Feeds

Storage pros: Big or small, you still have to hit the sweet spot

How does size matter in a hard drive?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Evan Unrue - Product Specialist at Magirus UK

Chris Evans

Apart from the obvious space-saving benefits of having a smaller form factor drive – which would allow for higher density of disks, consuming less physical footprint when considering RAID arrays – 2.5-inch drives do appear to have some performance gains over their bigger 3.5-inch brother when looking at manufacturers' published specifications.

Full stroke and track-to-track seek times on 2.5-inch drives come out at near half that of 3.5-inch drives in most cases, which one can only assume is down to the smaller platter and actuator arm. This would clearly have benefit in systems with random access patterns to disk. That said, there is an argument to say that 3.5-inch disks would potentially see higher performance in systems with highly sequential access patterns to disk due to the age old marvel that is zoned bit recording – as pragmatically speaking we should have more sectors on the outer tracks of a 3.5-inch drive than a 2.5-inch drive due to the larger platter.

With 3.5-inch disks, more sectors would pass under the read/write heads of the disk, resulting in a higher data read/write rate. However, this benefit would only be seen if data written/read to or from disk was done so in a purely sequential fashion and that typically has very specific use cases such as media streaming, backup to disk and the like (not what we would consider a general workload). Essentially 2.5-inch drives would see slower transfer speeds than 3.5-inch drives, but faster access times.

With all that being said, we are in an age of miniaturisation. Things which come in smaller packages typically are less power hungry. From what I’ve seen a 2.5inch drive will typically consume 40 per cent less power than a 3.5-inch drive of comparable rotational speed.

When looking at the enterprise storage vendors, one of the elements which appears to have let 3.5-inch drives hang in there is the lingering of Fibre Channel drives in the market, which I don't believe helped the introduction of the smaller form factor into the mainstream. Now 6Gbit/s SAS drives are outed, it looks like Fibre Channel drives, which only support a 4Gbit/s interface speed may get the chop, clearing the way for SAS and SATA drives across the board moving forward (one would think), and potentially allowing for a standardised smaller form factor in the enterprise storage arena.

Evan Unrue is a Product Specialist at Magirus UK, the UK arm of the Stuttgart-based IT systems and services supplier. He writes a blog at www.interestingevan.wordpress.com.

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
DEATH by COMMENTS: WordPress XSS vuln is BIGGEST for YEARS
Trio of XSS turns attackers into admins
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?