How to Choose a Hard Drive -

How to Choose a Hard Drive


How Real-World Numbers Make the Case for SSDs in the Data Center

As you can see there are a lot more caveats on SSD storage than there are on enterprise storage. The write budget numbers remind me of what I noted earlier in this article, that consumer hard drives have a write budget that – of course – is much lower than these SSDs.

Choosing a Hard Drive: Bottom Line

In my mind there is a great deal more to picking a hard drive than just the price. Vendors write specifications (at least some of them do) to allow us to better understand where the drive will best fit. Of course every vendor has had a manufacturing problems where a lot of the line of hard drives has had problem.

The enormity of the testing that is done on hard drives is pretty darn impressive, while at the same time the enormity of the usage models grows faster than the testing can environments can be updated. Even if the vendors could test all the software environments, there is still the hardware or software defect issue and no process is perfect. But for anyone that has been around awhile, the number of problems today as compared to say 1994 is far, far less.

Choosing a hard drive requires attention to detail about the drive and about how you are going to use it. The how you are going to use it is a big deal, as it is not just the application reads and write but also includes the file system, file system layout for thing such as logs, the storage controller or appliance framework, the protocols and even something as simples the number of failures you have.

Think about this if you have a RAID device with SSDs with a write budget and one drive fails. You have to spend a lot of time and writes rebuilding parity or re-mirroring. This is something you might not have thought about when calculating your write budget. The whole concept of a write budget was unheard of 5 years ago except for a few people serious about flash drives.

Now we are starting to see this concept applied to consumer spinning disk and, with hybrid drives in the future, who knows. All of this means that we are going to need to spend more time thinking about drives for every problem from consumer to enterprise drives, and think about how these boxes will really be used to make sure we get the right drive for the right job.

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