I am always looking for more storage. I guess you can call me crazy to have a 46TB NAS sitting at home however, there are some legitimate reasons for where we would see such capacities or even the need for large storage. Most of the enterprise systems utilize some kind of storage units. Whether it is a SAN or a NAS storage systems they all require an adequate amount of storage for various reasons. One of the most common reasons is the off site back up. Lets face it, who still backs up data to tape? Why would you any ways? You lose so much with the tape backups that it doesn't look like its worth the trouble at times. With hard drives being so cheap, its not hard to come up with the right equipment to support some of the most demanding application in the enterprise world. I am not going to tell you how the technology grew or how fast the hard drive evolution progressing in our fast pace environment, instead I will show you one of the best hard drives around that could be used in small and large business environments. Today we have a privilege to take a look at the newest Constellation ES SAS 6Gb/s hard drive by Seagate. This particular model offers largest capacity available in 3.5" enterprise class hard disks. Let's take a closer look a the Constellation ES SAS drives.
About the Product
Following information is taken from the Seagate's website.
Seagate® Constellation® ES fourth-generation drives are among the highest-capacity drives available and are the only 6Gb/s SAS nearline hard drives on the market. These drives feature enterprise-class reliability and power and performance efficiencies, making them ideal for business-critical, 24x7 multi-drive server and storage environments.
Key Features and Benefits
Reduces design and support costs by building on the Seagate best-in-class enterprise storage foundation
Features the maximum capacity available—up to 2TB—in a 3.5-inch enterprise-class hard disk drive
Features a traditional 3.5-inch form factor with enhanced rotational vibration tolerance and high data integrity for enterprise-class reliability in a cost-effective drive
Delivers proven reliability, with an MTBF* of 1.2 million hours
Lets you choose a 3Gb/s Enterprise SATA or 6Gb/s SAS interface which eases integration and delivers up to 2x the throughput of traditional 3Gb/s nearline hard drives
Reduces energy and cooling costs, with the lowest power consumption of any nearline 3.5-inch drive
Includes Seagate PowerChoice™ technology for even greater on-demand power savings during slow or idle periods
TCG-compliant, Self-Encrypting Drive (SED) security option (SAS models only) eliminates the need to overwrite or physically destroy drives, enables safe return of drives for warranty or expired lease purposes and allows organizations to securely repurpose or sell hard disk drives**
Meets regulatory data security compliance requirements and is FIPS 140-2 Validated™ to protect Sensitive but Unclassified and Protected class data**
*Mean time between failures
**Not available in all models or countries. Requires TCG-compliant host or controller support. TM: The FIPS logo is a certification mark of NIST, which does not imply product endorsement by NIST, the U.S., or Canadian Governments.
Seagate® Constellation™ ES SAS 6Gb/s 2-TB Hard Drive
26.1mm (1.028 in)
101.6mm (4.000 in)
146.99mm (5.787 in)
710g (1.565 lb)
Spin Speed (RPM)
Random read seek time
Random write seek time
I/O data transfer rate
Unrecoverable read errors
1 in 1015
Annual Failure Rate
Average idle power
Average operating power
Average seek power
Maximum start current, DC
Maximum operating temperature change
20°C per hour
Maximum nonoperating temperature change
30°C per hour
Operating Shock (max)
Read 70 / Write 40 Gs for 2ms
Nonoperating Shock (max)
300 Gs for 2ms
Acoustics (Idle Volume)
Acoustics (Seek Volume)
Now that we got basic information out of the way, lets take a closer look at Seagate Constellation ES SAS.
Constellation ES SAS
So what is so special about these Constellation ES SAS 6GB/s drives? Well the speed of course. We are looking at here at the fastest interface drives available. Standing strong at 6Gb/s Constellations ES enters 6Gb/s market with strong hardware. We have recently reviewed Constellations ES SATA 3Gb/s and were rather impressed with the results, can't wait to see what these guys have in store for us.
Front and Back
It is no news that SCSI interface was one of the fastest interfaces available on the market for a very long time. With release of SATA hard drives we slowly grew in to the 1.5Gb/s and 3Gb/s. As in result of our evolution we are now dealing with 6Gb/s connections and looking at 12 Gb/s. The 12Gb/s adapters already has been put in production but you won't be able to find this technology available to us until late 2011. Not that far off if you ask me. Never the less Constellations ES with 6Gb/s connection would he highly beneficial for some of the speed demanding applications out there. So where can you find these drives being used? One of the most demanding places you might find these is in database systems. A lot of databases systems rely on the access and transfer speeds of database files. So by having plenty of storage with fact access Constellations ES would take care of that bottle neck.
Constellation ES vs Barracuda
Besides the speed Constellations ES brings out the FIPS 140-2 compliance which makes easy when choosing the hard drives for FIPS 140-2 compliance. For those who don't know what FIPS is : "Federal Information Processing Standard are publicly announced standards developed by the United States federal government for use in computer systems by all non-military government agencies and by government contractors." The level 2 of 140 compliance states that : "Security Level 2 improves upon the physical security mechanisms of a Security Level 1 cryptographic module by requiring features that show evidence of tampering, including tamper-evident coatings or seals that must be broken to attain physical access to the plaintext cryptographic keys and critical security parameters (CSPs) within the module, or pick-resistant locks on covers or doors to protect against unauthorized physical access." As if this wasn't enough the mean time between failures of Constellation ES is 1.2 million hours. So you can be assure that your data is in the right and secure hands.
Constellation ES and LSI 9240-4i
So what would you need to run these puppies? Most of the servers you are going to find use some sort of controller card or onboard controllers which support 6Gb/s connections. We are going to be using an LSI MegaRAID 9240-4i controller card with these drives and see what kind of speeds will they produce while running by them selves, RAID 0 and RAID 5. Our choice of server hardware for testing will be our good and trusty HP DL 365 G1 server. Lets jump in to our test server. I can't wait!
To test enterprise level hard drives you really need to spend some time with them and get the feel of them. We can't just spend 2 hours working with drives and write a review on them. Doesn't work that way here at UMLan. We have spend close to 3 month working these hard drives on various systems, basically wearing them in. No data readings was taking from the time when we received the hard drives up until I begun to write this review. As mentioned earlier the server hardware of choice for this review was HP DL 365 G1 machine. It provides solid backbone for the testing environment and there fore we can base our assumptions on good and solid data.
HP DL 365 G1
(2) Dual Core AMD Opteron Processor 2218 2.60 Ghz
(4) 512 mb PC2-5300P RAM
LSI MegaRAID 9240-4i Controller
(3) 72 gb
Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise x64
LSI MegaRAID 9240-4i Controller is an entrance level software based raid controller so we might experience a choke effect while performing some of these benchmarks. The choke or performance issues could happen at high speeds with raid set up. For out benchmarking needs we are going to be using HD Tune Pro 4.01
Read Raid 0
Write Raid 0
The first benchmark we ran was in Raid 0 mode. Raid 0 does not provide any redundancy so this was a good benchmark to look at over all performance of Constellation ES SAS. First benchmark was in Read mode. Here we got maximum transfer rates of 150.3 MB/s and minimum of 60.1 MB/s towards the end of 2tb. Average transfer speed was clocked at 112.3 MB/s. Not up to 150 MB/s but not bad. Burst transfer rate was around 192 MB/s which is not too bad all for a 6gbps connection and 2tb storage. Access time was 12.9 ms. Going back to the specifications from Seagate this particular drive has 8.5 ms or less. As we can see from just this first benchmark, we are about 4 ms over than what Seagate states. Second benchmark for Raid 0 was performed in Write mode. Here we expected similar numbers to read benchmark and we were right. Maximum transfer rate we got was just shy of 150 MB/s and minimum transfer rate was clocked at 59.1 MB/s. Burst speed achieved was at 198.5 MB/s. Comparing our access time to Seagate's we were at 13 ms where we were promised 9.5 ms.
Read Raid 1
Write Raid 1
Our next set up was in Raid 1. This set up uses two hard drives and provides redundancy. Results were nearly identical to Raid 0. We did experienced a faster Access times for both read and write benchmarks. For read benchmark we got access time of 10.9 ms and in write benchmark 11.1 ms. Improvement over what we have gotten in the Raid 0 benchmark.
Read Raid 5
Write Raid 5
Our last benchmark was done in Raid 5 mode. Raid 5 uses 3 or more drives and provides great redundancy for data. Here we experience the choke as predicted with software raid controllers. Never the less we can predict on what we would get from a hardware bases raid controller. Average transfer rate achieved in read mode was 288.9 MB/s and minimum of 114.8 MB/s. Average transfer rate was recorded at 213 MB/s. Please keep in mind that Raid 5 configurations generally have faster/aggregate transfer rates. Access time was rather slow in Raid 5. We really expected faster access times than 14.2 ms but when looking at write benchmark and find out that our controller has choked at Raid 5 we knew not to trust this data. Never the less it was worth the shot.
Ok lets face it, enterprise storage is not a cheap expense. When ever you mention enterprise, price high rockets up to the sky and well the only way to make sense of it is to compare performance to storage to price. Knowing exactly what you need out of your enterprise components will make your life easier in the long run. Today we had an opportunity to review Constellation™ ES SAS 6GB/s drives by Seagate. These hard drives offer highest capacity which available to the enterprise market at this time. I often shop around on Dell.com and very much familiar with storage line up they have to offer. A 2tb hard drive such as Constellation ES will run you about 529$. If you don't know anything about enterprise level prices, this isn't all that bad for what you are getting. Constellation ES SAS could be picked up for a fraction of that cost. We quickly searched Newegg.com for ST32000444SS and saw that these drives are offered at 264$ each. What a great value. If you are building a storage enclosure and looking to populate it with dependable hard drives Constellation ES would be a great choice for you. If you are looking for faster access times Constellation ES might be a suitable match as well. Please keep in mind that over all performance of a single hard drive was not bad at all as we had great readings in raid 0 and 1 modes however we did had issues with access times. The version we looked at has 16MB cache so that might be why we got poor access times. Seagate has another model ST2000NM0001 which comes with a whopping 64 MB Cache which I would guess be a great improvement in access times and performance over all.
Working in IT has never been easy. Our motto is "Do more with less". With Seagate standing strong with Constellation ES series hard drives that offer price over performance ratio, I feel confident starting a new project and keeping my bosses happy on the budget side.
Good product that could be used in enterprise applications.