm, D Yuniskis <not.going.to...@seen.com> wrote: >> (sigh) I realize this is going to be one of those >> highly SUBJECTIVE issues with varying opinions and >> personal experiences. As such, I don't expect a >> "right" answer -- just trying to get a feel for >> where I should be looking. (e.g., if everyone >> started moaning about Blinkenlite XJT200's I would >> probably go looking to see why it was such a *dog*!) > > Rather than take a statistically useless poll from usenet can I > suggest you type "google drive reliability" into google. You will be > surprised at how open google, the biggest user of drives in the world, > are.
Perhaps I am a bit naive but I think "the biggest user of drives in the world" is *probably* treated considerably differently in terms of pricing, support and return/repair policy than a guy looking to buy half a dozen drives. :> As such, I suspec the "statistically useless poll from USENET" will likely yield more *practical* information to (hopefully) help me avoid "buying lemons". While my cold aisle is probably around the same temperature as that in googles "container" data centers, I don't spend the resources that they do (nor the manpower). I also suspect my usage patterns would be more in tune with those of folks here than a firm whose drives are hammered on 24/7/365.
> I was in the drive test business a while back (as in testing circa a > million drives a year). It all boils down to :- > Enterprise drives are not inherently more reliable, they just tend to > get cooled better and use lower magnetic densities on otherwise > identical mechanicals. > The failure rate is not a bathtub. After infant mortality the > probability of failure is constant. The older it is the more times you > have rolled the dice.
I suspect there is a difference between drives run continuously vs. drives spun up and down repeatedly.