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Hard Disk Drives

Hard Disk Drives

The hard disk is the main data storage device for your computer. Hard disks are generally located in fixed bays within the computer chassis. Some disks are hot-pluggable, meaning they can be removed and replaced while the machine is running, and the operating system will recognize the new disk without rebooting. Current generation hard disks range in size from 8GB to 146GB, although smaller and larger drives can be found. The most commonly used interfaces for hard drives are ATA (IDE or EIDE) and SCSI.

When selecting internal disk drive storage for your PowerEdge server, you have two options - ATA (or IDE) or SCSI. ATA is the de facto disk drive technology widely used for desktops and notebooks. ATA is also suitable for utility server functions, such as gateway, domain, and low-end file/print or caching servers. However, ATA is not optimized for running primary server applications on busy networks, especially as businesses expand and usage increases.

For E-mail, database, and web servers, all with high usage, performance is needed to keep your business productive and profitable. SCSI disk drive technology is quite often a more suitable choice than ATA in these cases for a variety of reasons: SCSI disk drives handle more requests per bus, deliver higher performance (faster maximum throughput) and spin faster to find and deliver information more quickly.

There are many different types of hard disk drive but the main differentiators are price and performance although reliability is also a factor that should be considered. Higher performing drives tend to cost more than lower performance drives. The most common types of hard disk are:
  • Serial ATA (SATA)
  • Serial Attached SCSI (SAS)
  • Fibre Channel
  • SCSI

SATA drives have become popular in RAID arrays where multiple drives are used to ensure redundancy in the event of any single drive failing. They have reasonable performance for most applications and can be considered in all but the most performance demanding and mission critical environments.

SAS drives are relatively new and are beginning to be used in many applications where SATA drives were used. This is due to their better performance reliability at minimal price overhead.

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