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Data Storage Hardware

Hard Drives Made for RAID Use 201

An anonymous reader writes "Hard drive giant Western Digital recently released a very interesting product, hard drives designed to work in a RAID. The Caviar RE SATA 320 GB is an enterprise level drive without native command queueing and uses an SATA interface. In works better in RAID than other drives because of features like its time-limited error recovery and 32-bit CRC error checking, so it is an option when previously only SCSI drives would be considered."
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Hard Drives Made for RAID Use

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 17, 2005 @01:57PM (#13585632)
    Sheesh, this is a VERY thinly disguised ad. Here's a direct link to NewEgg [newegg.com] $169. Has the same details as this "story."
  • No NCQ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @02:03PM (#13585658)
    Interesting that they don't have NCQ, whereas SCSI drives generally do (well, called TCQ on SCSI IIRC)

    Is this just marketing speak, has it truly included scsi features, or could it actually be better performing than SCSI in a RAID array?
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @02:08PM (#13585689)
    How does the lack of Native Command Queuing improve RAID performance? Generally I thought NCQ improved all drive's performance, and TFA says that NCQ is normally part of Enterprise High-Performance.
  • by laing ( 303349 ) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @02:22PM (#13585765)
    The manufacturer specifically says to only use these in a RAID-1 configuration (mirroring). They have a reason for this: The error recovery mechanisim is abbreviated. So what does Sal do... He connects two drives in a RAID-0 configuration. Now his data reliability has gone to about 1/4 of a regular drive.
  • by John Napkintosh ( 140126 ) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @02:53PM (#13585881) Homepage
    Seems like you could save quite a bit of money by going with something like this (assuming it was SATA you're looking for):

    http://www.macgurus.com/productpages/sata/satakits .php [macgurus.com]

    They have 2-, 3-, 4-, and 8-bay kits to suite your need. Get 'em with or without drives, cables, etc. The only drawback I see is the lack of a controller card (might have to go with something like the Sonnet further down the page). Then again, this may not be such of a drawback, since you're not stuck with a built-in RAID controller, in the event of it being a pile of junk.

    $451 for an empty 8-bay with no cabling ain't too bad.
  • Re:No NCQ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by keltor ( 99721 ) * on Saturday September 17, 2005 @03:15PM (#13586003) Homepage
    I think that all SCSI RAID controllers disable it on the drives as the controller takes care of all queueing. Remember most of the SATA drives now have NCQ. WD chose to specifically disable this as their regular Caviar SE drives have queueing.
  • by rongage ( 237813 ) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @03:18PM (#13586027)

    Is it just me, or did this review stink for lack of proper testing and comparison...

    If I were comparing this product and it's performance, I certainly would not be benchmarking a SATA based RAID setup against a single Parallel ATA drive. Something in this arrangement just doesn't seem... well, logical.

    If you were really going to try to impress me with it's performance, then you would have to show me how it compares to "non-RAID" optimized drives of near simular characteristics. Show me how this drive performs against, say, Hitachi SATA 320 gig drives using an identical test rig. Also show me how this drive compares to 320 gig SCSI drives. Show me the results as JBOD, RAID-0, RAID-1 and RAID-5. You know, like the real world.

    While the graphs are pretty, I'm afraid that this "review" it fairly content-free.

  • by LuckyStarr ( 12445 ) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @03:28PM (#13586068)
    And what if the electronics of the drive fails? Or the motor? Or the drive-head actuator?

    Sorry sir, but this is a bad idea.
  • by jandrese ( 485 ) * <kensama@vt.edu> on Saturday September 17, 2005 @03:51PM (#13586165) Homepage Journal
    IMHO, the biggest things manufacturers could do to make the drives more RAID friendly is to change the name (even with just a v1, v2, etc...) when they change platters.

    Nothing is worse than buying a bunch of drives and a couple of spares and building the array and then discovering down the road that in fact one of your spares came from a different production run and has a slightly different (maybe 3 block smaller) geometry and can't be used on your array. Usually there is absolutely no indication on the box or the drive that one of your drives is different unless you decode the cryptic serial number.

    For that matter, just printing the exact LBA count on the back of the box would be a huge boon.

    This isn't limited to ATA drives either. I've seen it plenty of times in professional SCSI solutions too, especially as the arrays start to get older.
  • by Rev.LoveJoy ( 136856 ) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @04:14PM (#13586282) Homepage Journal
    In my whole IT career (some ... christ ... 13 years now) I have seen no other vendor of HDD that comes close to WD for sheer volume of failed drives (Maxtor is a distant 2nd). That they resort to cheap marketing gimmicks like this (1 million hours mean time between failure, puhleeze, these are the people who pioneered the 1 year warranty) is only so much more indication of their propensity to manufacture garbage.

    Buy their gear if you must but I would not put my data on it.

    -- RLJ

  • 3 platters (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dtfinch ( 661405 ) * on Saturday September 17, 2005 @04:52PM (#13586467) Journal
    I'm no expert, but I look forward to mostly buying 2 platter drives from now on. Early failures seem to double when you add a third platter, and 5 platters is just scary. You can get 250gb SATA 2 platter Seagate drives for about $110 each, which seem to have a great record for reliability so far. But when I need real SCSI reliability I'll just get a real SCSI. The warranty for most SATA drives may be 5 years, but usually it's void if you put it in a server.
  • by Pop69 ( 700500 ) <billy AT benarty DOT co DOT uk> on Saturday September 17, 2005 @06:43PM (#13586959) Homepage
    Did you miss the Redundant bit in Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks ?

    The idea is that one drive going bad doesn't take out the whole array in mirror, not that you have it all on one drive you fool.

Swap read error. You lose your mind.