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I'm required to come up with a specification for a new HDD to be purchased for a server I admin.

The current disk (purchased pre-installed in the system) already shows I/O errors (as evidenced by smartctl output), and thus I wish to follow an objective and systematic approach when deciding what HDD to purchase.

For background info about the server:

  • my server is up 24/7
  • server hosts both test and production apps
  • hosts both database and web processes
  • server has no redundancy peer - this is not a 1M+/s traffic node

What factors should I consider in choosing a hard drive for such a server?

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Note: This question is on topic for Super User. It doesn't ask for a specific hardware recommendation, but instead for guidelines. See: Q&A is Hard, Let’s Go Shopping! – slhck Jan 9 '13 at 11:40
Are you sure that the current drive is installed in the CPU? My answer applies to regular systems without CPUS having built in storage. – Ярослав Рахматуллин Mar 3 '13 at 10:39
@ЯрославРахматуллин, yes the drive was to be installed in the "tower" itself. – nemesisfixx Mar 3 '13 at 17:36

Make sure that the disc(s) can:

  1. Handle write and read loads at peek hours
  2. Serve requests promptly without building up an excessive queue of requests
  3. Get server-grade hard drives with a "high" mean time between error (5-year warranty drives)
  4. Consider raid mirroring (affects point 1 and 2) or backups at regular intervals
    • production generally requires mirroring unless backup recovery can be done "fast enough"
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meeting capacity needs and expected expansion of the service / application goes without saying... – Ярослав Рахматуллин Mar 3 '13 at 10:40
Somehow, am operating within the limitation of just one HDD for the job. So I was trying to arrive at the best setup I could attain (within reasonable constraints). – nemesisfixx Mar 3 '13 at 17:40

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