I recently purchased an HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen9 Server for my company. This is all new to me and I am trusted to creating my companies IT infrastructure(hired to do software). I'm having a hard time understanding the different prices for hard drives. For example:

HP 1.20 TB 2.5" Internal Hard Drive | newegg.com

Why on earth does that cost $621 for 1.2 TB when I can get and SSD 1 TB for $289?

Samsung 860 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD | amazon.com

I'm seeing that every where I go. Could someone explain to me why this is? I thought I understood hard drives before, but I guess not. I also started looking up Enterprise hdds and found this:

Seagate Exos x12 12TB SATA 6Gb/s 256MB Cache Enterprise Hard Drive 3.5" | amazon.com

12 TB for $432, but its for a 3.5 size instead of 2.5(which is what I need).

Basically if I understand correctly, having 2.5 drives that have SAS are basically 3-4 times more expensive?

closed as too broad by Jim B, Ward, Dave M, Greg Askew, ewwhite Apr 15 '18 at 13:55

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    You need to have a relationship with a trusted vendor. I understand that you are responsible for your company’s IT, but this is an area where it would be more prudent to bring in an expert. – ewwhite Apr 14 '18 at 2:59

Yes, that is correct. There are multiple reasons for this:

  • SAS drives are sold less, leading to scale effects.
  • They are actually more reliable
  • These 1.2 GB 2.5" are 10k RPM drives, so they are faster
  • They have specific vendor firmware with proprietary features. You pay a premium for that alone. Also, depending on the vendor, you must use their proprietary drives, check this for your server model before buying standard drives that might not work.

If you have no experience with server hardware, find a reseller you trust who can help you with this. Enterprise grade server hardware has a lot of specifics you don't find in standard desktops that can make it easy to make costly mistakes when purchasing the wrong stuff.

  • At the moment, I just need hard drives to host for active directory, and maybe an SQL Server database. I only have 13 users, need to support up to 50. Would you suggest I just go for ssds like the one in the link? Worth the money to invest in those special hdds? Just want your opinion before I talk to a reseller, thanks! – Derek Welton Apr 14 '18 at 1:49
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    This is vendor management and a case where the OP should not be doing this without guidance. There is so much room to make mistakes here; I don’t know how to answer this question. – ewwhite Apr 14 '18 at 3:00

Creating IT infrastructure is a huge responsibility and their is ALOT to hardware purchases and investments. If you are not sure about what to get, get in touch with a trusted vendor that can help you out and ask questions.

The major difference in storage is

  • SAS
  • SATA

Their are pros and cons to everything, so research which one of these would benefit you the most.

Side note. From my experience 2.5” disks, normally dont have any shielding on the backplate which make them more susceptible to corrosion, even in heat controlled environments if their is some moisture in the air such as an office. 1.5” drives (for what ever reason) normally have backplate shielding, and SSD’s always have shielding since the memory that makes up the SSD is encapsulated entirely.

Their are many areas that goes into storage investments, but the two major ones are probably.

Durability vs price.

Lower price normally means that the disks are less durable over long periods of times (years), which can be a good or bad thing based on your infrastructure. For example, Google only use cheap disks and hardware for their own storage solutions because it’s overall cheaper.

The raid

Their are different ways to build your storage solution in regards to raid. If you are building a serious solution i would advice looking into ZFS. Else software raid might do the job for you. Personally i would put ALOT of thought into if i ever were to decide between software and hardware raid, since hardware raid is a dinosaur in many areas. Example, many controllers dont allow you to flash the configuration, so if the controller dies the entire raid dies.

Than their is speed, write block size, storage write method, cache?, long-term-storage?, backup? with more.

Also some drives are really expensive because of the firmware that can give you disk health stats for your particular server and setup, but you can also get cheap drives from almost any vendor and place in your storage, this will just omit the health stats.

It’s very few things that dictate if you are going to spend $10.000 or $4.000 on a solution.

Again you can also ask a vendor to create an entire solution for you on the hardware side, based on your requirements and than setup the storage yourself.

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