Part II: selecting HDD for a server

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b2ap3_thumbnail_iStock_000023280587XSmall_20131112-123230_1.jpgOne can outline the following typical server use scenarios:

Mail servers. Responsible for all kinds of communications that include mail traffic and other types of messages. Mail servers are servers of hard disk drives and the level of processor load for them is not substantial. That is where reliable hard disk drives are required. Response speed is a prerequisite here but not too essential, excluding too capacious mail databases where low delays are an important prerequisite.

Application servers. Main task of application server is to execute user programs. It may be several persons from the sales department as well as several million Internet users. This scenario requires the fastest and most reliable drives.

Data storage servers. Such servers are used to store different files and as rule contain not only own hard disk drives but are connected with external disk arrays. One of the main priorities for such servers is reliability. Data stored on such servers may be crucial for a company in terms of its production process or any other business processes. Usually data storage servers are connected with backup devices, for example, with tape libraries, devices recording to optical drives or on-line storage services. This ensures different data access operativeness from fast ‘on-line’ to slow to data in archives. It does not necessarily mean that archive information is not that important, it is just not required as often and, subsequently, it should not be stored on very fast disks. However if access to archive data becomes regular, then, perhaps, a company will need faster disks or combinations of fast and reliable disks.

Database servers. Perhaps the most popular scenario of using servers accessible via local network or the Internet. Additionally, database servers can be connected to special application servers. Database servers shall simultaneously process numerous parallel requests from various users, thus, it makes low delay and high reliability important requirement to hard disk drives.

Streaming servers. They provide employees of a company or its clients with multimedia data. Users can access such data during a limited period of time as well as have 24/7 access (subject to system's availability via the Internet). This scenario undoubtedly requires fast hard disk drives. Servers should have the necessary speed and performance to make sure that large files are always available.

Virtualization servers – most growing direction in using servers. If five years ago one had to prove that this technology is future, today everything is about correct sizing. Installing a hypervisor and launching several virtual machines becomes an ordinary scenario. In this case servers play an important role – in reality they are application servers but because they have several running applications and operating systems, requirements to disk subsystem are even higher. Thus, for example, many virtualization software manufacturers have special requirements to types of disks.

Of course, such division into scenarios is quite conditional and many organizations apply combined scheme on their servers. In this situation it is recommended to allocate separate group of disks for each scenario, depending on its requirements to disk subsystem.

Technical details

As mentioned before, not all hard disk drives designed to work on an ordinary PC or laptop can be used in servers due to special requirements. Difference of server hard disk drives may be in type of interface, capacity and internal components used. That is what determines the performance, reliability and energy efficiency of servers.

End of part II. For continuation, please see part III.

Last modified on Friday, 22 May 2015 15:09
Data Recovery Expert

Viktor S., Ph.D. (Electrical/Computer Engineering), was hired by DataRecoup, the international data recovery corporation, in 2012. Promoted to Engineering Senior Manager in 2010 and then to his current position, as C.I.O. of DataRecoup, in 2014. Responsible for the management of critical, high-priority RAID data recovery cases and the application of his expert, comprehensive knowledge in database data retrieval. He is also responsible for planning and implementing SEO/SEM and other internet-based marketing strategies. Currently, Viktor S., Ph.D., is focusing on the further development and expansion of DataRecoup’s major internet marketing campaign for their already successful proprietary software application “Data Recovery for Windows” (an application which he developed).

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