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

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
CAGE MATCH: Microsoft, Dell open co-located bit barns in Oz
Whole new species of XaaS spawning in the antipodes
AWS pulls desktop-as-a-service from the PC
Support for PCoIP protocol means zero clients can run cloudy desktops
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.