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For First Three Years, Consumer Hard Drives As Reliable As Enterprise Drives

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the good-luck-convincing-management dept.

Data Storage 270

nk497 writes "Consumer hard drives don't fail any more often than enterprise-grade hardware — despite the price difference. That's according to online storage firm Backblaze, which uses a mix of both types of drive. It studied its own hardware, finding consumer hard-drives had a failure rate of 4.2%, while enterprise-grade drives failed at a rate of 4.6%. CEO Gleb Budman noted: 'It turns out that the consumer drive failure rate does go up after three years, but all three of the first three years are pretty good,' he notes. 'We have no data on enterprise drives older than two years, so we don't know if they will also have an increase in failure rate. It could be that the vaunted reliability of enterprise drives kicks in after two years, but because we haven't seen any of that reliability in the first two years, I'm skeptical.'"

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Common knowledge (-1, Troll)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#45597787)

I thought this was already common knowledge. "Enterprise" drives are just a way to separate stupid people from their money. Sort of like "premium" gasoline.

Re:Common knowledge (3, Informative)

cmseagle (1195671) | about a year ago | (#45597851)

What? There's absolutely difference between 87 octane and 92+ octane. While many high end cars are able to compensate for this difference by sacrificing efficiency, it's certainly not wise to put the lower grade gasoline in a high performance vehicle. Not a good analogy at all.

Re:Common knowledge (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45597963)

For my car.

87 octane = 250 miles per tank
92 octane = 320 per tank

Yeah there is a bit of a difference...

It is an easy test to do. But even easier for people to snark off about it.

Re:Common knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598053)

Of course the more interesting quantity is miles per dollar. So if you divide those values by dollars/tank, what do you get?

Re:Common knowledge (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598133)

Fuck off you nigger.

Re:Common knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598321)

Let's assume a 10 gallon tank, and $1/gal for 87 and $1.20/gal for 92 (typical price difference in the US). It takes $10 to fill up on 87, $12 on 92. $10 / 250 miles = $0.04 per mile. $12 / 320 miles = $0.0375 per mile. So yes, there is a cost savings, though, very small per mile. You'll typically see some wear and tear (read: maintenance) savings on the engine as well, since there should be less build-up, etc. due to the higher octane.

Of course, that all assume the GP's numbers are true.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about a year ago | (#45598951)

Let's assume a 10 gallon tank, and $1/gal for 87 and $1.20/gal for 92 (typical price difference in the US). It takes $10 to fill up on 87, $12 on 92. $10 / 250 miles = $0.04 per mile. $12 / 320 miles = $0.0375 per mile. So yes, there is a cost savings, though, very small per mile. You'll typically see some wear and tear (read: maintenance) savings on the engine as well, since there should be less build-up, etc. due to the higher octane.

Of course, that all assume the GP's numbers are true.

Well we know that your numbers are not. Good luck finding premium gas at $.20 higher than regular. It's usually more like $.30 - $.40 higher, at least.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

mlts (1038732) | about a year ago | (#45598199)

For some vehicles, a tuner can have a setting where one needs 92 octane... but the MPG gains are significant enough to offset the higher cost for premium.

However, this is definitely a YMMV item in the literal sense.

Re:Common knowledge (4, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#45598015)

What? There's absolutely difference between 87 octane and 92+ octane.

For 99% of cars, there is no difference. Unless a car is specifically designed to use a higher compression ratio, there is no benefit whatsoever to a higher octane rating. Besides, you are assuming that the premium gas actually has a higher octane rating. Years ago, it actually cost more to make high octane gas. Today the octane rating can be tweaked with cheap additives. So it is common to just make it all 92, then just use one tanker truck to make the delivery and just fill all the tanks with identical gas.

Re:Common knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598139)

> Unless a car is specifically designed to use a higher compression ratio...snip ... Which is a large number of higher end vehicles coming out of europe and aisa.

Re:Common knowledge (4, Informative)

SpaceManFlip (2720507) | about a year ago | (#45598191)

Source on the tanker claim?

Also FYI the octane requirement can be related to timing advance, where a lower-compression turbocharged engine with more advanced timing would need higher octane gas to make longer burns from each spark (higher octane gas burns longer than lower octane gas). The earlier spark sets off a longer-burn time of gas timed to the timing, needing the longer-burn ability of the 92+ octane. An old simple truck with 0 BDC timing would be happy with 87 octane, where a newer engine with 15 BDC timing advance would be better with 92+ octane.

Fuck this is way off topic from hard drives, sorry. Just needed to fill in some missing info.

As for hard drives, the more, the better. RAID is for safety now, and SSD's are for speed where we used to have RAID-0. ETC

Re:Common knowledge (1)

Amouth (879122) | about a year ago | (#45598775)

Source on the tanker claim?

Also FYI the octane requirement can be related to timing advance, where a lower-compression turbocharged engine with more advanced timing would need higher octane gas to make longer burns from each spark (higher octane gas burns longer than lower octane gas). The earlier spark sets off a longer-burn time of gas timed to the timing, needing the longer-burn ability of the 92+ octane. An old simple truck with 0 BDC timing would be happy with 87 octane, where a newer engine with 15 BDC timing advance would be better with 92+ octane.

While you are correct your numbers are off.. i haven't seen a car thats less than 10 years old with timing at 0 BDC or retard.. a naturally aspirated 90's miata runs 36 advance, and you can safely take that to 39 advance on 93oct and into the low 40's with 100oct

Re:Common knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598193)

It is ironic that we have poor math skills displayed by Nerds on slashdot. Turbo charged cars and supercharged cars both have a higher compression ratio than naturally aspirated cars. Turbo charged cars represent more than 1% of cars sold today. QED, you are demonstrably incorrect. Actually, two of my naturally aspirated cars have compression ratios in excess of 11:1, and specifically require premium.

Premium gas does have a higher octane rating - it shows right there on the pump as well as the method used to calculate it. Can you provide support for your contention that what says 87 octane on the pump is actually 92 octane?

Re:Common knowledge (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about a year ago | (#45598307)

There are multiple tanks within that gasoline tanker so it isn't just one single ~15,000 gallon tank. Most of those trucks have 4 tanks with 2 or 3 being filled with the 87 octane 1 filled with the premium grade and sometimes one filled with mid grade. Also I haven't seen an invoice from the refinery stating that what was delivered was all the same octane as the prices were broken down by octane. Then again I haven't worked at a gas station in 15 years so practices may have changed but if such a thing is happening they it seems like a perfect case for a state Attorney General to get involved in.

Re:Common knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598411)

sorry buddy. Mid grade is mixed ON SITE at the gas station. It is a mix of the regular grade and the premium. The pumps do the mixing themselves.

Re:Common knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598451)

You're wrong. Let me tell you why.

1) There is a large difference between octane ratings. Octane is a burn inhibitor. The simplest explanation is that 87 octane gas has a lower flash-point than 91 octane gas (never seen 92 on the label at the pump, it's always 87-89-91 for the three grades of fuel at the pump). A low-compression engine is going to lag terribly when you step on the pedal with 91 octane gas in the tank because the energy output per volume is lowered by the octane inhibiting the reaction. A high-compression engine is going to knock like a SOB with 87 octane gas because the fuel is going to ignite from piston compression before the spark fires, and, more importantly, before the crankshaft has fully come around. And if you think the 4-point difference between the grades of gas can't be all that much of a difference, think again. AvGas is typically only in the 105-120 range, and it's used in turbine engines with compression levels that would reduce a car's ICE to shrapnel.

2) The octane rating can be tweaked upward by adding octane. Shocker. The cost of doing that on an industrial scale is not zero. It does cost something to add it. Removing it is an even more expensive process.

3) Delivery tankers can (and do) have multiple compartments. Just because it's one truck doesn't mean it isn't hauling multiple types of cargo. Your assertion is almost as absurd as saying the same thing about a non-liquid delivery truck. Think if every UPS truck was required to only haul one type of boxed item. Traffic would suck, to say the least.

4) The expense of having underground tanks certified by the DNR would be far simpler if it was just one tank. That isn't the case, because there are multiple grades of fuel in those tanks. Building a gas station and maintaining DNR certification for the tanks would be hella simple (in comparison to what it is now) if there was only one type of fuel.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

geekboybt (866398) | about a year ago | (#45598679)

> AvGas is typically only in the 105-120 range, and it's used in turbine engines with compression levels that would reduce a car's ICE to shrapnel.

No. Standard avgas is 100LL (100 Octane, low lead). It's just like gasoline from the auto pumps, but the octane level is higher and there's still some lead in it, where the auto industry is fully unleaded. (There are some aircraft that can handle lower-octane mogas, but they're rare.)

Turbine engines typically use Jet-A, which is a diesel-like, kerosene based fuel.

Re:Common knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45597879)

While I'd support an argument that the price difference between regular and premium gas is too great given its effects I'd say that arguing there is no measurable difference in their effects is beyond silly.

Re:Common knowledge (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#45597973)

ust a way to separate stupid people from their money. Sort of like "premium" gasoline.

Depends entirely on your car.

For many cars, premium/high octane gas does very little. For higher-end cars and sports cars, it can make a huge difference.

And then on the really high-end there's a reason they make racing fuel (118 octane), because it makes a huge difference for some things.

A 1996 Buick, not so much. A Porsche or something like that, I bet it makes a huge difference -- both in performance and engine longevity.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

ppanon (16583) | about a year ago | (#45598171)

Even my old 4-banger (gutless) 1997 Saturn SL1 sees a difference in pickup between 87 and 89 octane fuels when at highway speeds.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year ago | (#45598437)

Even my old 4-banger (gutless) 1997 Saturn SL1 sees a difference in pickup between 87 and 89 octane fuels when at highway speeds.

Don't believe you. You know that there is less energy in a gallon of higher-octane fuel than a gallon of lower-octane fuel, right? Higher efficiency and power through increased compression ratio and more advanced timing provides a net benefit to cars that require higher-octane fuel, but no advantage to cars that are not tuned to use the higher-octane fuel.

Re:Common knowledge (2)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#45598477)

No it doesn't. You utterly fail to understand what the octane rating means. The engine in your saturn would in no way benefit from the higher octane rating. It could in fact run without noticing a problem with a significantly lower octane rating. Octane ratings matter in high compression engines or turbo/supercharged engines, not in econobox.

Re:Common knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598273)

Buick nerd here:

It might actually matter greatly on your 1996 Buick, as there were some available with the L67 engine, which is a 3.8L V6 that's Supercharged. Since it's forced induction, 91 or greater octane was required to reduce knock. 1996 Park Avenue Ultra and Riviera were both available with the L67.

However, your point still stands as it was probably intended: boring, generic, naturally aspirated, low compression cars rarely need high octane fuel.

Re:Common knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598023)

I thought this was already common knowledge. "Enterprise" drives are just a way to separate stupid people from their money. Sort of like "premium" gasoline.

No, it's already common knowledge that consumers do not and will not hammer hard drives anywhere near what commercial storage systems will, thus making this entire comparison fucking pointless when discussing failure rates.

And using data center controlled environments vs. a laptop bouncing around in a purse is hardly an accurate excuse.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#45598065)

"a laptop bouncing around in a purse"

And I thought my fiancee's purse was huge, but even she can't fit her laptop in with enough room for it to bounce.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year ago | (#45598539)

I hope not... You do know "purse" is slang for a hooker's honey hole, right?

Re:Common knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598873)

I hope not... You do know "purse" is slang for a hooker's honey hole, right?

Puckering one's lips is slang for a rug maker's beehive?

I think you've got your slang backwards -- puckered lips are puckered lips no matter what kind of lips they are. That's not slang, it's descriptive. A handbag "purse" is borrowing the other definition to describe a bag with a puckered opening -- and has since slid into use with a variety of similar clasp-fastened handbags.

Back to the GP's observation... very few pursed handbags are large enough to hold a full-size laptop.

Re:Common knowledge (5, Insightful)

brianwski (2401184) | about a year ago | (#45598145)

Disclaimer: Backblaze engineer here. I don't think all "commercial storage systems" get exactly the same "hammering". Some commercial systems are used to store data quietly for a long time (let's say online backup or shutterfly storage of photos), some commercial systems are hammered constantly (google's homepage search). I reject the concept that "enterprise" or "commercial" is a thing. You MUST look at the specific application. Some consumers use their hard drives quite a bit, some don't. Some corporations are hammering away at their drives, some are not.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year ago | (#45598657)

Disclaimer: Backblaze engineer here. I don't think all "commercial storage systems" get exactly the same "hammering". Some commercial systems are used to store data quietly for a long time (let's say online backup or shutterfly storage of photos), some commercial systems are hammered constantly (google's homepage search). I reject the concept that "enterprise" or "commercial" is a thing. You MUST look at the specific application. Some consumers use their hard drives quite a bit, some don't. Some corporations are hammering away at their drives, some are not.

Why is this not +5 already? He is exactly right in that all workloads do not fit neatly into the containers the marketing people seem to think they do.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

ewibble (1655195) | about a year ago | (#45598219)

from the article they are using consumer, and enterprise dives for the same purpose, so comparison is not pointless at all.

Re:Common knowledge (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598389)

from the article they are using consumer, and enterprise dives for the same purpose, so comparison is not pointless at all.

Yes, and Microsoft products work perfectly and as intended...

...in the classroom.

All other comparisons are null and void (and thus pointless).

Re:Common knowledge (2)

gstrickler (920733) | about a year ago | (#45598471)

No, from TFA:

... the company's usage of the drives is different, with enterprise drives being used more heavily than their consumer counterparts.

, so the comparison is indeed pointless (more accurately, it's baseless).

Re:Common knowledge (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#45598031)

enterprise drives have this thing called a warranty
i send a log to HP, and within 4 hours i have a new drive delivered to me. and they all have NCQ while most consumer drives dont

Re:Common knowledge (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#45598149)

That and to be fare, Enterprise drives may have a much higher level of usage then personal drives.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

glebbudman (2749883) | about a year ago | (#45598893)

The drive companies claim that the enterprise drives are designed to work at a higher level of usage. However, at Backblaze we have been running both the 25,000 consumer hard drives and the enterprise drives in this study 24x7.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

brianwski (2401184) | about a year ago | (#45598203)

If drives fail at 2 percent per year, your warranty should probably not cost you more than 2 percent additional money, right? Otherwise you might as well just stock spare drives and skip the part about including HP. How much does your enterprise drive warranty cost?

Re:Common knowledge (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#45598295)

once or twice i've had drives fail within a day or two of each other in the same RAID5 array. having a replacement on site FAST can be the difference between drinking beer at night or losing tens of millions of $$$ of data, spending hours restoring it and losing business in the mean time

that 6TB database i have might take 2 days to restore and in the meantime customers won't be able to access their data

Re:Common knowledge (3, Informative)

brianwski (2401184) | about a year ago | (#45598441)

Our Dell shelves (billing servers and store customer account info) have hot spares already spinning inside the shelves. NetApp Filers do this also. If a drive fails, the storage system begins IMMEDIATELY transitioning to the spare. So I agree with you wholeheartedly there. Backblaze uses RAID6 for the customer backup storage where we group 15 drives into a RAID group with 2 parity drives. So we can lose any 2 drives out of 15 and the data is still 100% intact. I really, REALLY cannot recommend RAID5 to anybody. Having a lone hard drive is fine for some applications (my laptop), and having RAID6 with 2 parity drives is fine for some applications. I cannot imagine why you would have RAID because you care about your uptime, but not care enough to use more than RAID5.

Re:Common knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598489)

RAID5 array

losing tens of millions of $$$ of data, spending hours restoring

6TB database

I'd try replacing whoever set this up with someone competent.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#45598323)

the HP drives are guaranteed to work in our HP servers with RAID controllers. no spending weeks doing money work figuring out why something doesn't work
we call in and stuff is replaced since everything is HP. no blame game saying its the other manufacturer's fault

Re:Common knowledge (1)

glebbudman (2749883) | about a year ago | (#45598955)

Yes, many of the vendors require you to use "their" hard drives. For example, at Backblaze, the Dell storage systems we use for for the central servers have "Dell" drives. Realistically, those are simply WD or Seagate drives with a different badge. Regardless, the failure rate of these drives that are "by Dell, for Dell, in a Dell"...still fail more often that plain 'ol consumer drives.

Re:Common knowledge (3, Insightful)

ewibble (1655195) | about a year ago | (#45598465)

Consumer drives have this thing called being half the price, keep one spare, what the heck if it breaks go out and buy a new one, in 1 a hour, still faster than 4 hours. What kind of enterprise organization wouldn't have a few hard drives spare just in case a few failed. Send the old one back to replaced, in their own good time.

I don't see why you would have to pay 100% markup for what is basically insurance, for the manufactures defects.

Sort of like airline tickets that you can reschedule, more than 2x the price and still subject to availability (last time my company bought one), just buy the non refundable ticket, if your plans change then buy another one, the average cost is going to be less, unless you change your plans a lot, perhaps you need better planning? You also have travel insurance for such things which is not the cost of the plane ticket, and covers other things too.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#45598037)

Premium gasoline is different from regular, and some cars do require it to keep working properly. That many people improperly think it's worth the price in their 15 year old Civic isn't the fault of the people selling the gas. That's like saying SSDs aren't worth the money just because some idiot stuck it in a budget system running Vista on a Pentium II.

Personally, we get enterprise grade drives at work for performance and support reasons more than reliability. As long as the RAID is configured properly, swapping out dead drives doesn't even rank "nuisance" on my list of common tasks.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

unitron (5733) | about a year ago | (#45598125)

Premium gasoline is different from regular, and some cars do require it to keep working properly. That many people improperly think it's worth the price in their 15 year old Civic isn't the fault of the people selling the gas. That's like saying SSDs aren't worth the money just because some idiot stuck it in a budget system running Vista on a Pentium II.

Personally, we get enterprise grade drives at work for performance and support reasons more than reliability. As long as the RAID is configured properly, swapping out dead drives doesn't even rank "nuisance" on my list of common tasks.

Anyone trying to run Vista on a Pentium II, even without a "capacitor plague" bedeviled motherboard, needs all the help they can get.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about a year ago | (#45598481)

Sometime those 15 year old civics do benefit from premium if they developed hot spots in the chambers from neglect/abuse. Also refiners like to have the higher grades having higher additive content so running a tankful or premium through them periodically probably cleans out some of the deposits in the engine so it runs more like it did new.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#45598107)

Perhaps you are missing this part:

Enterprise drives do have one advantage: longer warranties. That’s a benefit only if the higher price you pay for the longer warranty is less that what you expect to spend on replacing the drive.

Businesses want longer warranties especially these days as computers are being used longer and longer before being replaced. Realistically the first part to fail on a PC will be the hard drive.

Re:Common knowledge (5, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#45598179)

"Realistically the first part to fail on a PC will be the hard drive."

Only because the user isn't technically part of the PC.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

brianwski (2401184) | about a year ago | (#45598233)

Are you saying that the enterprise drives last longer? Or just that they are replaced for free when they die at the same or higher rates? If you want to save money, I think the answer is *NOT* buy the warranty (so buy consumer drives) because the warranty costs more than just replacing the failed drives?

Re:Common knowledge (3, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#45598473)

Are you saying that the enterprise drives last longer?

I didn't say that.

Or just that they are replaced for free when they die at the same or higher rates? If you want to save money, I think the answer is *NOT* buy the warranty (so buy consumer drives) because the warranty costs more than just replacing the failed drives?

If your company wants to do that, then do it. But I would think that is a hard sell to the IT directors who want service and replacement parts quickly. Here's the scenario:

1. HD fails
2. Log ticket with HD company and get replacement drive with little cost
or
2. Put in a purchase order for a new drive.

At some companies, buying a new drive outright is more troublesome/bureaucratic than getting a replacement drive.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#45598239)

Perhaps you are missing this part:

Enterprise drives do have one advantage: longer warranties...

Businesses want longer warranties especially these days ...

The warranties are just more evidence that "enterprise drives" are a scam. Warranties are almost never worth the price you pay for them. If they were, few companies would be foolish enough to offer them.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#45598729)

The warranties are just more evidence that "enterprise drives" are a scam. Warranties are almost never worth the price you pay for them. If they were, few companies would be foolish enough to offer them.

Translation: I personally have never benefitted from a warranty so they are useless to everyone.

At the many IT departments I have worked, warranties were used extensively. From little things like memory to whole motherboards were replaced without hassle. The only major company I know that uses consumer grade HDs in volume is probably Google and that is only because they have designed their server infrastructure to use massively identical and disposable hardware.

Re:Common knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598189)

I thought this was already common knowledge. "Enterprise" drives are just a way to separate stupid people from their money.

No. Enterprise drives come with:

- Longer warranties
- TLER (Time Limited Error Recovery) which means they won't drop out of RAID arrays or hang the array like a consumer drive would
- Work better in high vibration environments, like when you have 20+ drives in a single cabinet

Now, unless you need the warranty and are putting the drive into a RAID array, then you can just use the consumer level drive.

Re:Common knowledge (1)

brianwski (2401184) | about a year ago | (#45598599)

It is a common misconception (pushed by the drive manufacturers) that RAID arrays need Enterprise drives. RAID stands for "Redundant Array of ***INEXPENSIVE** Drives". The whole idea is you write a software layer that deals with the failures and limitations of the cheap drives. If your RAID software cannot handle independent drive failures, precisely what value is that layer adding? We have not seen "Enterprise" drives work better in a high vibration environment. It's an old joke but worth repeating: You know how you can tell if a hard drive salesperson/company representative is lying to you? Watch their lips closely, if their lips are moving, they are lying.

Re:Common knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598277)

You just put yourself in the stupid column. Higher octane gasoline resists detonation. The more timing you can add, the more power and fuel economy you will get. The higher the compression ratio & temperature the higher the octane requirements. Piston aircraft use 100LL and 100/130. Why? Because you don't drive at 75% throttle in your car. Race cars use 100-116 octane fuel. High compression sports cars, and anyone who's modified the spark curve via an aftermarket tuner to gain that 10-15hp require premium. Anyone pulling a trailer in mountainous terrain in the summer would benefit.

Re:Common knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598287)

Manufacturers require [usatoday.com] 92 or better for certain high compression engines. This trend is increasing [autoblog.com] as manufacturers turn to more compression and forced induction [autoguide.com] to achieve CAFE fleet averages.

"Enterprise" grade drives are often faster, having better processors and more cache, and they don't do dumbass things like park heads every 8 seconds [storagereview.com] because the drive manufacturers have to listen to server and storage array manufacturers and meet their requirements to get certification for use in advanced storage systems.

You're an idiot. Please, stay away from any important systems. Just spend your time poasting on slashdot so you don't do any (more) damage.

Re:Common knowledge (2)

brianwski (2401184) | about a year ago | (#45598773)

"Enterprise" grade drives are often faster, having better processors and more cache

The cache is whatever is written on the drive, so a "Enterprise" drive with 32 MB of cache has less than a "Consumer" drive with 64 MB. I don't know what the heck you think the word "Enterprise" gets you in this case?

drive manufacturers have to listen to server and storage array manufacturers and meet their requirements

Different storage arrays have different requirements, I hate the idea that people think "Enterprise" magically got all the tradeoffs correct. For example, low power and high responsiveness are BOTH valid goals but probably are at odds. Some Enterprises (like Backblaze and Shutterfly) care deeply about their electrical power bill and the drives aren't the performance bottleneck. Should we buy enterprise drives or not?

Re: Common knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598359)

Yes, that 80 dollar yearly difference for premium fuel is such a bank breaker. If it is, you'll never get the point because you are poor and stupid. Which leads to the chicken or the egg. Are you poor first, then stupid, or stupid first, causing poorness? Hmmm, get some researchers on this!

Re:Common knowledge (1)

mattmarlowe (694498) | about a year ago | (#45598401)

While consumer drives overall might not have a significantly higher failure rate than enterprise ones, I can think of a few differences:
a) consumer drives are nearly always 7200rpm for normal models, 5400rpm for green or laptop models which directly influences the number of small random disk operations that can be performed per second and the overall maximum throughput. Enterprise drives typically range from 18000rpm at the very high end to 7200rpm at the absolutely lowest end, with 10K rpm probably the most common for bulk storage and 15000rpm for data intensive settings.
b) Enterprise drives are usually available for multiple connection types (fiber/SAS/SATA) whereas consumer drives are nearly always SATA only.
c) For some drive vendors, SMART reporting is much more consistant for enterprise drives. Also, the number of extra sectors on the drive made available for bad blocks to ensure the full capacity of the drive and to remap defective sectors can be significantly higher.
d) The newest difference between enterprise and consumer drives is that some manufactures are intentionally disabling typical enterprise firmware features on the consumer models, drive commands that are helpful for hardware raid/etc.
e) Guarenteed repair warranties on enterprise drives are frequently at least 1-2yrs longer than consumer
f) More attention is usually given to the impact of constant drive usage in the design of enterprise drives than consumer. While the average failure rate for drives in a 2-3yr timeframe may not be that different, I wouldn't be surprised if usage patterns over 5-10yrs resulted in a significant divergence. It's not that unusual for enterprise storage systems with dozens to hundreds of drives being in operation for at least 5 years, and frequently 10 years.

Also, I'd be curious about temperature variation tolerence. The longer a drive survives, the more likely it is to be exposed at least at some point to a brief period when normal building a/c fails or the computer chassis fans/etc fail....Not a few datacenter drive replacements have been required after datacenters have had power blips that resulted in a/c going offline for 10-20 minutes. This may not be a big deal for modern consumer drives where usage is relatively minimal and the drive is at least partially in low power mode.

But but but (0)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about a year ago | (#45597795)

SSDs are all the rage now!!!!!! Who uses harddrives anymore???

Re:But but but (2)

JudgeFurious (455868) | about a year ago | (#45597849)

But are those "Enterprise SSDs"?

Re:But but but (4, Funny)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about a year ago | (#45597989)

Sadly no, they are just Intrepid's SSDs

Re:But but but (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#45598079)

Better than being Reliant SSDs. I hear they can be accessed remote with prefix code 16309.

Re:But but but (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#45597857)

IMO a good bulk storage array uses spinning rust, with optional SSD caching depending on performance requirements (RAM caching might be good enough depending on use case).

Re:But but but (1)

hazeii (5702) | about a year ago | (#45597983)

Absolutely; for large, fast (and short-term) storage we use servers with 6 fast disks in RAID 0, and when that's not enough we use big RAM disks. SSD's have been played with (without any problems) but don't seem to add anything to our particular (admittedly unusual) set-up.

Re:But but but (1)

gstrickler (920733) | about a year ago | (#45598533)

"...a good bulk storage array uses spinning rust,..."

I don't allow rust in my storage arrays. Aluminum, magnesium, and glass don't rust.

Re:But but but (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#45598071)

Everybody who has anything more than a trivial amount of storage.

I don't see giant NetApp filers holding hundreds of terabytes being replaced with SSDs any time soon.

SSDs have their uses, but they're nowhere near cheap enough to replace systems with massive amounts of storage or that rely on RAID.

Re:But but but (2)

WuphonsReach (684551) | about a year ago | (#45598285)

SSDs have their uses, but they're nowhere near cheap enough to replace systems with massive amounts of storage or that rely on RAID.

They're getting really close for primary storage and being used in RAID arrays..

300GB 15k RPM SAS is about $180-$200. An Intel DC S3500 Series SSD (300GB) is around $390. So the price difference of the SSD vs the spinning rust is only about 2x now. And you will probably gain 25x IOPS over that spinning rust.

Bulk storage using 7200 RPM drives is still the domain of spinning rust and will be for a while.

Re:But but but (1)

brianwski (2401184) | about a year ago | (#45598299)

At our company the "billing servers" have to be high performance do not have to be very large (a few terabytes) , and we keep trying to justify SSDs but always end up back with Dell drive shelves with 15k rpm old fashion drives for less money. Each time we do the analysis I hope to move over to SSDs, and ONE OF THESE YEARS it will be cheaper to go with SSDs. Just not yet. :-(

Re:But but but (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#45598091)

...people who can't afford SSDs?

Re:But but but (1)

dk400 (1099671) | about a year ago | (#45598313)

more than 70% of the world's computers still run on hard drives ... not SSDs ! its gonna take time apparently

CSC (2)

sycodon (149926) | about a year ago | (#45597839)

At my company all the hardware is managed by CSC. They retire severs in about 3 years...including the drives.

Re:CSC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45597881)

Sure. Whatever buddy.

You're buying an extended warranty (4, Insightful)

John3 (85454) | about a year ago | (#45597843)

"Enterprise" drives may have longer warranty coverage, so you are essentially just buying an extended warranty that is built into the selling price. This is how water heaters are priced...a 5 year warranty water heater is often identical to a 10 year warranty unit, but the manufacturer has crunched the failure rate numbers and will just wind up replacing a percentage of 10 year models when they start to leak in 8 years.

Re:You're buying an extended warranty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45597975)

in the case of hard drives, however, the hardware or subcomponents in it are not necessarily the same.

Re:You're buying an extended warranty (2)

funwithBSD (245349) | about a year ago | (#45597995)

Yeah, it probably is.

Cheaper to make them all the same, sell them based on the warranty/service than keep 2 production lines going.

Re:You're buying an extended warranty (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about a year ago | (#45597987)

And I bet that consumer drive did not come with a CE showing up in 2 to 4 hrs to replace the drive after the hardware called it in automatically.

Re:You're buying an extended warranty (2)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#45598267)

The enterprise drives don't either. If your support contract with somebody (who wouldn't be the drive manufacturer) covers that, that's not really related to the type of drive, but rather if you have a support contract or not.

Re:You're buying an extended warranty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598577)

But for the price differential, a hot spare solves the problem far more economically and gives you the time to place a newegg order once you bother to look at your logs.

Re:You're buying an extended warranty (0)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#45598019)

that and also the prestige of having ENTERPRISE hardware.

Kind of like how businesses pay extra for Windows XP Professional even though XP Home has all the features they ever use.

Re:You're buying an extended warranty (2, Informative)

realmolo (574068) | about a year ago | (#45598093)

Uh, XP Home can't join and Active Directory domain. That's why businesses bought it, dipshit. NONE of the "home" versions of Windows can join a domain.

Re:You're buying an extended warranty (3, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#45598117)

Yeah, because no business ever adds computers to a domain, has users log in via Remote Desktop, uses group policies or roaming profiles.

Re:You're buying an extended warranty (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#45598531)

> Yeah, because no business ever adds computers to a domain

Quite a few don't. Not every business is a Fortune 100 multi-national monstrosity. By definition, most are not.

Re:You're buying an extended warranty (1)

unitron (5733) | about a year ago | (#45598265)

that and also the prestige of having ENTERPRISE hardware.

Kind of like how businesses pay extra for Windows XP Professional even though XP Home has all the features they ever use.

But with XP Pro, the volume control doesn't disappear on restart the way it does on 95 through XP Home no matter how many fricken boxes you have checked.

So obviously it's designed to prevent the delay of commerce by protecting cubical drones from the minor annoyances to which the mere home user is subjected.

Re:You're buying an extended warranty (3, Informative)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#45598235)

Let's presume that consumer drives don't fail for 3 years, and enterprise drives don't fail for whatever their warranty period is (or at least neither suffers significant failure figures during those time periods). Let me then compare the price of a comparable consumer and enterprise drive on NewEgg:

Consumer drive: WD3001FAEX (3TB, 7200RPM, 64MB cache, 6gbit/s): $220, 2y warranty
Enterprise drive: WD3000FYYZ (3TB, 7200RPM, 64MB cache, 6gbit/s): $340, 5y warranty

Now, we know the data shows consumer drives are highly reliable for 3 years, after which they get reliable, so let's presume you replace at your own cost every 3 years. Enterprise drives are probably no more reliable, but replacements are free between years 3 and 5, so let's say you replace at your own cost every 5 years. You get:

Consumer drive, average cost per year: ~$73
Enterprise drive, average cost per year: ~$68

Not a huge difference there, and if both drives are really equally reliable, it doesn't really make much of a difference which you pick.

Re:You're buying an extended warranty (2)

gstrickler (920733) | about a year ago | (#45598811)

Good analysis, with two issues:

1. Both of the specific drives you mentioned above have 5 yr warranties, so your specific example doesn't work for costs, but in general, your analysis is valid.

2. You don't address performance differences. WD doesn't specify seek times on these, so I can't compare them. But in general, "Enterprise" drives have faster seek and/or transfer rates. This may make the enterprise drive superior for certain environments.

One final difference, many/most "enterprise" drives have higher levels of error correction, so even if the drive failure rate is the same, they're more likely to be able to read/recover data from a given sector.

Re:You're buying an extended warranty (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year ago | (#45598319)

There is a difference, but it is just in the firmware settings and some consumer drives allow you to switch the firmware to behave like the enterprise drives. The settings are the "TLER read" and "TLER write". Essentially, how long should a drive keep trying to read and write before giving an error. If the drive is part of a RAID system, then for performance reasons, you want the drive to give an error sooner and let the RAID system deal with it. On a desktop system, where there is no redundancy, you don't want the drive to give up trying since there is no other source for the data.

Re:You're buying an extended warranty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598327)

So why do water heaters leak at all. I have a 100 year old furnace in my house (Hot water, originally coal fired converted to natural gas). It doesn't leak so why should a 8 year old water heater?

Re:You're buying an extended warranty (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year ago | (#45598523)

Your hot water heat is a closed-loop system. All of the minerals that will ever be in there were put in when it was filled. On the other hand, a water heater is constantly having new water flow through it. This water has minerals (calcium, whatever) in it. The heating makes these minerals settle out and line the bottom of the tank. Now there is a layer of stuff between the tank and the water where the flame (or element) heats the the tank, and that makes hot spots on the tank. Eventually the tank burns through, and you have a leak.

Re:You're buying an extended warranty (1)

John3 (85454) | about a year ago | (#45598547)

So why do water heaters leak at all. I have a 100 year old furnace in my house (Hot water, originally coal fired converted to natural gas). It doesn't leak so why should a 8 year old water heater?

Because it was made 100 years ago. Those furnaces were built like tanks. Gas and electric water heaters leak all the time, ask anyone (including me) who has come home to a flooded basement.

Google proved this years ago (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598063)

Google already published many detailed reports on various issues surrounding the HDD business, proving that the money saved by buying cheaper hard-drives, and using them in data 'defending' situations (replicating data on multiple drives) made far more sense then using so-called 'enterprise' class equipment in complex, expensive configurations. Once again, to the surprise of no alpha, the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principle wins out in engineering.

The buzz wordy, mock intellectual, synthetically complex world of 'enterprise' solutions is designed to appeal to the mind of the 'beta', a class of technocrat for whom rote-learning is everything. IT people are mostly of this class, so the 'paraphernalia' and 'jargon' make such people feel 'special'. The fundamentals of Computer Science fly right over the heads of most people involved in computer decision making.

It shames people to not even understand why the capitalist society works best with mass manufactured items, and that limited run items will always have significant compromises. Make more of an item, and it gets cheaper AND more reliable through necessity of efficiency.

But only a few days back, in some forum, people were dribbling in ecstasy because some fake enterprise HDD (RED series from Seagate?) was being 'discounted' to only 40% above the cost of the cheapest quality 3TB HDD. Many people gave EXPENSE as the primary reason for buying the vastly inferior Xbox One over the PS4 (in other words they were 'big' individuals because they could afford the more expensive console).

 

Re:Google proved this years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45598541)

Many people gave EXPENSE as the primary reason for buying the vastly inferior Xbox One over the PS4 (in other words they were 'big' individuals because they could afford the more expensive console).

Same trick has been used by Apple for years.

Not only that, (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#45598155)

But consumer hard drives are so much cheaper that it's not really cost effective anymore to buy Enterprise drives. You may need to replace them more often, but as SATA are hot swappable and everyone is using some variation of RAID these days, one could argue that buying Enterprise drives is an unnecessary expense. In a down economy, that might be significant.

Re:Not only that, (4, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#45598275)

But consumer hard drives are so much cheaper that it's not really cost effective anymore to buy Enterprise drives.

Do you actually do Enterprise Storage? Because I know people who do.

At the really high end, the machines automatically call home and report a fault to the vendor. The vendor then dispatches someone to replace the faulty bit within the SLA.

In my experience, and from what I've been told by people who do this for a living, the Enterprise class drives come with the benefit of a warranty in which the manufacturer is contractually obligated to get you a replacement within a fixed amount of time.

Anyone doing real enterprise class storage for real mission critical things -- using commercial SATA drives is just not done unless it's cheap/bulk storage. Sure, you pay through the nose to the vendor for that kind of support, but you also have guaranteed service time and availability.

I just don't see evidence of people who do this at an enterprise scale cheaping out on disks for the important stuff.

Re:Not only that, (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#45598573)

> At the really high end, the machines automatically call home and report a fault to the vendor.

Not everyone that does "Enterprise Storage" wants to pay for that kind of pampering. This is true in general and doesn't just apply to storage devices that you think no one else here has ever managed.

Re:Not only that, (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year ago | (#45598825)

But consumer hard drives are so much cheaper that it's not really cost effective anymore to buy Enterprise drives.

Do you actually do Enterprise Storage? Because I know people who do.

At the really high end, the machines automatically call home and report a fault to the vendor. The vendor then dispatches someone to replace the faulty bit within the SLA.

And if you know those people you have also heard the stories about how ugly things got when the new accounting team forgot to pay the service contract, and that one failed drive ended up costing A grand, and took 3 days to replace. (Because you couldn't just get one a Fry's and limp along for a few days...)

This is why the real big boys are going with commodity stuff.

Not like the 90's (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#45598159)

Perhaps it's due to the smaller components or faster spindles creating more heat, but I rarely get a few years of service out of a single SATA drive before smartctl starts showing problems or a raid array tossing a drive. Seagate and OCZ have always been awesome about replacing the drive under warranty but still. Seems like those 400 meg IDE drives of yesteryear lasted decades before making any clicks-of-death.

Re:Not like the 90's (3, Interesting)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year ago | (#45598853)

You may want to check your environment for heat or dust, or get better power supplies. I can not remember the last drive I have had fail in the warranty period.

Warranty isn't the only factor (5, Informative)

vhfer (643140) | about a year ago | (#45598247)

We have hundreds of drives in Coraid SAN shelves. In our first batch of maybe four or five 15-drive shelves, we bought our own drives-- Seagate with 5 year warranties. We had a high initial rate of failure in the first 6 months, followed by a low but steady rate from then until the warranties were up. We had spares, Seagate was good about getting us replacements relatively quickly, were weren't happy, but it was workable.

All the newer shelves came preloaded with Coraid-approved drives. As I said, there's hundreds of drives involved here, a lot of SATA 1TB and 2TB and some SAS 600GB. I think out of the later drives, we've had two fail. Maybe three.

Asked about it, Coraid said, yes, the warranty is better on "Enterprise-class" or "RAID-class" drives, but also, the firmware is different. They claim that drives intended for the consumer / SOHO market spend a lot of time retrying marginal reads before declaring an unreadable sector and sparing it. They say that SAN-class drives limit the retry time, because the array controller handles it more efficiently, since it has the big-picture view.

The also say that the drives are optimized for close-quarters operation, all jammed together in an array, handling vibration and heat build-up slightly differently, and that they have minor differences to keep lubrication from migrating out of the spindle bearing under continuous operation. I don't know but I imagine loss of spindle bearing lube would add vibration and make any but the best reads more marginal.

I don't know for sure, but we've spent a great deal of US dollars on their products and our experience has borne out the fact that there's a definite difference in arrays.

As for corporate desktop and/or server use, well, I don't really know. Our servers that have one to four drives were mostly shipped with those drives, so we didn't choose them. I can't tell you if they are enterprise class drives, but I imagine they are, based on the replacement costs. And I know about what some of those costs are, or anyhow I know they were way more than I personally pay for drives for home desktop and server use. I know that because occasionally they fail, and I have to buy new ones.

Used to design HDD's (4, Informative)

loose electron (699583) | about a year ago | (#45598381)

No difference between enterprise and home HDD's that I know of.

As for what "hammering and heavy use " of a drive is?

The biggest killer of HDD's is something called the CSS test cycle.

CSS = Contact Start Stop where the drive is booted up, spun up, and then shut down repetitively.

Generally, a HDD sitting there spinning away is not what kill them off,
however turning them on-off-on-off a lot is the most abusive thing that you can do.

I still think WD makes the best quality out there, but that's just my opinion.

just my 0.02 worth...

Repeat as necessary (1)

WoodstockJeff (568111) | about a year ago | (#45598625)

I wonder how many more slashdot stories will be based upon the same Backblaze story of the "first of its kind" (ignoring Google's older paper) story on hard drive longevity, that doesn't name names?

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