Commodity Disk Drives May Fail in RAID

Upgrading disk capacity seems to be an ongoing nuisance. More music and video content ensures that most of us will run out of space sooner or later -- and that doesn't even begin to consider what happens with backup space.

If you're using RAID to improve reliability, there's cause for concern with ordinary commodity drives, e.g., your garden variety 1TB drive. Take a look at one Newegg commentary for a report from Western Digital about the difference between their RAID-suitable and ordinary desktop 1TB drives. It must be a big difference, because the same capacity RE3 Western Digital drive is close to 2X the price.

On the Promise TX4660 Compatibility List, a number of commodity "non-enterprise" drives can be found, but this statement accompanies the list: "In RAID storage system, we recommend user to use [sic] enterprise level hard drive, which has much better command timeout control and more reliable to vibration for critical application [sic]."

It seems one can't simply shop for the least cost drive and throw it on your Intel ICH10R LSI, 3Ware or Promise RAID controller.

On the other hand, this is a plus for the architecture of Microsoft's Home Server, which doesn't use RAID to accomplish its own sort of redundancy. The commodity drives would probably be fine for MHS.

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