The manufacturer of a specific NAS I have purchased have a table of supported drives, classified for (in alphabetical order):

  • Desktop
  • Enterprise
  • Nas
  • Surveillance

Desktop and enterprise are clear, commonly used and well documented.

Googeling on surveillance usually results in "you need Enterprise class drives since they have a 24/7 workload".

The problem is that I cannot find any source of information on how the Nas and Surveillance classified drives relate to Desktop and Enterprise. Can they be lineally placed in a certain order/scale or are there totally different aspects to their relation?

Does anyone know of a authoritative source that sets forth the differences and how these are measured in quantifiable units of some sort (MTBF for example)?

I'm not asking for advice on which one I should get! All the drives in the list have been confirmed to work well with the NAS. The only problem is that I don't understand the classification system.

So, why would a drive classify for "Surveillance" or "NAS" instead of "Enterprise" or "Desktop"?

  • 3
    To the downvoters/closers: have you read the question? I'm not asking for opinions, nither what drive I should get. I'm asking how exactly the drives get classified. Which properties would qualify a drive for "Surveillance" instead of "Enterprise"? Why would that not be constructive? What would you suggest to change in the question in order to make it non-opinion based? – Louis Somers Apr 20 '13 at 17:28
  • For anyone else that stumbles onto this link looking for the difference. Here are a couple decent links that provide "general" information on difference. storagereview.com/… – Azifor May 2 '16 at 16:42

You likely want NAS drives.

  • Desktop drives are not meant for 24x7 operations and they are designed to be energy efficient and silent. Speed is a secondary concern.
  • Enterprise drives: Designed for 24x7, very fast access. Noise and energy consumption are secondary concerns at best. They are meant to be operated in a server room and used for database servers, file servers and such, with a fast low-latency connection to the host.
  • NAS: Designed for 24x7, but usually slower and less noisy and power-hungry then enterprise drives, maybe operated in small offices and such.

The thing is that the advantages of enterprise class drives usually get negated by the slow speed and (comparatively) high latency of the network connection to the host machine that a NAS offers - a 1 GBit/s CIFS or NFS connection to a machine is something entirely different then a SAS or FC connection to the host, so if you put in enterprise grade drives, you pay more without getting more.

Edit: I have no idea how (video) surveillance drives fit into this but I suspect it's more a kind of market segmentation then anything else. Nevertheless, unless you want to build your NAS for a surveillance camera network, you don't need to consider them.

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  • 1
    I'm not asking for an oppinion about what I should get, I'm asking how a drive would fit in a specific class. I know that the MTBF's, energy and sound determine Desktop/Enterprise, but what would make a drive fit into the class Nas and Surveillance? Are these in-between scales on a ranking scheme or what other properties count? So what I'm looking for is an authoritative link to how the classification was achieved. – Louis Somers Apr 20 '13 at 17:32
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    There is none. No one could stop anyone naming the cheapest 4200RPM laptop drive as "Enterprise grade". Of course, with only two players left in the market, you likely get relatively good classifications, but you would have to ask Seagate or WD/HGST how the build their drive classes. – Sven Apr 20 '13 at 17:43
  • Remark: It's three players, not two. I was under the impression that Toshiba's drive business was part of HGST. Apparently, it's not. – Sven Apr 20 '13 at 17:52
  • Thanks @SvW, so there is no "official" benchmarking system to put drives into a specific class? Actually I thought that it's the NAS manufacturer that places a drive in a specific class (for a specific NAS)? – Louis Somers Apr 20 '13 at 17:53
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    Surveillance drives support the optional ATA Streaming feature set; see whitepaper from HGST, and section 4.24 of this ATA draft. Note that mainstream operating systems do not use these commands, so the only benefit there is some firmware optimization for streaming workloads (which might actually make the drive perform worse on other workloads). – Sergey Vlasov Apr 20 '13 at 18:34

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