We have several different types of hard drives that we sell here, and I thought I would write a little bit about the different kinds. We mostly deal in SCSI, SATA and SAS hard drives, though occasionally we do deal with an IDE drive.


IDEs haven't been common for a long time, so I won't say anything more about them. They were basically replaced by SATA hard drives. SATA stands for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment, and it's pretty much the standard for PCs. SATA drives have hot swap capability and much smaller cables than what came before.


I think SCSI drives are my favorite to talk about, because it's pronounced “scuzzy” and how often can you say that and still sound professional? SCSI stands for Small Computer System Interface, and this is a somewhat older technology than SATA, but it can also be faster than SATA, if using Ultra320, in terms of throughput, and SCSI drives can have much higher rotational speeds. 10,000 or 15,000 versus 5400 or 7200 RPMs. This makes them much more useful in the server environment.


SCSI drives can have hot swap capability if they're the 80-pin variety. The older 68-pin are not hot swappable, and they have to be manually configured with individual drive numbers using jumper cables and binary numbering. Believe me, you really want to make sure you get those right before putting them in a system.


There's a new incarnation of SCSI called SAS for Serial Attached SCSI. SAS drives give SCSI levels of speed and are more robust than SATA drives. On the other hand, they're more expensive. An advantage of a SAS system is that they typically can accept SATA drives as well, giving some flexibility. They aren't typically made in as large of capacities as SATA drives are, so if raw, bulk storage is your thing, they're not the best choice, but are a better choice for speed or reliability.