Mainstream Enterprise

Hard drive manufacturers design drives that will perform well for their largest customers, or sets of customers.  This is why “classes” of drives exist.

Design Expectations:

The information below is a high-level set of expectations the drive manufacturers have when designing, testing and selling “Mainstream Enterprise” drives.

  • Power On Hours
  • Write / Read Ratio
  • Block Sizes
  • Seek Profile
  • Mainstream Enterprise
  • 24 hrs/7 days (8760 POH)
  • 60/40
  • Random
  • RAID Striped w/Parity

Design Details:

The term “enterprise” to some of the hard drive manufacturers has expanded in definition.  Some drives are now being called “enterprise,” or as having “enterprise reliability or features,” that would never have been labeled this just a year or two ago.  This is a bit confusing and somewhat aggressive in terms of setting user expectations for reliability.  We are calling “Mainstream Enterprise” class drives 7200rpm, SATA or SAS interface, 1.2M hour MTBF (or higher), fixed shaft spindle, 550 TB/year workload, and of course, tuned for 24/7 usage and using RAID technology.  This class of drives have been the choice for most organizations wanting high capacity, adequate throughput performance, and the best reliability / price combination.  Performance Enterprise class drives, whether traditional HDD technology or SSD, are much higher price per unit of capacity than Mainstream Enterprise class drives.

To enable next generation capacities, such as 8TB per drive, HGST has started shipping ‘sealed’ drives filled with Helium (versus unsealed drives filled with air).  This has allowed higher bit density on the platters, and provides other benefits as well.  Here is a link for more information:

The table below is an excerpt from the HDSTOR Drive Comparison Table, which shows features (or lack thereof) of the different classes of drives, as well as relative performance, reliability and cost.

  • Production Screening?
  • Rated for 24/7 Use?
  • Fixed Shaft Spindle?
  • RV Feed Forward Sensors?
  • Time Limited Retry Tables?
  • Mainstream Enterprise
  • YES
  • YES
  • YES
  • YES
  • YES
  • Workload Rating
  • Firmware Tuning
  • Performance Capabilities
  • Reliability Ratings
  • Cost
  • Mainstream Enterprise
  • Random Access/ RAID
  • HIGH
  • HIGH