Sorting out disk drive options

Posted on February 01, 2005


Q: What type of disk drive should I use?

There’s no easy answer to this question because it depends on your application requirements and budget. The top table shows different disk drive characteristics and comments on applications. A simple and general guide for what type of disk drives to use is: Consider fast (10,000rpm and 15,000rpm) enterprise class drives (FC, SCSI, and SAS) for high-performance online applications. For high-density, I/O-intensive applications, 2.5-inch, 10,000rpm dual-ported FC and SAS drives are a good fit. For nearline applications, use economical high-capacity disk drives (SATA, FC, and SAS) with rotation speeds ranging from 5,400rpm to 10,000rpm. The bottom table shows various disk drive characteristics and options along with different storage categories, or tiers. For more information on the various disk drive options, visit

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Greg Schulz is a senior analyst with the Evaluator Group research and consulting firm, and the author of Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier). He can be reached at

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