How to choose a hard drive for a NAS solution?

Data Storage market is already being flooded with a myriad hard drive classes and models. On a recent note, IDC estimated that for every couple of years, atleast one new company is entering into this business and becoming ripe. Therefore, it becomes a daunting task to select the right hard drive for a NAS solution.

Although, this selection is a pain for a NAS appliance manufacturer, this article will explain some of the major differences between various HDD classes available in the market, and what considerations a NAS solution provider makes, while manufacturing a Network Attached Storage Solution. This article will also help those who are interested in building their own NAS solution for home or business purpose.

Currently, there are four major hard drive classes on the market, each specifically designed for different applications, workloads, MTBF and power-on hours.

Desktop Hard Drives – Desktop Drives are designed for notebook PCs and desktops where usually a single drive is installed. Most desktop drives are more affordable, but seldom come with vibration protection, making them more vulnerable in multi-drive RAID environments where vibration from other drives and the system chassis can affect both drive health and system performance. When these drives are installed in NAS systems, desktop drives are suitable for situations where data is not often accessed, such as serving small group of users, who occasionally save or access documents of the drive, or as a backup storage destination which only requires a few hours of activity each day.

Enterprise Drives – These drives are manufactured with enterprise application needs in mind. So, these drives are useful for more advanced technology or superior components to provide better performance, POH, MTBF, Vibration protection and error correction. When installed in NAS systems, enterprise drives are suitable for environments that require high data availability and consistent throughput even when moving large amounts of data. This means enterprise drives are more appropriate for businesses with numerous employees accessing files simultaneously from databases, servers, or virtual storage systems.

NAS drives – For users who find desktop hard drives not durable and enterprise drives hard to afford, NAS drives can prove as a good option. These drives are specifically designed for NAS usage and are being offered by only few companies. They often feature better durability, balanced performance, and power consumption when compared to desktop drives. Note: Some NAS drives lack vibration sensors and may not be suitable for multi bay and rack systems. So, better you seek details more from the manufacturer regarding specification and usage before making a purchase.

Surveillance Drives
– Two big companies offering hard disk drives are offering surveillance drives to accommodate 24/7 demands of long video recordings. These drives are optimized for sequential write operations, but offer lower random access performance. For surveillance station users who use NAS solutions for backup and storage solutions to NVRs, Video management systems and video servers, NAS solutions tucked with these drives are excellent match. But some surveillance drives lack vibration sensors and may not be suitable for multi ay and rack systems.

  • Note 1 – MTBF means mean time between failures and is a statistic used by manufacturers to state the reliability of hard drives. Often the higher the MTBF, the lower chance of failure.
  • Note 2 – POH means Power-on Hours, which is the length of time in hours that electrical power is applied to a device. For hard drives, two categories are used. 8/5 means 8 hours per day, 5 days a week and 24/7 means 24 hours a day all round the year.

Therefore, by keeping the above said four aspects in mind a NAS solution can be smartly designed.

However, for all you enterprise IT professionals, who want a NAS solution for enterprise needs, here’s an advice.

It is always better to go for a NAS solution which is built by well known NAS solution provider like StoneFly, Inc. If you want scalability and redundant factor high in your solution, it is always better to rely on a Network Attached Storage manufacturing vendor.

An enterprise class NAS solution such as StoneFly Twin Scale-Out Appliance (TSO) delivers unprecedented performance, redundancy and scalability. It can prove as a cost-effective disk based solution that offers accessibility and data integrity advantages over tape. Performance that scales as capacity grows enables high-volume throughput and maximum interoperability and flexibility with multi-protocol support. A high performance NAS access enables easy consolidation of archives across multiple application and compute environments. With the help of RAID protection, availability, resiliency and drive-rebuild times will be higher in enterprise NAS solutions.

Therefore, for enterprise needs, it is always wise to rely on a purpose build enterprise NAS system.

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