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A few setup questions


CaptainFred
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With the latest firmwares I have not noticed the fan spinning particularly loudly when the machine is idle with the SATA controller in AHCI mode.

 

Disks do not fail faster at higher temperatures until the temperatures get really pathological (over 50C). If anything lower temperatures result in higher failure rates in reasonably young drives (less than 3 years of 24/7 use). See Google's study on the subject here, figures 4 and 5:

https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/research.google.com/en//archive/disk_failures.pdf

 

When you are deciding what disks to get, rather than just buying on price you might want to look at Backblaze's ongoing reports on disk reliability for various makes and models they use:

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/what-hard-drive-should-i-buy/

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-reliability-update-september-2014/

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/best-hard-drive/

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-reliability-stats-for-q2-2015/

 

If you are really intent on using the SATA controller in B120i mode, you don't have to define any arrays. If no arrays are defined, at least in Linux, the disks show up individually as you would expect (there may be a bit of space missing off the, can't remember). Buf it you are using something other than Windows or ESXi (e.g. Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD), you would almost certainly be vastly better off using ZFS instead of traditional RAID, especially the fake formware-only RAID that B120i provides.

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With the latest firmwares I have not noticed the fan spinning particularly loudly when the machine is idle with the SATA controller in AHCI mode.

 

Disks do not fail faster at higher temperatures until the temperatures get really pathological (over 50C). If anything lower temperatures result in higher failure rates in reasonably young drives (less than 3 years of 24/7 use). See Google's study on the subject here, figures 4 and 5:

https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/research.google.com/en//archive/disk_failures.pdf

 

When you are deciding what disks to get, rather than just buying on price you might want to look at Backblaze's ongoing reports on disk reliability for various makes and models they use:

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/what-hard-drive-should-i-buy/

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-reliability-update-september-2014/

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/best-hard-drive/

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-reliability-stats-for-q2-2015/

 

If you are really intent on using the SATA controller in B120i mode, you don't have to define any arrays. If no arrays are defined, at least in Linux, the disks show up individually as you would expect (there may be a bit of space missing off the, can't remember). Buf it you are using something other than Windows or ESXi (e.g. Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD), you would almost certainly be vastly better off using ZFS instead of traditional RAID, especially the fake formware-only RAID that B120i provides.

The Google document is a good one and so is this:

http://static.usenix.org/events/fast07/tech/schroeder/schroeder.pdf

 

BackBlaze info is anecdotal at best. I do not put much value in their findings. It has been discussed in other threads.

 

The B120i is a firmware based RAID using the Intel SATA controller, but I would not lump it in with the rest of the firmware RAID's. It is fully compatible with all of the HP SmartArray controllers as it uses the same code. It is limited in performance do to the load it puts on the CPU, but it is a much better firmware RAID solution than the other firmware RAIDs.

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Why do you say that about BackBlaze? It looks as if they have a lot of drives and therefore have lots of hardware in use to analyse for failures and errors. Although as someone points out surely they should be using Enterprise grade drives not desktop drives?! Bit odd that they don't...if that's right that they don't. Unless profits are that tight.

Edited by CaptainFred
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There is no consistency in anything BackBlaze does. You can not formulate supportable conclusions when your samples come from many different sources. 

In my professional experience, higher than average fail rates tend to be related to mishandling during installation or use. We don't know much about their assembly process, but their 'pods' are very densely packed, potential heat issue:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backblaze#/media/File:StoragePod.jpg

The drives appear to be free standing, not physically mounted, potential vibration issues:

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/backblaze-storage-pod-partially-assembled-large.jpg

During the drive shortage they sourced drives from retail channels and 'shucked' USB drives. Most retail and all USB drives are not designed for array use. Removing a drive from and external case can be very hard on the drive.

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I would bet a drive would run cooler in any of our systems than in an external usb box, but I am not claiming to know anything about how they pack theirs together. I never heard of a drive being specifically designed for usb enclosures. 

Edited by nrf
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I would bet a drive would run cooler in any of our systems than in an external usb box, but I am not claiming to know anything about how they pack theirs together. I never heard of a drive being specifically designed for usb enclosures. 

'Designed' may not be the best choice of words on my part. It is possible to find Desktop drives, NAS drives and USB drives that appear to be identical builds, but the firmware is different on each to handle the specific needs of each application. More of my concern in using desktop or USB drives in these types of applications and how it deals with sleep/head park, error handling and alike.

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I doubt they would put a 'red' drive in a usb box. so I guess they don't really care about the retry loop or anything in their service. I wonder how their overall reliability is.

 

(I have stuck to 'black' so far with no issues, I am wary of blue/green/red aspect of power management. I like my spinners spinning!)

Edited by nrf
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I watched a video from seagate earlier about the different types of drives. They made the point that there is additional sensors on the enterprise drives like vibration sensor and a few others. Not sure what the senor/drive then does if it senses bad vibration?

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I watched a video from seagate earlier about the different types of drives. They made the point that there is additional sensors on the enterprise drives like vibration sensor and a few others. Not sure what the senor/drive then does if it senses bad vibration?

There are areas in the SMART tables to store several different types of vibration data. If a drive has the sensors to pick it up it could use the SMART system to get it to the data to the OS or monitoring software;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T. 

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I never heard of a drive being specifically designed for usb enclosures.

There are drives specially designed for USB enclosures now but not in the way you're thinking. WD portable drives are native USB now. The PCB on the bottom of the drive has the USB interface integrated into it and the drive doesn't have a SATA interface at all.
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