External SSD

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by zebrasign, Sep 11, 2014.

  1. zebrasign, Sep 11, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014

    zebrasign macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2014
    Do external solid state drives make sense to increase reliability?

    I've heard that external solid state drives are not worth it because using Firewire or USB, they are no faster than traditional hard drives.

    But I'm not really looking for speed (although it's always nice). I'm looking for reliability.

    We have a Mini-Server that has two mirrored internal drives for the operating system and applications.

    We store our work in progress (graphics) files on an external 1 TB hard drive that is also mirrored. And we back up the work files to an additional 1 TB hard drive and the cloud using a service called Crashplan.

    So he have three redundant 1 TB drives for the files and two redundant 500GB drives for the OS.

    Between these five drives, one fails every 6 to 8 weeks. This has been true ever since the server was new three years ago. I'm on my third IT service company and no one can explain it other than to say the drives are constantly spinning and they wear out. Most IT guys recommend additional redundancy. The latest recommendation is to replace these drives with a five drive RAID array.

    But I'm not so much looking for easy replacement when a drive fails as more reliable drives. We don't lose data (it's already in three or four places), but when a drive fails, we start to get disruptive failures and error messages throughout the network.

    Will SSD's improve this or is there another solution you'd recommend?
  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Wow... you have something seriously wrong here if drives are dying that fast. Even if left running 24/7 a hard drive does not wear out that quickly.

    Is there any pattern to this as far as internal vs. the externals dying or do they all die that quickly. Maybe a power issue? Do you have all this attached to a UPS?

    I guess you could try a SSD, but I think you have something else going on. No way does a hard drive wear out that fast.
  3. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    The problem is modern consumer hard drives that these pushers have put in externals. If you are building your own external make sure you get an "enterprise" or "red" hard drive that is designed for external and NAS systems. These drives cistern a little bit more but their longevity will surprise you! Don't believe me then read the blog post What Hard Drive Should I Buy?.
  4. zebrasign thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2014
    Thanks for the buyers guide. I am unaware of any of our IT guys installing anything other than off the shelf hard drives.

    The guide you posted strongly recommends Hitachi drives, which are apparently no longer marketed as Hitachis. What would I look for to identity i "red" hard drive.
  5. satcomer, Sep 17, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2014

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