Driving me crazy …

October 2, 2013

I’m constantly asked the question: “what drives should I use?” Well these days I, like many others, am struggling to answer that question.

I talk to drive vendors on a regular basis and they are constantly releasing new drives – but sometimes even they seem to struggle with the marketing naming conventions and the different types of drives being released into the channel. It is true that some drives are released because there is a perceived market segment, and that some drives are built for other customers (eg OEM) and released into Channel because someone thinks it’s a good idea, but in the end the result is a bit of confusion on the part of the poor people trying to work out which drives to use for their day to day server builds.

SSD has a wide range of so-called performance stats and a wide range of prices (even from the one vendor). 5900, 7200, 10K RPM – and that’s just in SATA. Then add SAS to the mix in 7200, 10K and 15K. What about “Hybrid” drives? Oh, by the way, mix in a good dose of 2.5” vs 3.5”, some naming conventions like “NAS, Desktop, Workstation, Datacenter, Audio Video, Cloud, Enterprise, Video” and you have a wonderful mix that confuses the living daylights out of end users and system builders. Did I forget to mention 3gb, 6gb and now 12gb drives hitting the market?

Soon ordering a drive will be like waiting in line at the local café … I’ll have a “triple venti caramel machiatto with whip skim milk and cinnamon”. Now if I hear that in front of me I think “w^%%&er”! But listening to a team of system engineers work out what is the correct drive for the particular customer requirement doesn’t sound too much different.

Try googling “making sense of hard drives” and you won’t get much help. Try working your way through the vendor websites and you are not much better off. So how do you do it? I ring my mates in the industry and even they struggle with all the new models and naming conventions from the marketing teams … so I wonder what the real industry does to work out what you should be using? I’d be interested to hear.

Oh, and by the way, I forgot to take into account the “thickness” of the drive (as opposed to the “thickness” of some of the promotional material :-))

Ciao
Neil

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