“Servers” and IDE/SATA Hard Drives

December 29, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

As has already been mentioned a few times, The company I work for runs quite a few vBulletin forums. As such, I spend a decent amount of time over on the vbulletin.com forums, particularly in the vBulletin Hosting Options and Server Configuration sections. Lately, however, I've noticed a disturbing trend that is really starting to bug me, especially when I see it from people who should probably know better. That trend is to spend $500+ per month on a server and then saddle it with an IDE or SATA drive (or perhaps 2 in a RAID 1 mirror if they're going "all out") because they offer "more than enough space".

When, exactly, did it become acceptable to put a drive made for light, single-user use for a few hours per day into a situation where it would be hammered by dozens, if not hundreds, of simultaneous connections from all around the planet 24/7/365? It's like buying a Ferrari minus the engine and then tossing the inline-4 from a Hyundai Accent inside.

Let me give you all some advice. The reason why you are having performance problems with your dual- and quad-core systems with 2, 4, or more GB of RAM is that 7,200 RPM IDE/SATA drives were never meant to be used on anything but a single-user desktop computer. Even back when servers used drives with that slow of a rotational speed they were SCSI, not IDE, and offered advanced features such as command queuing. In the future, do yourself a favor, if you're buying/leasing a new server, make sure that you're getting server parts. Order systems with SCSI or SAS drives, 15K RPM if possible. If not, at least get the 10K RPM Western Digital Raptor...

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