[THIN] Re: SATA drives

  • From: "Amer Karim" <amerk@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <thin@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2006 16:38:38 -0700

The Seagate 3GB/s SATA drives (Barracuda ES) lines have a 5-year
warranty - and, for the price, I can put 8 of those in a server with
RAID-10 and RAID-5 with 2 hot-spares for a fraction of the cost of SCSI
for equivalent capacity.  In other words, I'd have to disagree with the
comments about SATA not being a viable alternative to SCSI/SAS.  And
throw in an SAS RAID controller, and you've made the migration to SAS
drives down the road a fairly simple thing as well.  The SATA disks
being referred to in those articles are older tech and better suited for
desktop computers, rather than servers - IMHO.

Amer Karim
Nautilis Information Systems

-----Original Message-----
From: thin-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:thin-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of Jez
Sent: September 29, 2006 1:46 AM
To: thin@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [THIN] Re: SATA drives

On 9/28/06, Steve Parr <SParr@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
> How much would people trust SATA drives for their production servers?
> I would tend to stick with SCSI if I had a choice but I have inherited
> few servers running with SATA drives.
> Just wondering what people have experienced. I feel tho if you are
> to spend some decent money on a server doesn't make sense to scrimp on
> the hard drives just to save a little $$.

I know my way round HP Proliant servers very well (I used to do server
support for them in the Compaq days, and plenty of hands-on since), so
I'll use HP example to illustrate, but you can apply this to Dell /
IBM / Others as well.

SATA is a low cost technology. It is not suitable for heavy disk
access or for performance critical applications.

SATA disks:
"Ideal for... Customers requiring the best price advantage for entry
level servers and bulk storage deployments in non-mission critical,
low workload environments."
OK - So Cost, cost and cost again. Thats the ONLY reason for considering

HP SATA disks come with a 1 year warranty. Even if you install them in
a server with a 3 year warranty, they retain their 1 year standard
warranty. HP SCSI disks come with a 3 year warranty. You could jump to
the conclusion that SATA disks are 3 times more likely to fail than
SCSI disks. You may be right, but it would be innapropriate for me to
comment on that.

Personal experience:
HP + SCSI = SMART. The SMART Array technology (originally from Compaq)
has been around for years. It is tried and tested and easily
understood. And interchangeable - you can swap one model for another
with no pain. And supported by HPs SmartStart tool. SCSI RAID hardly
ever fails as the result of a disk failure.

HP + SATA = ???. The drivers and controllers seem to be from Adaptec.
There's no consistency in the upgrade path if you need to go from one
controller to another, or swap disks between different model servers.
The methods for managing a SATA RAID are not well understood, and can
vary from one model of a server to another. SATA RAID is not monitored
by the HP agents like SCSI is, so you don't get pre-failure warnings
on SATA disks. SmartStart does not recognise SATA disks. SATA RAID is
less resiliant and more likely to fail completely when you loose a

SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) is a SCSI technology and should be
considered as such.
"Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) is the logical evolution of SCSI,
including its long-established software advantage and the Serial ATA
(SATA) electrical and physical connection interface."
So the good bits of SATA and the good bits of SCSI.

I hope you now have a better understanding of the technology and can
make a better informed decision as to what to do with your new

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