Server Hard Drive – Everything you need to know about

Server Hard Drives – Introduction

As the name reveals, hard drives or HDDs which are purposefully manufactured to be used in a server or data center are called server hard drives. As the server is the primary and most vital component of any network infrastructure, server hard drives serve as the physical basis for any cloud infrastructure or data warehouse. To make the server hard drives show promising performance while dealing with the overwhelming amounts of data read/write operations and frequent access 24/7, the best server hard drive incorporates the SAS interface because of its high transfer rate and fewer access times. On the other hand, low-end servers that deal with fewer users incorporate SATA Hard Drives like Western Digital’s WD Blue WD10JPVX Hard drive. WD Blue WD10JPVX Hard drive offers the following specifications and features:

Product DescriptionWD Blue WD10JPVX – Hard drive – 1 TB – SATA -600
TypeHard drive – internal
Form Factor6.4 cm x 1/8H (2.5 ” x 1/8H)
InterfaceSerial ATA-600
data transfer rate600 MBps
buffer size8 MB
spindle speed5400 rpm
FeaturesNoTouch ramp load technology Advanced Format technology
Dimensions69.85 mm x 100.2 mm x 9.5 mm
Weight90 g

Connectivity Interfaces in Server HDDs

Server hard drives can be categorized into the following types according to their connectivity interface:

  1. SAS hard drive – It offers SAS 1.0, SAS 2.0, and SAS 3.0 connectivity interface with the data transfer rates of 12G (4800MB/s), 6G(2400MB/s) and 3G(1200MB/s), respectively. This interface can be used in primary storage if the data is accessed frequently.
  2. SCSI hard drives – They possess the conventional transmission interface, and you can barely find one in the market due to its compromised performance and terminated manufacturing.
  3. Near Line SAS drives – They are abbreviated as NL-SAS are enterprise-grade server hard drives with a SAS interface.
  4. FDE/SDE drives – This hardware encryption standard introduced by IBM, offers performance equivalent to the SAS hard drives. Apart from this, FDE/SDE offers an encryption procedure to secure valuable data assets and information from being misused.
  5. FC hard drives – They are primarily used in the external Storage Area Network (SAN) which incorporates the optical fibre at the transport layer. It possesses a dual-channel to send and receive information from longer distances via an optical fibre cable, which makes it a very high-speed transmission standard.
  6. SATA hard drives – Serial Advanced Technology Attachment – SATA, as the name reveals features the serial connection. Due to their strong error correction capability, SATA hard drives like WD Blue WD10JPVX are capable of seamlessly finding and fixing errors. It promises higher data security and offers a “Differential-Signal-Amplified-System”, which is effective in cancelling noise from the normal signals and allows it to function properly even under low power.

Need for Hot Swapping in Server Hard Drives

In the budget-grade servers used by most SMBs, the server drives lack any support for hot-swapping, so in case of any failure to the drive, you need to shut down the server, replace the hard drive and then reboot. On the other hand, Hot swapping server drives can be unplugged or plugged while the server is still running. So, in case of any failure, you can unplug the hard drive without cutting down power to the server is still and refrain from limiting the server’s availability to the client-side. Similarly, if you want to increase your storage by adding more server hard drives, you can simply do this without turning your server’s power off.

Why do we need Server HDDs?

As server and cloud systems are highly vulnerable to crashes and deal with complex operations around the clock, the likelihood for any crash or failure is significantly higher than regular desktop or laptop PCs. Desktop or Laptop PCs don’t operate 24/7 and often get rest. On the contrary, server hard drives have to respond to a range of queries 24/7 and deal with overwhelming workloads much more comprehensive and complex than consumer-grade hard drives have to deal with. To fulfil such complex and mission-critical requirements and workloads, server hard drives possess some additional features like higher performance, cooling & airflow, error detection algorithms, vibrations reduction, hot-swapping, etc. Some of these features include:

  1. High-Performance – The best server hard drive can sustain 7200 to 15,000 RPMs of rotational speed. Some state-of-the-art server systems possess hybrid drives (having features of both SSD and HDD) with write-back cache memory to cut the average access time upto a significant extent. It makes the external and internal read/write operations faster.
  2. Reliability – For the reason that server hard disk has to deal with heavy workloads and keeps performing 24/7 under stressed conditions. World-leading server hard drive manufacturer provides state-of-the-art technology to ensure the continuity of operations and durability. To refrain from accidental damages, server hard disks can easily bear the impact of 500G to 1000G.
  3. SCSI connectivity – All the latest server hard drives have SCSI/SAS interface because of frequent and time-sensitive operations. To ensure compatibility with SCSI/SAS hard drives, all server motherboards incorporate the SCSI/SAS interface. You can also install a dedicated SCSI/SAS interface card to entertain connectivity for seven SCSI/SAS devices at the moment.
  4. Hot swapping – As discussed earlier, hard swapping allows users to safely remove, insert or replace a hard disk while the server is still learning. This functionality is very crucial for the high-end servers which cannot be turned down even for a second. (Some latest SATA hard drives also feature hot swapping).


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