Enteprise vs consumer SSDs for home server use?

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matt_garman

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Feb 7, 2011
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Some forums have a beating a dead horse emoji, I don't see it here. Apologies in advance...

I touched on this question in this thread, but it didn't get a lot of traction, and I think it's a worthwhile discussion on its own: for a home server, is it worth paying the premium for enterprise-class SSDs?

I suspect the general answer is "it depends". What I'm looking for are useful rules of thumb to help the decision.

Off the top of my head, enterprise-class features include:
  • Better wear endurance
  • Stock higher over-provisioning
  • Designed for 24/7 operation
  • Designed for higher temp tolerance
  • More consistent/deterministic random-write performance
  • Edit: power loss protection
  • Others I'm missing?
In my particular case, I'm looking at 24/7 operation and we'll assume higher-than-workstation temperatures. But I can manually over-provision, and I'm absolutely certain my write load is far more workstation-like than "real" server like. So I'm worried about neither random write performance nor wear endurance, because I'm doing so little writes in general.

Edit: regarding power loss protection: I have my server on a UPS, set to auto-shutdown in case of power loss. UPS claims over 100 minutes runtime even when fully loaded. So 100 minutes should be plenty of time for a graceful shutdown.

So, for example: my current needs are about 1TB of SSD space. Best practices suggest generally keeping the drive under 80% full, so I'll target a 1.2TB SSD. Options:

Enterprise: Ebay Intel S3610 1.2TB for $550
Consumer: Crucial MX300 2TB for $515 - assume over-provision of 40% to make it 1.2TB

Thoughts?

Edit: also, for my particular application, SATA is preferable because my motherboard has only a single PCIe slot (mini-itx).
 
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T_Minus

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For $550 you can get an Intel P3605 (oracle) 1.6TB NVME drive, just gotta keep your eye out ;)
They're more often 650+

If you're really looking to spend ~$550 for a drive I would seriously consider the P3600/P3605 Intel NVME the best choice in price range.
 
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matt_garman

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For $550 you can get an Intel P3605 (oracle) 1.6TB NVME drive, just gotta keep your eye out ;)
They're more often 650+
I should have mentioned in the original post: I really need SATA here. I actually need two drives for mirror/raid config, and my motherboard has only one PCIe slot (mini-itx).
 

i386

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I would say use enterprise ssds as cache devices*, or as storage devices where you need steady performance

*don't forget that there are also read optimized and write optimized enterprise ssds

Others I'm missing?
I would say yes, one of the most important things that enterprise ssds usually offer: powerloss protection. With consumer drives you can lose the data in the ssd ram and depending what data it is it could corrupt very important things like the mft.
 

i386

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I would say use enterprise ssds as cache devices*, or as storage devices where you need steady performance

*don't forget that there are also read optimized and write optimized enterprise ssds

Others I'm missing?
I would say yes, one of the most important things that enterprise ssds usually offer: powerloss protection. With consumer drives you can lose the data in the ssd ram and depending what data it is it could corrupt very important things like the mft.
 

matt_garman

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I would say yes, one of the most important things that enterprise ssds usually offer: powerloss protection. With consumer drives you can lose the data in the ssd ram and depending what data it is it could corrupt very important things like the mft.
D'oh, I was thinking about that when I created the list but managed to omit it. Original post edited to add it.

But, at least in my case, I think that's a non-issue, due to having a UPS with ample time for a graceful shutdown in case of power loss.
 

Datacenter1

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May 4, 2016
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The UPS will protect you from power outage but not from server related issues, PSU, MB or unexpected reboots like software related or kernel panic for example
With your budget and SATA requirement I suggest an Intel S3520 is enterprise grade and has power loss protection
 

Rand__

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And you have redundant power supplies (if one dies) ? attached to the wall and the UPS (if the ups dies)? Don't cheap out on that, its usually not a large premium.

I'd totally get (used) enterprise stuff - even on workstation level writes its just so much more consistent in speed.
Had Evo 850s that went down to 4MB/s after a few gigs worth of VMs writing to it. My old Intel 320 just goes on and on (slower but steady)
 

matt_garman

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Ahh, yes - I forgot about other unplanned reboots/outages (PSU, MB, kernel panic, etc).

(Though I can't help but feel that's one of those classic Murphy scenarios. If I spend on the enterprise drives, I'll never have an unexpected reboot. But if I cheap out with consumer drives, right when I'm doing some major work there will be such an outage and disks will be corrupted.)

Although, on a more realistic note: let's say an outage trashed the drives' filesystem... that's what good backups are for, right? I have a pretty good backup scheme now, but one of the main reasons I'm looking to re-architect everything is to make backups even better. I.e., something like frequent ZFS snapshot backups.

So from this perspective, I have to weigh the added cost of the enterprise drive versus likelihood of such an outage plus the value of my time to restore from backup. It's good practice to do the restore-from-backup exercise periodically anyway.
 

Rand__

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The main driver is to prevent data corruption - Usually you don't have freshly written data on backup (eg compute results).
If you don't care about in flight data and do backups - sure no need to get that PLP drive (for that reason) :)
 

matt_garman

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Regarding write performance: obviously enterprise SSDs take the win here.

But how do consumer SSDs do compared to traditional spinners (e.g. mainstream 7200 rpm) in terms of writes?

I.e., several mentions here and elsewhere of consumer SSDs buckling under heavy write load. But do they degrade even below spinners under equivalent load? Or still better than spinners overall?
 

i386

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Heise or golem had tested some newer ssds and some of the ssds had slower writes in sequential write tests than a 4tb hdd.
 

zir_blazer

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For $550 you can get an Intel P3605 (oracle) 1.6TB NVME drive, just gotta keep your eye out ;)
They're more often 650+

If you're really looking to spend ~$550 for a drive I would seriously consider the P3600/P3605 Intel NVME the best choice in price range.
I know that is not entirely reelevant to this Thread because the guy wants SATA, but why I never see the P3520 mentioned? I was looking for one of these for this build, which had the limitation that my friend didn't wanted to buy from eBay sellers and just brand new from a well know vendor. The P3600 should be superior to the P3520, but is around 2 years older, and more expensive if you want to buy it brand new. I'm sure that there should be around people with the same whims that him.
 

Stephan

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@zir_blazer Intel P3520 is good at very good price, but really hard to acquire. That's why you see little news about them. Took me about two months and accidentally stumbling on two (!) cards from large EU distributor to get one. Intel Europe at least has good bring-in service based in the Netherlands but I would refrain from eBay still, because they might not want to service parts sold in other US or Asian market. Too expensive to try that out...